* What: Chattanooga Symphony & Opera presents "Home for the Holidays - Through a Child's Eyes."
* When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22.
* Where: Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St.
* Admission: $33 adults, $15 ages 17 and younger.
* Phone: 423-267-8583.
* Website: www.chattanoogasymphony.org.
For many Chattanoogans, the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera's annual "Home for the Holidays" performance is a yuletide tradition, and this year, first-year producer Joel D. Scribner is hoping to bring even more people into the fold.
The two-hour event will return to the Tivoli Theatre with performances on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 21-22, featuring classic and modern holiday selections such as "Sleigh Ride," "The Skaters' Waltz," "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and "Polar Express."
About 200 musicians will take the stage representing the CSO, CSO Chorus, Chattanooga Boys Choir and Metropolitan Bells.
Although the program's selections are beloved holiday standards that are as comforting as they are familiar, they take on a new life and impact when performed on such a grand scale, Scribner says.
"Holiday music touches a visceral nerve for everybody anyway, and to hear that music performed by the caliber of musicians that we have at the symphony just adds that extra arm tingle," he says. "That experience becomes something that people remember year-round."
In keeping with this year's theme, "Through a Child's Eyes," Scribner has interspersed the music with readings of about two dozen letters to Santa Claus written by children from around the world. These will be read by 11 local children.
Scribner says the letters to be read were drawn from websites and published compilations. They range from flippant and funny to touching on "deeper Christmas desires."
"We're utilizing one that came out this spring that was from last Christmas talking about a little boy asking Santa Claus to help his sister, who was being bullied," he says. "They run the gamut."
Speaking of Santa, Scribner says that - assuming he can fit it into his schedule - St. Nick could join several other recognizable holiday characters in making guest appearances throughout the evening.
"Home for the Holidays" is a long-standing tradition in many Scenic City households, but whether they're newcomers or stalwart supporters, Scribner says, he hopes that the memory of the warmth and joy of the evening persists well past the season.
"I want them coming out saying it was a wonderful addition to their holiday experience, two hours that made them enjoy life and put them in the mood to continue that good feeling forward," he says. "Christmas is one of those times when we have that sense of good will toward men, and the further you get from Christmas, the more it fades.
"We want to try to keep that meter at the high level all the way through the year instead of just at this time of year."
Contact Casey Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6205.
Follow him on Twitter at @Phillips CTFP.