Symphony, Motiva present ‘Sounds of Christmas’

Published 12:04 am Sunday, December 8, 2019

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and the sounds of Christmas are all around.

Lilting tones of a soft violin, the deep base of a cello and shrill sounds of flutes and clarinets can be heard sinking in time with the “First Noel.”

The Symphony of Southeast Texas, in partnership with Motiva, is presenting their second annual concert, “The Sounds of Christmas” at 7 p.m. Monday in the Woodrow Wilson Early College High School.

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This year, the symphony shares the stage with guest vocalist Carmen Bradford from the Count Basie Orchestra.

Symphony of Southeast Texas Music Director Chelsea Tipton II said the night is sure to wow.

“Having a singer like Carmen Bradford, who is a nationally recognized jazz vocalist, is a treat,” Tipton said. “She will be joining us in performing original Christmas carol’s.”

The Symphony of Southeast Texas will provide the tunes with Bradford providing the vocals. The concert will open with songs such as “First Noel,” “Oh, Holy Night,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and more.

Afterwards, Port Arthur ISD Superintendent Mark Porterie will join the symphony as a guest conductor for a special musical piece called “The Sleigh Ride.” Human Resources Manager at Motiva, Lee Poulter, will also join as a guest sleigh bell percussionist.

“PAISD is excited to once again partner with Motiva and the symphony in the second annual holiday concert,” Porterie said. “We are happy that Motiva came up with the idea and that they are once again hosting along with us. At this time of the season, it’s great to see everyone come together, enjoy the spirit of Christmas and bring happiness to our community.”

Tipton said it is fun to include the community, as Porterie and Poulter, have been integral parts in bringing the concert to life. The audience will also be welcomed to participate in a holiday sing-a-long.

“These types of concerts, it is important to make a connection with the audience and the community,” he said. “We are the Symphony of Southeast Texas and we want to serve the entire region. That’s why we want to return to Port Arthur.”

The concert is family friendly and free to the public, thanks to a grant from Motiva.

“This a great concert for kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews,” Tipton said. “It’s a great way to introduce the youth to orchestra. I talk to the audience and engage with the audience, so it’s important to include the younger kids in the musical arts.”

Tipton said the performance will be a unique experience and he welcomes all of Southeast Texas to join in a night of fun and holiday spirit.

“To have a full orchestra come out and play in the community is a unique aspect of living in this region,” he said. “The Symphony of Southeast Texas is one of around 30 orchestras in Texas, and we’ve been making music for a long time. It’s not enough to just play music in our home at Julie Rogers Theatre, but to reach out and go into the community as well.”

For more information, visit or call the symphony office at 409-892-2257.