Sound of Charlotte Blog

Making the Most of Magic of Christmas

Whether, like us, it's a 20-year holiday tradition for you, or you're attending for the first time with your family, Magic of Christmas is sure to be full of memorable fun! Make it even better with these need-to-know tips to help enhance your experience.

Brice Burton, principal percussionKnow the players.
Get to know the 59 full-time professional orchestra musicians you'll hear performing on stage during Magic of Christmas. For one, the man who makes the horse-clopping noises and cracks during "Sleigh Ride?" That's Principal Percussionist Brice Burton, one of six new musicians this season. Read more about our newcomers on our blog.

Get to know Mark O'Connor.
Did you know that the Charlotte Symphony has an Artist-In-Residence? That's right, through the 2018-19 season, Grammy Award-winning fiddler, composer, and educator Mark O'Connor joins us for several mainstage performances, plus he contributes to our educational efforts out at Northwest School of the Arts and through Project Harmony.

Grammy-winning O'Connor Band joins us for Magic of ChristmasFor these performances (excluding the Saturday morning Lollipops Magic of Christmas performance), Mark's wife Maggie and their family band join us for bluegrass-inspired renditions of favorites like "Linus and Lucy," the tune everyone knows from A Charlie Brown Christmas. Watch a backstage video of the band performing the song here.

Hear Mark and Maggie in studio with WDAV's Frank Dominguez here.

will strike the harp. YOU join the chorus!

Of course our 100-person Charlotte Symphony Chorus and the Charlotte Children's Choir of Community School of the Arts will make the event merry with selections like "Holly Jolly Christmas" and "Mary's Boy Child." But we know in your heart of hearts that you want to join in the fun! The chorus will lead us in singalongs from "Deck the Halls" to "Jingle Bells."

Come early to snap family photos with Santa!
The Jolly man himself will join us on and off stage. Look for the man in red 30 minutes before the concert and during intermission in the Grand Tier lobby. Charlotte Symphony and holiday-themed backdrops will make for great holiday card shots!

Dress appropriately.
And by that, we mean wear the ugliest sweater you can find. Three lucky winners at each performance will be selected to win our ugly sweater social media contest. Find a frame on each lobby level and snap a shot with your awful sweater and tag @cltsymphony using the hashtag #CSOmagic.

Prepare to be surprised!
All audience members will have the chance to enter to win a surprise at every performance. 

If you have very young children, join us for our special Saturday morning Lollipops shortened version of Magic of Christmas. This performance is just an hour long and still includes the full orchestra, choruses, and Santa!

Thursday, November 30, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 1, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 2, 11 a.m.
Saturday, December 2, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 3, 4 p.m.

Spotlight On: O'Connor Band

Before you see them perform at Magic of Christmas, get to know a little bit about O'Connor Band! 

The O'Connor Band's very first performance took place at the legendary Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas in 2015. In 2017 less than a year and a half later they took home the GRAMMY Award for Best Bluegrass Album for their debut recording, Coming Home.

In a whirlwind 18 months, the band has also performed at the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony, received standing ovations at the Grand Ole Opry, reached the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Top Bluegrass Albums chart, and partnered with powerhouse booking agency William Morris Endeavor Entertainment (WME).

The O'Connor Band is the product of Mark O'Connor's imagination one that has served him well over the course of his four-decade professional career. A former child prodigy and national champion on the fiddle, guitar, and mandolin, Mark has won numerous GRAMMYs and CMA Awards, appeared on hundreds of commercial country albums, collaborated with the likes of Johnny Cash, Wynton Marsalis, Dolly Parton, and Yo-Yo Ma, and performed everything from original violin concertos to swing and jazz. But until recently, he had not worked on a project quite like this.
At Music City Roots in Franklin, TN.
At Music City Roots in Franklin, TN.

"It's been one of the most surprising and rewarding experiences to perform with my family members on stage," says Mark. "It's really exciting to bend these American genres in new ways, combining accessibility with a real depth of musicianship and writing."

In addition to Mark, the band features his son Forrest, (Harvard graduate and former Tennessee State Mandolin Champion), daughter-in-law Kate (frequent performer on the CMA Awards and CMA Country Christmas shows), and wife Maggie (graduate of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University). The band is rounded out by Joe Smart (national flatpick champion on guitar) and Geoff Saunders (bassist/banjoist extraordinaire and recent graduate of the University of Miami's DMA program). All six band members possess charisma that, when combined onstage, ensnares audiences from start to finish.

Don't miss the amazing talent and charisma of Mark O'Connor and O'Connor Band, live during the Magic of Christmas! Get your tickets today!

All information comes from O'Connor Band's website. To learn more, visit