Symphonic Santa Sunday set for Dec. 10

The stage at Ferris State University’s William Auditorium with be decorated for the holidays during the annual Symphonic Santa Sunday, which is set for Dec. 10. (Courtesy photo)

BIG RAPIDS — With the holidays just a few weeks away, Ferris State University orchestra and bands will be helping residents get in the spirit with the annual Symphonic Santa Sunday concert.

The concert has been a part of the Ferris community for more than 60 years.

“I started our ‘Symphonic Santa Sunday’ family holiday concert tradition back in 2007,” said Scott Cohen, conductor and FSU director of instrumental concert ensembles. “Prior to that, there were holiday concerts at Ferris since about 1948.”

The concert will feature the FSU Symphony Band, FSU West Central Concert Band and FSU West Central Chamber Orchestra and will begin at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10. The free concert will take place at FSU’s Williams Auditorium, located at 901 S. State St., in Big Rapids.

“It’s a great mix of holiday tunes, from the ‘Carol of the Bells’ to ‘Feliz Navidad,’ and from ‘Silent Night’ to music from ‘The Nutcracker,’ which was just a huge hit here on campus,” Cohen said. “We’ve even included some favorite tunes from Hanukkah, like the ‘Dreydl Song.’

“Some selections will be performed by small chamber groups of just strings, saxophones, clarinets, flutes or even tubas. Some will be performed by our orchestra, some by the bands and some by everyone in the auditorium for our annual holiday sing-along. There’s a Christmas classic by the Mannheim Steamroller, and the Trans Siberian Orchestra’s classic, ‘Wizards in Winter.’ We’ll also have cameo appearances by Ferris’ Vibrato Vibes A Cappella Choir and by the FSU Ukulele Club.”

Cohen and Dale Skornia will conduct the holiday-themed evening, which will include the perennial classic “Sleigh Ride.” Families also can visit with Santa Claus and Dynamite the Clown.

“We’ll be paid a special visit, as we are each year, by Santa Claus and his favorite holiday concert assistant, Dynamite the Clown,” Cohen said. “They’ll be passing out candy during the concert, and Santa will be greeting kids in the lobby of Williams Auditorium starting at 3 p.m.

“The auditorium will be decorated for the holidays, and a few lucky kids will get holiday-colored balloons from members of the bands and orchestra.”

The performance also serves as the 10th annual holiday concert charity drive. Toys and monetary donations will be collected in the auditorium lobby and will be given to the Salvation Army of Big Rapids for needy families in and around Mecosta County.

Attendees in need of special accommodations for the program can call (231) 591-3676 or email at least 72 hours in advance of the event.

For more information, contact the university music center at (231) 591-2501.


Posted by Meghan Gunther-Haas

Meghan is the education reporter for the Pioneer and Herald Review. She can be reached at (231) 592-8382 or by email at

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