The Ridge High School music department is celebrating the holiday season with its annual Winter Orchestra Concert at 7 p.m. on Thursday, and the annual Winter Chorale Concert at 7 p.m. next Tuesday.
Both concerts are free and will be presented at the Ridge Performing Arts Center at the school, 268 S. Finley Ave., Basking Ridge.
Thursday's concert features Ridge’s chamber orchestra and symphony orchestra, both under the direction of Jennifer Curran.
The chamber orchestra will perform "Winter" from Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which was composed in 1723 and is Vivaldi’s best known work. Yunhee Kang is the violin soloist for this performance.
The symphony orchestra will perform two works. "Sleigh Ride" by Leroy Anderson was named the most popular Christmas work for 2010 and 2011. Ironically, it was conceived in 1943 during a heat wave. "O Holy Night" is a traditional carol written in 1847 by French composer Adolphe Adam.
The combined orchestras will conclude tonight’s concert with six movements from Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky’s "Nutcracker Ballet." Composed in 1892, the orchestras will perform "March," "Trepak, "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy," "Dance Chinoise," "Dance Arabe and "Waltz of the Flowers.
The Winter Choral Concert next Tuesday will feature several ensembles under the direction of Barbara Retzko, including the Ridge Chorale, the A Cappella Choir Honors, Voices of Ridge, Ridgemen and the Concert Choir. The A Cappella ensemble will perform a portion of their December Caroling repertoire.
The concert will conclude with the annual alumni singing "O Holy Night," and the Grand Finale of George Frideric Handel’s "Hallelujah Chorus." As always, the audience is invited to participate in the performance of the Handel masterpiece.