The Heights Concert Band will present its first Christmas concert in 40 years on Dec. 16 at the Ellison High School Auditorium, 909 Elms Road in Killeen.

The free 2 p.m. concert, under the direction of Randy Kelley, has been titled “A Christmas Celebration.”

Ken Wood, a co-partner with the Band Room, and a member of the 65-plus-piece band, told the Herald, “We’re featuring vocal soloist Emily Apolinar on three familiar tunes. There are a lot of other selections that people will recognize but with a different twist on them.

“It’s not just the standard ‘Sleigh Bells’ and ‘Sleigh Ride.’ It’s new stuff and really neat.”

The musical roster will include: “And Heaven and Nature Ring,” “And the Mountains Echoed: Gloria,” “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” “Angels Sing,” “Away in a Manger” and “Carol of the Bells.” The band will accompany Apolinar on “White Christmas,” “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

The Heights Concert Band will then conclude the concert with “StilleNacht,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

The band will be honoring those players who have been in the band for 20 years or more. These 13 musicians will be featured in the printed program with their photo and a brief written bio. There are a few who are in the 15- to 18-year range who will also be mentioned.

“That kind of retention in a band is remarkable,” Wood said.

There are those like Mike Reid, who’s played trumpet for 40 years, attended 50 rehearsals per year and that adds up to 2,000 rehearsals over those four decades.

The concert will last about an hour, according to Wood.

He said, “It’ll be great for the family after church or go out and have a bite to eat then come by and have a concert. It’s our gift to the community.”

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