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Sound of Charlotte Blog

Meet "Christmastime in Charlotte" composer, Gary Fry

Emmy-winning composer Gary Fry returns this season for Magic of Christmas & The Singing Christmas Tree, Dec. 13-22 at Knight Theater. We sat down with Gary to find out if his beloved carol written for the Queen City, "Christmastime in Charlotte," will sport a new verse, when he begins listening to Christmas music every year, and more.

Do you have any holiday traditions?
I think our family traditions are pretty normal. We gather for family dinner on Christmas Eve, and my wife gives all our children (and now, grandchildren) Christmas pajamas before bedtime, and we read the Clement Moore poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and the Nativity story from the Gospel of Luke. Christmas Day is a time for spending time with family and opening gifts!

Last year, you wrote a new Christmas carol for us, "Christmastime in Charlotte." Will there be any changes or additions to the carol this year?
From the beginning, the idea was to have one verse of lyrics that changed each year to reflect things that were happening currently in Charlotte, or something special related to the Magic of Christmas program that particular year. You'll just have to come to the concert to find out what the "topical lyrics" are this year!

Which part of the concert are you most excited for?
It's all exciting to me especially the fact that this year joining our wonderful Charlotte Symphony are Carolina Voices' The Singing Christmas Tree, the Charlotte Children's Choir, and Grey Seal Puppets. It will all make for a very fresh and exciting new sound and look - filled with Christmas spirit!

What's your favorite Christmas carol?
Well, I must say I especially like "O Holy Night" as a traditional carol, and the music from the movie The Polar Express is wonderful as far as newer Christmas songs go. And, hearing "Christmastime in Charlotte" is always a wonderful thrill for me as a composer.

If you were a sugar cookie, what shape would you be?
Ha! A Christmas cookie shaped like a harp or a bell-- something musical!-- would be appropriate for me.

A potentially controversial question: At what time of the year do you start listening to Christmas music?
Since I work on so much Christmas music, I listen to it literally year-round. I'm already listening to Christmas music for 2020!
Joyful. Heartwarming. Pure family fun. Make new family memories to cherish for years to come at Magic of Christmas & The Singing Christmas Tree, Dec. 13-22 at Knight Theater.

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Posted in Pops. Tagged as holidays, Magic of Christmas, Pops.

5 Exciting holiday experiences with your CSO this season

The Holidays are just around the corner, which means the return of time-honored traditions and the making of new ones. From acrobatics above the orchestra to snow in the theater, check out these five exciting experiences that you can have, only with your CSO. 

1. Snow in the Knight Theater

You may already be familiar with the CSO's annual Magic of Christmas, but did you know that it snows in the theater following the concert? Featuring a visit from Santa, audience sing-alongs and your favorite holiday music, this longstanding Charlotte tradition combines this year with Carolina Voices' The Singing Christmas Tree December 13-21.

2. Acrobatics above the orchestra

When the circus comes to town, they don't mess around. Cirque de Noel on December 28 at Belk Theater will include stunning aerial feats that will wow the whole family.

3. Dancing on stage for New Year's Eve

The party has moved to the Belk Theater this year to accommodate more room for the post-concert festivities. Swing into the New Year with style with Gershwin's famous Rhapsody in Blue, followed by champagne, desserts, a live jazz band, and a countdown to midnight. 

4. Halleluja!

Handel's Messiah returns this year by popular demand. The CSO will perform this beautiful, dramatic work featuring the Hallelujah Chorus with the Charlotte Master Chorale and four soloists on December 6 & 7 at Knight Theater. 

5. Watch Kevin get left Home Alone

Part of the CSO's Movie Series, the orchestra will perform the soundtrack to this delightful holiday classic live in sync with the film projected on a large screen above orchestra. Don't miss it on November 29 at Belk Theater. Read more

Tagged as holidays, Magic of Christmas, Movie Series, Pops, Special Event.


You've heard it: Christmas music on the radio stations, at the mall, in the office being hummed quietly by your next cube neighbor. Holiday music has become one of the most wonderful harbingers of the season. Baking cookies and wrapping presents would be a lot less fun without the jolly Christmas music playing in the background. But sometimes Christmas music can become a stressor inducing panic in the last minute shopper or bringing out the Scrooge in the nicest of people.

While the music on the radio stations tell us to slow down and enjoy this "most wonderful time of the year," we still take part in hectic visits with family and friends, travel planning headaches, and shop 'til you drop marathons leading up to the holidays. This year, wouldn't it be nice to pause and take some time to enjoy the music of the season in its purest form?

Starting tonight at the Belk Theater, the Charlotte Symphony will present Magic of Christmas, its annual holiday concert of beautiful music performed live by Charlotte's only professional orchestra. Take some time to focus on just one sense. Just listen. Let the music fill you up with happiness and peace. Slow down your mind (and your pulse) and enjoy the fleeting moments of the season. You'll be glad you did.
Magic of Christmas performances will take place over four days with evening performances on Thursday, November 29 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, November 30 and Saturday December 1 at 8:00 p.m., with two matinee performances on Saturday, December 1 and Sunday, December 2 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets start at $26.50 for adults and $13.25 for children and can be purchased online here or over the phone at (704) 972-2000.
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Tagged as Charlotte Symphony, christmas, Christmas Music, holidays, Magic of Christmas.