Music Director Robert Lehmann and the North Shore Philharmonic Orchestr (NSPO) a return to St. Anthony’s Church in Revere Sunday, December 4 for the annual Robert A. Marra Memorial “Sounds of Christmas” Concert. The concert gets underway at 4 p.m.
As has been the tradition since 1990, admission to the concert is free, but everyone attending the concert is asked to bring a generous donation of non-perishable food to benefit the Revere Food Pantry. The concert is jointly sponsored by Bocchino Insurance Agency,
• Massport, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Comcast, Astound Broadband, and Action Emergency Services.
North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra president and concert co-chair Robert Marra Jr. emphasized the food drive that is associated with the concert, which is named in memory of his father, Robert A. Marra Sr., late concertmaster of the Orchestra. “Of course, we love the music and the concert’s holiday feeling, but the food drive makes it special. It exemplifies the true meaning of the holidays, the sense of sharing and helping others,” he said. “When the people who come to the concert fill up the donation bins with food, it magnifies the generosity of the businesses that sponsor the concert.”
The concert tradition began in 1976 when North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra first came to play a holiday concert at Revere High School as part of the city’s celebration of the nation’s bicentennial. The concert moved to St. Anthony’s sanctuary the following year. “The concert was a tremendous success right from the start. Every year someone tells me how this concert has been part of their family tradition for so many years,” Marra said.
Revere High School senior Madison Lucchesi will write and narrate an original essay as part of the concert program. “We started this several years ago in cooperation with the Revere High School Writing Director Allison Casper,” Marra noted. “It’s a chance for a student to deliver a meaningful message, and it ties Revere High to the concert, something my father would appreciate.”
The concert is named in memory of violinist Robert A. Marra, a lifelong Revere resident and teacher at Revere High School who was concertmaster of the Orchestra for over 50 years before his death in 2002. “He played his last Sounds of Christmas in 2001. Remember, that was the year of 9/11. The concert was part of the healing process for everyone, the beginning of the holidays at the end of a very difficult year.”
Soprano Malinda Haslett will sing at the Revere concert for the first time. She is the Director of Vocal Studies at the University of Southern Maine and has performed recently in Boston, Paris, and London. “We are thrilled to welcome Malinda’s extraordinary talent to the concert this year,” Marra said. She will sing several solos during the concert and lead the audience in the traditional “Sing-a-long’1
The Revere audience that packs St. Anthony’s is as much a joy for the Orchestra as the concert is for the patrons. “At this time of year, musicians can be pretty busy, and it is demanding work, but they all love coming to Revere where the audience is so attentive and enthusiastic,” Marra said.
Marra expressed his deep appreciation to the concert sponsors Bocchino Insurance, the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Massport, Comcast, Astound Broadband, and Action Emergency Services. “No words can adequately convey our appreciation for the sponsors,” he said. “Dom Bocchino joined up with the concert in 2005 as a principal sponsor and has served as an invaluable concert co-chair. The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center and Massport joined us this year as part of their growing interaction with the Revere community. Comcast has been part of the concert literally forever-Revere’s local Cable TV provider has always played a role in the concert, now with Astound Broadband also. Action became part of the tradition more recently and also helps out with transferring the food. Every one of the sponsors recognize the meaning of this concert and how the public enjoys it.”