Carmel High School graduate returns for Indiana Wind Symphony holiday shows

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These will be Charles Conrad’s final Christmas concerts as Indiana Wind Symphony’s music director.

Conrad, who is retiring at the end of this 2023-24 season, hasn’t given it much thought because he has been so busy.

However, guest soprano soloist Jessamyn Anderson is feeling nostalgic. A 2011 Carmel High School graduate, Anderson was a student of Conrad’s wife, former CHS choir teacher Ann Conrad.

“This will absolutely be a special performance,” Anderson said. “Charlie was the first conductor to offer me a professional gig when I was just 18. When he called and asked if I’d like to sing at the Palladium, I honestly thought he was joking. And now here we are, 12 years later. I am so grateful to Charlie for giving me this opportunity.”

Anderson, who is based in Nashville, Tenn., will perform at Indiana Wind Symphony’s concerts at 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 3 at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel. The first show is shorter and designed for a younger audience with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The evening performance is called “A Christmas Festival.”

“I feel like I’ve grown up professionally with this ensemble,” Anderson said. “I’ve been on quite a windy road with music, but the IWS has been a consistent part of my story, and I’ve loved getting to know so many of the musicians throughout different seasons of my life. I truly treasure my time with the IWS.”

Anderson will sing “Let it Go” from the movie “Frozen” during the matinee.

Anderson said is eager to perform “O Joyful Children.”

“I think we performed it several years ago, but it’s been such a long time that it feels brand new,” Anderson said. “And my voice has changed and matured a lot since singing it last. I can’t wait.”

Per tradition, she will sing “O Holy Night” in the evening performance.

“Singing ‘O Holy Night’ in the magnificent Palladium is truly one of my favorite moments of the entire holiday season,” she said. “I get to proclaim words I wholeheartedly believe, sing soaring high notes and invite others to experience the hope and joy that Christmas offers us. I cannot truly express how much of an honor it is to sing that piece every year.”

Conrad said there will be a premiere of “A Christmas Carol” by Kelly Bennette, a composer from Texas, in the evening concert.

“We’ve premiered several of his pieces and it uses a narrator,” Conrad said.

The narrator will be trumpet player Lynn Stafford.

Grace Ishikawa will serve as an assistant conductor for the concert.

For more, visit indianawindsymphony.org.


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