The Susquehanna Symphony Orchestra presents its popular holiday concert Saturday, Dec. 3. This year, it's "Holiday Melodies and Peanuts" — the Charles Schulz kind.

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at Bel Air High School, 100 Heighe St. in Bel Air. Tickets, $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and $10 for students, are available at Preston's and Music Land in Bel Air or at the door. Or visit and click on Ticket Leap.


According to SSO founder and director Sheldon Bair, the concert will contain many surprises.

"The concert will start with local composer Theldon Myers' 'Music for a Special Season,' filled with holiday tunes such as Coventry Carol, My Dancing Day and Wassail," he said.

"The special guest soloist for this concert will be Harford Community College piano faculty member Joseph Satava. He will play movements from William Grant Still's 'Christmas in the Western World' in its instrumentation for strings and piano. It uses Christmas melodies from both North and South America and is sure to delight the audience with both well-known carols and carols that should be better known."

Satava, who holds a bachelor's degree and doctorate from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University as well as a master's degree from the Julliard School, has been involved with music festivals in the U.S., Canada, France and Spain. He won second price in the 2008 Bradshaw and Buono International Piano Competition and was awarded a 2011 Maryland State Arts Council individual artist award in classical music and solo performance.

He is featured in "Peanuts Gallery" for piano and orchestra by American composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.

"Zwilich became friends with Peanuts creator Charles Schulz in the 1990s and decided to write a piece based on his famous Peanuts characters," said Bair. "Each character has his or her own movement. It is a fun-filled work that the audience is sure to enjoy."

Included are Schroeder's Beethoven Fantasy, Lullaby for Linus, Snoopy Does the Samba, Charlie Brown's Lament, Lucy Freaks Out, and Peppermint Patty & Marcie Lead the Parade.

At intermission, a live auction will be held for items such as a package including season tickets, conducting lessons, and the opportunity to conduct at the June 2012 concert. After intermission, the orchestra will perform SSO trombonist Donald Raff's humorous arrangement of "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers," a standard of the Radio City Rockettes Christmas show. Sir Malcolm Arnold's 'The Holly and the Ivy,' which includes the title carol and The First Noel, follows.

The premiere of Ohio composer Jesse Ayers' "Fire of the Living God" gets prime treatment from the brass and percussion sections of the SSO. Bair describes it as "a powerful surround-sound work which includes several surprises."

The concert will end with the traditional SSO Christmas Sing-Along arranged by Sheldon Bair.

On sale in the lobby will be the SSO's 35th anniversary CD.