Mat-Su Concert Band

PALMER— The Mat-Su Concert Band will once again fill the halls of the Glenn Massay Theater this weekend with holiday-inspired tunes during its annual Christmas concert.

“We don’t play the same thing every year,” principal clarinetist and Mat-Su Concert Band board member Drewcilla Holifield said.

Holifield said that this concert will feature a blend of traditional Christmas music and modern pieces.

“It appeals to everyone that way,” Holifield said.

One modern piece is American composer Julie Giroux’s “What Child Is This Playing the Carol of the Bells” which is a fusion of the two classic songs, “What Child Is This?” and “Playing the Carol of the Bells.”

Holifield said that her conductor, Gleo Huyck, and the rest of the band are on the same page, wanting to mix up the song lists and play something different each year.

“Because we get tired of hearing the same thing,” Holifield said.

The Mat-Su Concert Band has more than 70 members and according to Holifield, it’s comprised of a grab bag filled with all walks of life.

“We have players who have been playing for 40-plus years and high school students who excelled quickly,” Holifield said. “We have a mix of professionals and people who play for fun but we all take it seriously and that’s what makes the difference.”

Holifield said that before she moved to Alaska, she played music across the world. She said that the Mat-Su Concert Band is the best of its kind.

“It’s my favorite thing I do every week. It’s like my scheduled fun time,” Holifield said. “There’s not a community band like this one.”

This year’s concert is called, “Holiday Sounds.” It will feature songs like “Carol of the Shepherds,” “Christmas March,” and “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.” Holifield said the audience will also have an opportunity to join the band in a sing along with their favorite classic Christmas carols. She said the sing along portion has been a crowd favorite for years.

Shows are this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 16 at 4 p.m. Old Saint Nick is set to make an appearance 30 minutes before the show and will hang out afterwards to share cookies and photo opportunities. There will also be Starbucks coffee served.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at


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