Ring In the Holidays with Songs of the Season

Rollins and Full Sail join forces in getting everyone in the holiday spirit with a free concert at the Dr. Phillips Center.

Photo courtesy Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Photo courtesy Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

This article originally appeared in ArtsLife magazine’s winter 2017 issue. It is republished here with permission.

Sure, you’ve seen holiday shows before. A choir, some instrumentalists, and an inevitable “Silent Night” singalong. But it’s safe to say that Central Florida has never seen a holiday show quite like the one that Rollins and Full Sail—in partnership with Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts—will present on the Seneff Arts Plaza.

Songs of the Season is a free outdoor concert that combines genre-spanning music from an array of Rollins orchestras and choral ensembles with state-of-the-art production values from Full Sail’s team of technical wizards. It’s a Christmas gift you can open early, on December 2 at 6 p.m. And we do mean gift—admission to this over-the-top holiday spectacular is free.

Officials from Rollins and Full Sail hope that Songs of the Season will become a signature event for Central Florida—one that’s as eagerly anticipated as Christmas in the Park, the outdoor songfest that’s been presented for decades by the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park and the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.

Department of Music chair John V. Sinclair Department of Music chair John V. Sinclair

In fact, Songs of the Season will be conducted by the indefatigable John V. Sinclair, who’s also artistic director of the Bach Festival Society and chair of the Department of Music at Rollins. He’ll likely work up a sweat wielding the baton for this show—even if the weather’s chilly.

All the songs will feature new arrangements by jazz bassist Chuck Archard, artist in residence at Rollins, and Jamey Ray, an assistant professor of music and vocalist in the internationally renowned a cappella supergroup Voctave.

“This is going to be a very high-energy show,” says Daniel Flick, also an artist in residence at Rollins, whose background includes producing multimedia musical events. Flick, who plays any instrument with strings, is point man for the music department’s collaborations with other community arts groups.

So, don’t expect a staid presentation of typical choral music on Full Sail’s massive traveling stage, which is usually rolled out for rowdy rock ’n’ roll concerts. “This is going to be a celebration,” says Flick. “We think it’ll really bring the community together.”

Vocals will be provided by the 80-voice Rollins College Choir, along with the Rollins Singers and Rollins Women’s Jazz Vocal Ensemble. Instrumentation will be provided by a 28-piece orchestra that includes students and faculty as well as members of the Dr. Phillips Center Jazz Orchestra.

There’ll also be solos from local jazz favorite Michelle Mailhot, who teaches jazz to toddlers at Dr. Phillips Center Florida Hospital School of the Arts, and a holiday medley from Docs & Dellas, the arts center’s dynamic in-house musical theater troupe that consists of more than 40 teen performers. 

There’ll be some familiar holiday favorites, of course offering musical styles ranging from classical to swing to down-home gospel. But Songs of the Season will have a distinctly international flair, with Caribbean, Latin, Irish, Italian and Viennese origins or influences.

Songs of the Season marks the grand debut of a recently announced collaborative relationship between Rollins and Full Sail, both of which are in Winter Park. 

“We have always believed in providing hands-on experience that can translate into real-world application once our students move into their chosen careers,” says Keith Lay, chair of the Full Sail Music Industry Studies Department. “Allowing our students to engage with students from Rollins gives both groups the valuable experience of working together—but more importantly, of learning from one another.” And, in the case of Songs of the Season, kicking off Central Florida’s holiday season in grand style.

Event Details

  • Saturday, December 2, 6 p.m.
  • Sponsors: Florida Hospital, CFE Educators Credit Union, and Owens Realty Services
  • Seneff Arts Plaza at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
  • Admission is free