NSPO Presents the 2023 Sounds of Christmas

Special to the Independent

Music filled the air Sunday night when the North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra performed the 2023 Robert A. Marra Memorial “Sounds of Christmas” concert before a huge audience that packed St. Anthony’s Church.  Music Director Robert Lehmann and guest soprano Katie Oberholtzer had the crowd on their feet and calling for more as the Orchestra concluded the concert with the traditional “Let There Be Peace On Earth.”

Concert patrons started to stream into the church an hour before the 4 p.m. start, and they were generous with their donations to the Revere Food Pantry in the Food Drive that is part of the holiday season celebration.  “It’s a wonderful audience,” said Music Director Lehmann, who has led the conducted the concert since 2000.  “Every year you can feel their heart is in the season, and their donations to the Food Drive prove that…and their love of the music.  My holiday season doesn’t begin until we play this concert”

 “To me it’s a magical experience,” said Ms. Oberholtzer, who was making her first appearance with the North Shore Philharmonic.  “To be in the middle of the orchestra and singing to so many people, bringing joy the crowd in the holiday spirit ,” Katie told a RevereTV audience after the concert.  “It really is magical.”

The audience loved Ms. Oberholtzer’s sparkling renditions of “Ave Maria”, Mel Torme’s famous “The Christmas Song”, among others.  Event co-chair Dom Bocchino remarked, “I was getting text messages from peoplewatching the concert at home, saying how wonderful she

Mayor-elect Patrick Keefe addressed the audience during the concert, looking out at the audience and saying “This is the Revere I see, People coming together, enjoying each other’s company, and helping their neighbors,” he said.

As he introduced the evening’s guest narrator, Revere High senior Maya Merino, Mayor Keefe cited the accomplishments of previous Revere High seniors going back to 2015 who wrote essays that they read at the concert . “The Revere High students who have participated in this concert have told personal stories that reveal what is best about Revere, how precious it is to be their home,” Keefe said.  “And the students, themselves, represent the best of Revere.”

In her essay, Merino cited several personal experiences and observed “…These moments all glitter, like snowflakes in my mind, each one unique and perfect,” she said.  “The community and love that they hold is what distinguishes them as my definition of the holidays, reminding me that it doesn’t really matter what, when, or how you celebrate; it’s the simple act of being together with those that you love that make the holidays exactly what they are.”

Ms. Merino concluded her essay by asking the audience, “What memories are you reflecting on?  Which ones will you go on to build?”

Event organizers praised the volunteers who devoted time and effort into making the concert and food drive a success.  Members of the St. Anthony’s Church Confirmation class set up the altar area of the church with chairs for the concert and arranged hundreds of boxes to collect the food as patrons arrived.  Members of the St. Anthony’s Holy Name Society welcomed the patrons and packed the boxes, and members of the Revere High football team contributed their strength and enthusiasm to load all the food—several tons of it—into a truck for transport to the Revere Food Pantry.

The Concert was principally sponsored by Bocchino Insurance, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Massport, Comcast, Astound/RCN Broadband, and Action Emergency Services.

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