Sounds of the season
Rockdale, Newton groups offer many Christmas shows

Looking to get into the holiday spirit? Then consider attending one of the several seasonal performances offered in Rockdale and Newton counties next weekend. From bands concerts to choral music, there are plenty of upcoming Christmas shows that are close by, affordable and family-oriented.

Newton County Community Band's "16th Annual Christmas Concert"

For the 16th consecutive year, the Newton County Community Band will present a Christmas concert on Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Eastside High School, 10245 Eagle Drive in Covington. The band, which consists entirely of volunteers from nine different counties, will be playing seasonal selections such as "Joyful Triumphant," "Italian in Algiers," and "Symphonies," a song composed of different melodies from other Christmas carols. The band will also premier the song "Christmas Joy," written by local, Phillip N. Davis.

T.K. Adams, the band's founder and retired Newton County school system band director, believes the Christmas concert fulfills an important need for people who live in the area.

"I do it to bring people together," said Adams. "Our band is a mixture of housewives, teachers, police, engineers, students and many more."

Admission to the concert is free.

Covington/Conyers Choral Guild's "Christmas Concert"

The Covington/Conyers Choral Guild will present their annual Christmas concerts on Dec. 4 at the First Baptist Church of Covington, 1139 Usher St. in Covington, and on Dec. 5 at the Rockdale Auditorium, 903 Main St. in Olde Town Conyers; both performances are at 8 p.m.

The 100-member community chorus will perform "Gloria" by John Rutter, a 27-minute piece, as well as "A Musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of Christmas," which features musical styles ranging from Gregorian Chant to a patriotic section sung to music by John Philip Sousa. The chorus will also sing "Jesus Bambino," featuring a soprano soloist, and "Arise and Shine," and a pianist will perform a Christmas montage.

Admission is $10 at the door.

Conyers Kids' "A Christmas Carol"

Featuring Valley Girls, Steve Urkel, surfer dudes and witches, this is not your ordinary "Christmas Carol" play. On Dec. 6, Conyers Kids, a theatrical group of 15 kids ranging in ages from 11 to 16, will be performing their own creative interpretation of the Charles Dickens classic.

Shows run at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Conyers Rockdale Council for the Arts' Center Street Arts theater, 910 Center St., in Olde Town Conyers.

Admission is free.

The Oxford Singing Children's and the Oxford Youth Singers' "Christmas in Covington"

The Oxford Singing Children and the Oxford Youth Singers will perform their annual "Christmas in Covington" choral concert on Dec. 5 and 6 at 7 p.m. at Covington First United Methodist Church, 1113 Conyers St. in Covington.

The two choirs, which combined consist of 100 children ranging from fourth to 12th grade, hail from Rockdale, Newton and Walton counties and represent about 20 schools.

"The great thing about these choirs is the fact that it brings together students from all around to work together and create a wonderful performance," said Choir Director Mary Lynn Luke.

Each choir will sing about six carols including favorites such as "Do You Hear What I Hear?," "We Need a Little Christmas" and "Carol of the Bells." Carolers dressed in 19th century English costumes will greet concert-goers at the door singing Christmas melodies.

Tickets are $15 for seniors and $10 for students. Tickets may be purchased at newtoncountyarts.org, by phone at 770-786-8188 or in-person at the Newton County Arts Association on the Square in Covington at 1106 Washington Street .

Sentimental Journey Orchestra's "Big Band Christmas Show"

For those who appreciate the jazz sounds of the Swing Era, the Sentimental Journey Orchestra will perform a "Big Band Christmas Show" featuring songs from the 1930s and '40s. The band, which consists of 19 performers from the Atlanta area, will play songs by Buddy Rich, Clint Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman, along with traditional holiday tunes. Featuring trumpets; trombones; alto and tenor saxophones; a rhythm section with bass, drums and guitar; and vocals, the SJO covers the entire spectrum of Big Band music.

The show takes place on Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. at the Rockdale Auditorium, 903 Main St. in Olde Town Conyers, and rounds out a day of holiday activities including the Rockdale County Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting.

"Hopefully when people leave the tree lighting ceremony, they can cross the street and spend the rest of the evening with us," said Dan Turner, SJO director and Rockdale resident.

Turner said that Big Band music appeals to not only senior citizens, but young people as well. The SJO has performed at colleges such as the Georgia Institute of Technology and high schools such as the Westminister School.

"It is real music," Miller explained. "We have been doing this for 35 years and our guys still play their hearts out."

Tickets are $10 for adults and free for children, and may be obtained at the door. The SJO also is selling blocks of tickets to those who wish to donate them to senior citizens and low-income families. Call Dan Turner at 770-922-4411.