Worcester State music students, alumni shine in The Hanover Theatre’s holiday music album

November 28, 2023
By: Andrea Binnick

The collection of 12 holiday classics is available online and at The Hanover Theatre’s box office as music professor Steve Gagliastro and Worcester State students gear up for their end-of-semester concerts here on campus 

The Hanover Theatre’s debut music album, Holidays at The Hanover Theatre Volume 1, showcases the talents of a few Worcester State community members thanks to collaboration with Worcester State music professor Steve Gagliastro, accomplished actor Annie Kerins, The Hanover Theatre designers, and more than 20 additional Worcester-area musicians.

Kerins, who plays Mrs. Fezziwig in The Hanover Theatre’s 16th annual production of A Christmas Carol, said she first realized the potential for a music album in 2020 as the production made a temporary, virtual pivot with a film version of the show. The quality of that presentation, which was fully created “in house,” inspired her concept for an audio celebration of holiday classics.

The idea quickly garnered enthusiasm and support from directors and staff at The Hanover, and after about a year of active planning and sound direction from The Hanover Theatre’s head of audio Nick Joyce, an album featuring 12 tracks is available for purchase this holiday season.

“The album pairs well with our annual productions of A Christmas Carol and Nutcracker, but it is a stand-alone album,” said Kerins. “I’m really proud of how many different folks we were able to include on the album.”

Gagliastro, Kerins’s husband, who also plays the role of her husband as Mr. Fezziwig in A Christmas Carol, brought in Worcester State music student Owen Santos; Worcester State music alumni Suzie Santos, Owen’s mother; and Liam Carmody ’23 to perform “Children, Go Where I Send Thee” with a choir on the second track.

“It’s one of my favorite tracks on the album,” Kerins said.

The album also features work by multiple organists, including A Christmas Carol music director Timothy Evans on “We Three Kings” and “Auld Lang Syne” and The Hanover Theatre’s resident organist Dr. Jonathan Kleefield on the Mighty Wurlitzer organ in “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Up on the Housetop,” to name just a few of the featured holiday classics and performers.

See a full listing of album tracks, instruments, and artists.

To purchase the album online, visit the link above. Or visit The Hanover Theatre box office to purchase the album in person. Holidays at The Hanover Theatre Volume 1 is available in CD and USB drive formats.

“I’m very proud of this album,” said Professor Gagliastro who served as the album’s music director. “Not only is the recording high quality, but we were able to feature many talented voices from the city of Worcester. Sharing the experience with students from Worcester State was a highlight.”

In other music news on campus, Gagliastro and Worcester State music students are gearing up for a variety of end-of-semester concerts. The Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) Department welcomes the community to attend Worcester State Jazz’s semi-annual concert at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 28 in the Sheehan Hall Multipurpose Room. Under the direction of Gagliastro, Worcester State Jazz’s talented ensemble of students, faculty, and Worcester State community members are set to showcase the versatility of jazz with work ranging from Nigel Bennett’s “The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad” to Van Alexander’s “A-Tisket A-Tasket.” The free performance will feature the following instruments and musicians:

Flute – Glenn D’Alessio
Clarinet – Elias Boone, Judith Jeon-Chapman
Alto sax – Abigail Rose
Tenor sax – Thomas Bellino
Baritone sax – Samantha Baker
Trumpet – Melissa Gilleece, Elaine Hall
Trombone – Silvio Dow, Ash Esqueda
Piano – Kyle Martin
Guitar – Evan Couture
Percussion/bass – Simon Abdal-Khabir, Jackson Pippert
Vocals – Emma Doyle, Owen Santos
Director – Steve Gagliastro

VPA also welcomes the community to join vocalists at 3 p.m. in the Student Center Blue Lounge on Thursday, Nov. 30, as Worcester State’s new mixed-voice a capella group, The Good Time Vocal Band, performs infectious harmonies and sweet melodies. Under Gagliastro’s direction, GTVB rehearses musical styles ranging from pop, rock, funk, and blues to jazz and Broadway music by a range of popular performers and is set to celebrate pop favorites from the ’50s and ’60s at the upcoming concert. The talented GTVB features the following Worcester State students: Emma Doyle, Samantha Jubinville, John McAuliffe, Renee Mercier, Aveen O’Brien, Rembrandt Pearl, Hannah Picchioni, Owen Santos, and Ashton Verdi.

On Friday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m, VPA will present the fall 2023 semester’s finale performance, Mosaic of Music. Students of instrumental and vocal lessons will deliver live performances of an eclectic variety of work in Fuller Theater. For more information about music lessons, ensembles, and performances, email Applied Music Coordinator Kyle Martin at VPAMusic@worcester.edu.

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