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Orchestra delights crowd at annual holiday concert
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A festive holiday mood, the sound of beautiful holiday music and the aroma of homemade cookies filled the Effingham County Recreation and Parks Department Gymnasium on Dec. 2 as Effingham Community Orchestra presented its sixth annual holiday concert and homemade cookie sale.

Nearly every seat was filled, and the audience was treated to a broad range of holiday favorites.  Included were the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah,” selections from “The Nutcracker Suite,” several traditional Christmas carols, popular holiday songs and a medley of Santa songs for the children.

The orchestra’s jazz ensemble delighted the concert attendees with its energetic renditions of “A Holly Jolly Christmas,” “The Christmas Waltz,” and “Jingle Bells.”

Upon completion of the concert, the audience rewarded the musicians with a standing ovation.   Orchestra director Andrea Huff then conducted the musicians in the performance of an encore piece.

After the conclusion of the musical program, concert attendees bought dozens of homemade cookies baked by orchestra members, their families and orchestra volunteers. Funds raised from this sale will help support the orchestra’s activities over the coming months.

 “We depend totally upon donations, sponsors and fundraisers for our financial needs — and our very existence,” said Huff. “The generosity of our audiences and supporters enables us to bring these free concerts to our community.”

The five-and-a-half-year-old Effingham Community Orchestra is comprised of both adult and high school youth musicians. They have performed quarterly concerts and for community events at various locations throughout the county.

The orchestra will resume rehearsals in January 2013 and will be accepting new adult and high school student musicians. Additional information may be obtained by visiting the orchestra’s website, Huff encourages all interested musicians to email her at or call the orchestra’s office phone, 826-5300, ext.  25.