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Ojai Performing Arts Center presents holiday concert on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 2 p.m. at Matilija Auditorium

AnnawagnerScott white

Scott White and Anna Wagner are among the talented performers at the annual Ojai Performing Arts Center holiday concert, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," on Sunday, Dec. 1, at 2 p.m., at Matilija Auditorium 703 El Paseo Road. The concert will benefit the Nordhoff Music Department. Along with the singing of many classics, hosts Amanda McBroom and George Ball will tell the captivating back stories of the classics.

The holiday season resonates with our community through decorations in stores and on the streets, parties with friends and family, and this year, the “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” holiday concert. With two performances happening this weekend at Matilija Auditorium, the festive concert features professional singers and orchestra. The performances will be Sunday, Dec. 1, at 2 p.m. All proceeds from the concerts benefit the Nordhoff High School music department. The concert is produced by the Ojai Performing Arts Theater.

Why not experience all of those great tunes live? Tickets are on sale at OjaiTheater.org or call 805-646-5433, or just show up and make it a spontaneous start to your holiday magic. Ticket prices are $30 for general admission; $20 for seniors and for students under 18.
Singers include Anna Wagner, who also sang in last year’s concert, and Scott White, known locally as the lead in musicals such as “Man of La Mancha” and “She Loves Me.” Both said they are looking forward to entertaining everyone and starting the season on a musical note.
“Coming together around music to share a communal experience of singing songs of joy and cheer is something we all can benefit from,” said Wagner, who is married to Nordhoff High School music director Bill Wagner. “I feel like people get into a different mind-set during the holiday season ... we are a little more giving, a little more empathetic ... filled with a little more joy. I love the idea of kicking off the season in song with our extended family of Ojai. This is my favorite time of year and it was a joy to share the holiday spirit with our community. I had never sung for a public audience in Ojai before last year so I was really nervous leading up to the performances, but the holiday magic took over and the songs that Bill chose for me were beautiful.”
White said: “I can’t think of a better way to kick off the Christmas season. “The music is a delightful mix of fun and sacred songs, and the artists are all first rate, bringing their unique styles to these holiday favorites. You’re sure to go away smiling, and maybe humming
a tune or two. Everyone has been so friendly, literally welcoming me with open arms from the beginning. They are all amazingly talented, but the best part for me is experiencing the joy that comes through so honestly in their performances. They’ve inspired me to try to step up my game.”
Both Wagner and White have fond memories of the holidays and its music.
“I grew up in a religious family,” said Wagner. “We sang all the Christmas hymns so those really are my favorites. The songs I will be singing are not ones I grew up with, but songs that bring a little more diversity to the mix. ‘Go Tell It on the Mountain,’ based on a spiritual, and ‘Some Children See Him’ shares with children that no matter your skin color, your culture, you are accepted.”
“When I was a kid growing up in small-town Indiana, there were a lot of traditions and joy in my house around the Christmas season,” White said. “I loved singing all of the classic Christmas carols in church and I’ve always associated happy feelings with the words and music of those carols. In a cheesy sort of twist, one of my favorite childhood memories was the whole family gathering around the TV and watch- ing the shmaltzy holiday TV variety shows, like the Andy Williams Christmas specials. Our holiday concert has a similar style and heartwarming feel, and I’m thrilled to be part of it.”
Matilija Auditorium is at 703 El Paseo Road, Ojai.
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