This most recent holiday season was a particularly joyful period of celebration. Here is a look at five musical moments from this past November and December:

Approaching

I started the month of November by releasing Symphony Number One's 4th album, Approaching at an album release party in Baltimore. Composers and friends Martha Horst, Hangrui Zhang, and Nicholas Bentz were all in attendance.

 Pictured L-R: Andy Ezell, Barry Richmond, Scott Ullman, Hangrui Zhang, Jordan Smith, Dan Rorke, Sarah Manley, Matt Stiens, Martha Horst, Nicholas Bentz, Brian Tracey, Gayle O'Callaghan, Janan Broadbent, Drew Rieger, Guillerme Andreas, Michael Sheppard

Pictured L-R: Andy Ezell, Barry Richmond, Scott Ullman, Hangrui Zhang, Jordan Smith, Dan Rorke, Sarah Manley, Matt Stiens, Martha Horst, Nicholas Bentz, Brian Tracey, Gayle O'Callaghan, Janan Broadbent, Drew Rieger, Guillerme Andreas, Michael Sheppard

FRYO

The season continued with a wonderful performance with the FRYO Symphonia in Charles Town, West Virginia:

 Photo Credit: Neil Brown/Arts Laureate

Photo Credit: Neil Brown/Arts Laureate

Sleigh Ride

Next up was a performance with the York Symphony Orchestra. I was asked to cover for their annual holiday concert, but the decision was made to have me conduct Sleigh Ride while dressed as Santa Claus. It's hard to describe the special kind of fun that this was. Here's a video of the performance.

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O Magnum Mysterium

Rounding out my holiday season were three wonderful performances with the Govans Presbyterian Chorale and orchestra. Among them, I had the privilege of finally getting to conduct that chestnut, Morton Lauritsen's O Magnum Mysterium. I conducted the band arrangement of this work years ago, but it was a first time to conduct the original a cappella choral version, which we augmented with some extremely soft and deep organ in the background.

 

 The Govans Presbyterian Chorale performs Morten Lauridsen's  O Magnum Mysterium.

The Govans Presbyterian Chorale performs Morten Lauridsen's O Magnum Mysterium.

Bach

We also performed a number of excerpts from Bach's Christmas Oratorio and I was thrilled with the result. Video below:

 

Bonus

Fulfilling as these were, hands down, my richest holiday experience this year was spending time with my nephew. His mother bought him a drone and asked me to help him learn to fly it. It's hard to believe the sorts of high tech toys kids play with these days!

Lunch, dessert at @lamadeleinecafe, more drone time. Love this kid!

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Jordan Randall Smith is the Music Director of Symphony Number One.