The Cookeville Community Band presented its annual Christmas and Holiday Concert on Dec. 8, at 3 p.m. at the Cookeville Performing Arts Center (CPAC).

The band welcomed Robert Jager as its new conductor. Having previously been a guest conductor of the band, Jager's first concert as permanent conductor was the Christmas and Holiday Concert.

The concert opened with Leroy Anderson's popular winter-time composition, "Sleigh Ride," first made known to the public in recordings by the Boston Pops Orchestra. Later, words were added to this bouncy, joyous music, and that is the way most people know it today.  Since it was first written in 1948, "Sleigh Ride" has become a traditional Christmas song.

A much older traditional melody, "Greensleeves," comes to us from Elizabethan England and was first written as a love song. Soon this beautiful melody was adapted as a Christmas carol with the words, "What child is this?" Its flowing lines made an ideal contrast to the rollicking opening of the concert.

The talented Lindsey Slaughter was guest soloist. A 2013 Tennessee Tech University Department of Music graduate, she sang two pieces, the first being Mel Torme's "A Christmas Song." Most people know this better as "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire." Later, she treated the audience to a perennial favorite, "O Holy Night." Slaughter invited audience members to be part of the festivities by leading them in a sing-a-long of Irving Berlin's "White Christmas"—a first for the Cookeville Community Band.

Next, it was on to 17th-Century France with the delightful carol, "Patapan," which featured the percussion section. "Patapan" is the sound that the drum makes according to the carol and is an ancient relative of the song, "The Little Drummer Boy."

As this time of the year is not only a Christmas celebration, but also a celebration of the Jewish Festival of Lights, known as Hanukkah, the band performed Robert Jager's "Hebraic Rhapsody," a medley of Jewish folk songs and dances.

Rounding out the program was another Leroy Anderson favorite, "A Christmas Festival," one of the most inventive Christmas medleys ever written. It contained references to "Joy to the World," "Deck the Halls," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Good King Wenceslas," "Hark the Herald Angels Sing," "Silent Night," and at the end, combined "Jingle Bells" with "O Come All Ye Faithful!"

Since 2002, when the late Wayne Pegram founded the Cookeville Community Band, Bob Luna has been the voice of the band. Luna is a local businessman whose mellifluous baritone voice has welcomed audiences and introduced them to a world of wonderful music. And again this year, Luna will be the host for the Christmas and Holiday Concert.

For information about the band and its upcoming or past concerts, visit www.CookevilleCommunityBand.org. Find the band on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CookevilleCommunityBand and on Twitter @Cookeville_Band.

Anyone interested in joining the band should contact the band personnel manager at personnel@cookevillecommunityband.org.

The Cookeville Community Band would like to thank its faithful followers and concert attendees as well as those who support the band!


If the decision is made to cancel an outdoor concert in the Summer Concert Series for weather-related concerns or another reason as deemed necessary by the Cookeville Community Band leadership, the concert will be rescheduled for the following Monday evening, unless another event is already scheduled at the Dogwood Park Performance Pavilion for that date.

Announcements will be made prior to a canceled concert on this web site and the Band's social media outlets (currently, Facebook and Twitter).