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December 12, 2013

ASO adds vocalist to Christmas Concert

ANDERSON -- The Anderson Symphony Orchestra is bringing back its traditional Christmas Concert, but with a new element this year.

The orchestra will hold its annual performance with guest vocalist Heather Bays at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Paramount Theatre.

The symphony will remain pretty traditional with the exception of the new performance, said Dana Stone, ASO executive director. Stone thinks it’s the first time a singer will perform during the Christmas Concert since 2009.

“Christmas is one of our most beloved concerts every year,” Stone said. “(Bays) is going to blow people away. She’s incredibly talented.”

It’s not the first time Bays has worked with conductor Richard Sowers. Sowers taught Bays when she was a student at Anderson University about 20 years ago.

“I remember being 19 and meeting him for the first time and having him present opportunities to me at Anderson University,” Bays said.

Those opportunities have continued to now when Sowers asked Bays to perform during the Christmas Concert.

“It was a humongous honor and I was shocked when he asked me,” she said. “I thought he was asking me to help him find someone else to do it.”

Bays then realized Sowers was asking her to sing.

Bays said she’s performing seven songs and a singalong during the concert. Her friend, Paul Langford, a composer from Chicago has helped her with the arrangements and will be playing the piano.

Even though she sings for a living, Bays said she is normally in the studio working on demos for different types of music.

“I’ll be sticking to one genre at this concert,” she said. “I spend so much time behind the glass (in the recording studio) and I can’t wait to be a part of something positive in a city that’s had a lot of hard knocks.”

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