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Empire State Youth Orchestra Takes a Magic Sleigh Ride with Local Author & Madison VanDenburg

ESYO Unwraps New Orchestral Arrangement of Madison VanDenburg’s new single “The Light of Christmas” at ESYO’s Holiday Spectacular.

Empire State Youth Orchestra, known regionally and nationally for engaging young musicians from upstate New York and western Massachusetts in a joyful pursuit of musical excellence, announced its 2021 Holiday Spectacular, Sleigh Ride. The family-friendly holiday concert, scheduled for 3:00 PM on Sunday, December 19, 2021, at Proctors in Schenectady, features a sleigh full of talent, including ESYO's flagship ensemble Symphony Orchestra conducted by former ESYO Music Director Helen Cha-Pyo, the newly formed ESYO Chamber Orchestra, and the ESYO Youth Jazz Orchestra. National recording artist and 2019 American Idol finalist Madison VanDenburg returns home for the holidays to premiere the orchestral version of her new single, "The Light of Christmas,"; with ESYO.

"Music is the best accompaniment to the holidays. The pandemic has challenged us all and kept many from seeing their families during the holiday season. We believe that our musicians and our community could use a magical sleigh ride and sparkling music to reignite the light and love of
the holidays."

Becky Calos, Executive Director

2019 American Idol finalist Madison VanDenburg performs her new holiday single "The Light of Christmas."

Awarding-winning children's author of "Twas the Night Before Christmoose," Vicki Alesso Dodd debut's her new story "A Magical Musical Christmas Sleigh Ride."

The concert program weaves together a seasonal story by award-winning author Vicki Addesso Dodd with sparkling holiday favorites, Christmas carols, and inspired Symphonic classics. After finding themselves aboard Santa's sleigh, audiences travel the world seeing the holidays through the eyes of a child and the sounds of music. Accompanying each scene is music like Leroy Anderson's iconic Christmas jingle Sleigh Ride, Waldteufel's Skaters Waltz, and a jazzy arrangement of We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Also featured on the program is the famed holiday classic (There is No Place Like) Home for the Holidays by Glenville-native Robert Allen. Exhausted from their sleigh ride, the children fall asleep and wake up on Christmas morning to hear the orchestral premiere of Madison VanDenburg's new hit single.  In the finale, the audience is invited to join VanDenburg for a traditional carol sing-along.

“I am thrilled beyond words to be back on the stage of Proctors Theater with the fabulous musicians of ESYO for this special holiday concert. More than ever, we all have come to realize how precious it is to be able to make music together and share that joy with a live audience, especially when we can celebrate amazing young talents from our own communities, such as Madison. I’m so looking forward to collaborating with her on a new arrangement of ‘The Christmas Light.' Thank you, ESYO, for bringing all of us together!”

Helen Cha-Pyo, Former Music Director & Conductor

Written by multi-platinum songwriters Kenny Lamb (NSYNC, Justin Timberlake, Rhett Akins) and Anthony Little (Tina Turner, Backstreet Boys, and Reba), VanDenburg immediately connected with the song.

"It’s not just a Christmas song. It is also about hope and togetherness and seeing the world from a place of love. Music has always been a powerful way of helping people through tough times, and after the last year and a half, I think we all need to be reminded of the light that Christmas brings and that there will be good times ahead.”

Madison VanDenburg, 2019 American Idol Finalist

After performing at the Schenectady Tree Lighting and Holiday Parade, Madison VanDenburg will tour the U.S. with her holiday hit before returning home to unwrap a new orchestral arrangement with her hometown youth orchestra and illuminate Downtown Schenectady. With support from local recording engineer Dan Czernicki at Classical Recording Service, videographer Griffin Bengraff, and LIVE Sound Inc, Sleigh Ride will stream online in ESYO's Virtual Concert Hall on Christmas Day.  

For tickets to Sleigh Ride| An ESYO Holiday Spectacular, call Proctors Box Office at (518) 346-6204 or buy online at Tickets are $25. Group rates apply for groups of 10 or more. This concert is made possible through a grant from Schenectady County Legislature’s County Initiative Program.

Sleigh Ride | An ESYO Holiday Spectacular

Sunday, December 19, 2021 | 3:00PM

Single Tickets are $25

Buy Three Tickets and Get One Free
Call Proctors Box Office & Purchase a Me+3 Family 4 Pack for $75

Bring Your Group & Save
Schools, Youth Groups, Senior Center’s and Groups of 10 or more and save 40% on Single Tickets. Pay only $10 per ticket.