The Olympia Symphony Packs the House for Free Holiday Sing-Along

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Nadine Bozeman and Jill Barnes leading the audience in familiar holiday sing-alongs. Photo credit: Jennifer Hermann

Submitted by Olympia Symphony Orchestra

“It was a true joy to sing with a thousand kindred spirits,” said Jill Barnes, co-sing-along leader for the Olympia Symphony Orchestra’s first holiday concert in over a decade. On Monday, December 23, the Olympia Symphony, led by Maestro Huw Edwards, presented a free holiday concert in their home venue, the Washington Center for the Performing Arts. Every seat in this acoustically stunning 983-seat venue was filled with community members who came together to celebrate the holiday season with one another.

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ennifer Hermann, executive director of the Olympia Symphony, expresses excitement and gratitude for the community’s support of the symphony, as “snow” falls outside the WCPA. Photo credit: Jennifer Hermann

Traditional carols and nostalgic holiday favorites filled the hall, alternating orchestral performances with audience sing-alongs. The audience was led by Nadine Bozeman (artistic director of Olympia Youth Chorus) and Jill Barnes (executive director of the Washington Center for the Performing Arts), two well-known and loved figures prominent in Olympia’s arts community. From “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” to “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” over 30 familiar tunes were played throughout the course of the one-hour concert. For guests who were truly dreaming of a white Christmas, a “magical snowfall” fell outside the WCPA, sponsored by Reliable Electric, Sawston Wealth Management, and Weatherly Inn. “We got to walk with a little gal after the concert who was THRILLED by the snow on her shoes! What a clever end to an amazing concert!,” said Bridgett Hocutt.

The concert was a gift from the Olympia Symphony to the public, in gratitude for their continuing support. The Olympia Symphony is a 501c3 charitable nonprofit organization, and relies on the generous support of sponsors, funders, and donors. Only 30% of what it takes to operate the Symphony, comprised of paid musicians, is generated by ticket sales from season concerts. Although admission was free, guests generously donated over $5,000 in support of the Olympia Symphony’s efforts to positively impact their community. These donations were matched through the generosity of concert sponsors Olympic Dermatology & Laser Clinic, Olympic Rental & Landlord Services, and Thomas Architecture Studios.

The Olympia Symphony hopes to make this community concert a holiday tradition in downtown Olympia. With a mission to “enrich, educate, and entertain,” they value community collaboration and increasing accessibility to the arts. “Last night is proof that there is happiness when we experience music together, when we put aside the differences that divide us and let joy rule. I haven’t seen so many child-like smiles on people of all ages in a very long time,” said Olympia Symphony’s executive director, Jennifer Hermann, “What we shared last night was magical.”


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