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GR Symphony Kicks Off the Holidays with ‘The Snowman’ Film and Music on November 11th

Back by popular demand, The Snowman, the classic animated film, returns to the Grand Rapids Symphony stage to inspire children of all ages and open the 2017-18 DTE Energy Foundation Family Series.

The hour-long concert, which sold out in 2015 and 2016, features the well-known animated film, projected onto a 40-foot screen while accompanied by the musical score performed live.

Hailed as “iconic and ethereal” The Snowman wordlessly tells the story of a boy who builds a snowman who comes to life and leads him on a wide-eyed and wondrous adventure to meet Father Christmas.

Led by Associate Conductor John Varineau, the Grand Rapids Symphony will perform the magical score by Howard Blake as the snowman and his young friend adventure through darkened woods, over rolling mountains, and above quiet ocean waves in the film that garnered an Academy Award nomination in 1982.

With plucky violins and xylophones for mischief, reflective piano melodies for soft, falling snow, and deep bass notes for night-time flight – is an invitation for children ages 8 to 13 and adults to savor the simple joys of the holiday season.

The DTE Energy Foundation Family Series program will be at 3 p.m., Saturday, November 11, in DeVos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe Ave. NW. The program features other popular holiday melodies including Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” and music from “The Polar Express,” along with the performance of The Snowman.

Come early at 2 p.m. for pre-concert activities sponsored by Clark Hill PLC. Children can experience the joy of making music with an instrument petting zoo and keep their creative juices flowing with crafts inspired by the playful snowman they’ll soon see in the show.

Originally published in 1978 by famed children’s illustrator Raymond Briggs, The Snowman has become one of the world’s most popular children’s books, selling in excess of 8.5 million copies worldwide, with translations into 15 different languages.

Adapted for screen by producer John Coates, the 30-minute film first premiered in the United Kingdom in 1982 on a British public television station. The film quickly became a beloved staple of the Christmas season in Great Britain, and later found a home in America, with the help of an introduction by rock icon David Bowe. The film has since been broadcast on a global scale, and garnered an Academy Award nomination and a BAFTA TV award.

First performed by Peter Auty, a choirboy at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, the song, “Walking in the Air,” provides the only dialogue in the otherwise wordless film. The startlingly beautiful melody with an almost haunting orchestration will be performed by singers of the Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus’s select ensemble, Mandala.