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The La Crosse Symphony Orchestra wraps this year’s Christmas concerts with a flavor of Mannheim Steamroller and favorite holiday classics.

The Dec. 14 and 15 concerts, “Celebrating the Holidays,” offer great music everyone will enjoy, said Alexander Platt, conductor and music director of the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra.

Alexander Platt mug


“In fact, this year we have one of our best holiday programs,” Platt said.

Platt features the music of Chip Davis, the Grammy Award-winning composer and creator of Mannheim Steamroller, which has sold more than 20 million copies of its four Christmas holiday albums.

The orchestra performs three Davis arrangements of Christmas carols, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Silent Night” and “Deck the Halls.” It also will play classics such as “White Christmas,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and Mel Torme’s “The Christmas Song.”

Also on the program are two “Sleigh Ride,” pieces — Leroy Anderson’s familiar and popular version and Sergei Prokofiev’s movement from “Lieutenant Kije.”

“We have the old favorites like ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Sleigh Ride,’ which never get stale, and new favorites from Chip Davis,” Platt said. “Our audience goes crazy over Mannheim Steamroller.”

The La Crosse Youth Symphony Orchestra joins the LSO in performing music from Georges Bizet’s “L’Alisienne Suites” and the La Crosse Girlchoir performs with the orchestra in John Williams’ suite from the Christmas movie, “Home Alone.” The holiday concert ends like it always does, with John Finnegan’s arrangement “A Christmas Sing-Along.”

Perhaps the most unique work on the program is Samuel Adler’s tribute to Hanukkah, “To Celebrate a Miracle.” Adler was born to Jewish parents who fled Germany in 1939.

Platt said he had a difficult time finding the score for Adler’s suite.

“It’s a substantial work for Hanukkah,” Platt said. “I wanted to do this and I know the work.”

He was told by the publishers that the work was either out of print or lost, but he couldn’t give up. “I found the composer, who is 90 and living in Europe, and he had a copy in his basement,” Platt said.

Adler sent a copy to Platt. “I am forever grateful,” Platt said. “The work was rescued from oblivion. This work will be special for our orchestra and audience.”

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Entertainment and county government reporter

Randy Erickson covers arts and entertainment and county government for the La Crosse Tribune. Contact him at 608-791-8219 or

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