Who said classic rock, heavy metal and Christmas music don't mix? Certainly not Trans-Siberian Orchestra or Mannheim Steamroller or even the bands included on the very on-the-nose Heavy Metal Christmas ... and the same goes for local ensemble Violectric.
The annual Violectric Holiday Show is back for another year in early December to prove that multiple genres can seamlessly blend together to spread an amount of holiday cheer that simply rocks.
On Saturday, Dec. 9, Violectric takes over the Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park with an extravaganza that is bigger and better than previous year's renditions, according to bandleader Michelle Jones.
This year's show will include the works of musicians like Metallica, Katy Perry and Maroon 5 mashed up with classic Christmas carols like "Let It Snow" and "We Three Kings."
While you may not expect "Nothing Else Matters," by Metallica, to meld with "We Three Kings," Jones said that Violectric makes the two work effortlessly.
Other hybridizations like "Moves Like Jagger" linked to "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" take a little more maneuvering to contrive, said Jones, founding member of Violectric.
"It's almost like putting a square peg in a round hole where it kind of fits, but it doesn't, so you kind of massage it a little bit to make it fit," says Jones. "I didn't want to copy what someone else was doing — I wanted something different, something new."
Jones explains that the Holiday Show is one that "seems to be a year in the making every time." Along with the carefully curated blends of songs, the show will have an impressive roster of local musicians.
This year, Violectric will be joined by pianist Carol Stein, the Edgewater High School Orchestra, the Howard Middle School Orchestra, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer ... and Santa and Mrs. Claus.
A larger lineup means new additions to every aspect of the set, Jones said. For the first time ever, Howard Middle School players will take the stage alongside Violectric and Edgewater High School. Jones also said that the show will see Mayor Dyer accompany the orchestra in playing upright bass for one song, Santa and Mrs. Claus leading the audience in a sing-along, and photo opportunities aplenty.
"My favorite part of the music set is when we have the students with us," says Jones. "Imagine our sound and now amplify it tenfold where you've got all these lush instruments, and then we can just expand the arrangement so they're not just playing what we play, they have their own parts that go with ours."
The community turnout and support have always made the Violectric Holiday Show one to remember, according to Jones, who has lived in Orlando since 1991.
"That's the other reason why we love this show, because this is our homecoming show," says Jones. "This is our chance to play at home for our friends and family who are right here in Orlando."
It wouldn't be the most wonderful time — or performance — of the year without a reason for the season. The Violectric Holiday Show will be accepting donations to support Violectric Education Programs, the orchestra's not-for-profit music education division.
VEP provides workshops and enrichment opportunities for people around the world, no matter their age. Jones said that VEP brings these opportunities to both schools and memory care facilities.
"I've seen it firsthand, where music causes someone who's drawn over in a wheelchair to suddenly raise their head and start singing and clapping," says Jones. "So that's what the education programs do, it gives us that opportunity to help people not only in the education system but also in the memory care facilities."
The Holiday Show is another way that the City of Orlando, VEP and Violectric can serve the community, according to Jones. To help make winter in Orlando a little more merry, Violectric's show is family-friendly and free to the public.
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