Symphonic Music in the Winter

Students participate in the Omaha Symphony, the Christmas Spectacular


Photograph by Odochi Akwani

Megan Jenkins, Staff Writer

Bows at the ready, breaths being inhaled, and a silence overtaking the stage of greens and reds as the spirit of Christmas prepares to take center stage.

“The holiday show has become a truly impressive production and an audience favorite,” violin teacher Anne Nagosky said.

Every year the Omaha Symphony puts on a family-friendly Christmas concert, this year known as Christmas Spectacular, which features Broadway performers as well talent within the community.

“The first time I played in the Christmas show, I was terrified. I was 8 years-old, and I was on the huge Holland stage in front of an audience of 2,000 people. However, as the years have passed, I have gotten used to public performances and now, it is exhilarating to be able to play in front of so many people,” sophomore Ethan Chen said.

Some of the local talent includes Nagosky’s violin studio. Ranging from ages 5to 18, Nagosky has over 60 students. Chen and senior Betty Wang are two of her violin students who are participating in the event.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be walking on stage with my fellow violinists in front of 2,000 people each show. Up until opening night we rehearse in front of our parents, but when we step foot onto the stage, we’re in front of a sold-out crowd.,” Wang said.

Nagosky’s studio performs near the end of each concert. Starting off with the older and more experienced students, the stage slowly begins to fill with the younger members until all of the studio performers are present on stage.

“We can usually hear the audience gasp and whisper when they come out on stage, the energy in the room becomes tangible and the response when we finish is typically very enthusiastic,” Nagosky said.

Along with the rest of Nagosky’s students, Wang and Chen have been memorizing their music since October. Two weeks before their debut on Dec. 10th, the entire Christmas Spectacular team gets together to rehearse and put together their performance.

This year, the orchestra is performing ‘O Holy Night,’ Leroy Anderson’s ‘Sleigh,’ and many other traditional Christmas songs. Some of the music was even composed strictly for this performance.

“My favorite piece over the years is ‘What Child Is This.’ The song is very peaceful and beautiful, and it sounds even better with the acoustics of the Holland Center,” Chen said.

Nagosky’s students are not the only musically inclined students preparing for the Christmas Spectacular. The ensemble SNJ, Sharon North Jones, singers are also invited each year to perform.

“This is my second year in the group, and the audience always seems very engaged with what we are doing onstage and thrives off of the energy that the choir brings to the show as a whole,” senior Ruchir Khazanchi said.

Senior Madison Barben has been performing through SNJ for the Christmas Spectacular for three years and the show has turned into a family tradition. Both Barben’s mother and sister are singing alongside her in the show.

“We need a certain amount of people for the choir and there’s only so many people in SNJ singers, so they open it up to parents and siblings of the singers,” Barben said.

As the violinists rest their arms, singers take deep breaths, and the crowds’ cheers echo across the the auditorium, the Christmas Spectacular takes its bow.