, Salem, MA


December 6, 2012

A generous helping of music for the holidays

DANVERS — The North Shore Philharmonic will hold a free concert Sunday afternoon, with a program that should satisfy everyone’s appetite for holiday entertainment.

“We’ll play a mixture of standard classical pieces, like the Russian dance from ‘The Nutcracker,’” said Robert Lehmann, the orchestra’s conductor. “Then we’re going to have some lighter fare, like ‘Around the World at Christmas Time.’ And there will be a singalong at the end, for everyone to participate in.”

The concert will also include a visit from the Back Bay Ringers, a handbell ensemble that was founded in Boston in 2003 and has recorded several CDs.

“They’ll play a solo selection, which they’re going to announce from the stage,” Lehmann said. “They’re also going to do ‘Carol of the Bells,’ a traditional piece, in a special arrangement that they do.”

There will also be a reading by soloist Jilly Martin of Truman Capote’s touching story “A Christmas Memory,” to music written by contemporary composer J. Mark Scearce.

“He captures the mood so nicely,” Lehmann said. “When they’re talking about cutting down the Christmas tree, and there’s a groan and crack as the tree falls, he represents it in the music beautifully. And when the kite gets aloft, there’s a harp glissando. The audience will enjoy it.”

Martin, 26, of Chelmsford, will also sing “The Christmas Song” by Mel Torme, which is best known by its opening line: “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire.”

Her first musical love is country and western, and Martin has opened for major acts that include Randy Travis and Miranda Lambert.

“My grandparents always listened to country,” she said. “Country seems to fit. People say they can hear the twang in my voice when I sing.”

But Martin, who has been singing since she was 9, can work in a range of styles, at least one of which is sacred.

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