It was Christmas already at ETHS on Sunday afternoon. The Evanston Symphony Orchestra and Festival Chorus played to a full house, the Evanston Dance Ensemble adding their own enchantments and artistry. Emcee Ebony Joy. playwright, actress and ETHS alum welcomed all.  From the first notes of Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride to the resounding chords of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus the afternoon was filled to overflowing of Christmas meaning and memories. Even the intermission was filled with a capella caroling by the high school a capella singers.  

The Evanston Symphony, under the warm and vigorous direction of Lawrence Eckerling was in full voice. The dancers, artistically directed by Bea Rashid and Christina Ernst, were like snowflakes falling on a brightly lit Christmas tree. And Rudolph’s red nose never shined as brightly.

Our city’s talent exploded after the intermission when the Evanston Symphony Festival Chorus, directed by Susan Young added their perfectly tuned “instrument”  to the orchestra and occasion, making Joy to the World contagious for the holidays ahead. Santa and his elves arrived just in time for the holiday sing-long that made the afternoon even more merry and bright. The program concluded with the lingering echoes of Handel’s masterwork.

The Christmas Symphony was a very large and brightly wrapped gift to the community from the afternoon’s gracious hosts, Romano Brothers & Company. Their generosity has made it an annual event for an appreciative audience.