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November 28, 2012

It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas!

Warren Concert Band, GM Employees’ Chorus prep for Holiday Concert

By Brian Louwers
C & G Staff Writer

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The Warren Concert Band will perform a Holiday Concert with the General Motors Employees’ Chorus on Dec. 2.

WARREN — You can definitely enjoy one without the other, but together they’re better.

And what better time to put them together — the Warren Concert Band and the General Motors Employees’ Chorus — than the holidays?

It’s a natural fit, and it’ll happen for a 19th consecutive year Dec. 2, at the Warren Woods Community Theatre.

“What brought it about, a long time ago, was the desire to expand the concert to have more, different types of music,” said Bob Hoy, director of public relations for the Warren Concert Band and a section leader who plays alto saxophone. “Obviously, the band doesn’t include singers. We were missing the whole vocal side of Christmas without the chorus.

“As you know, singing is very important to the tradition,” Hoy added. “The chorus was invited many moons ago, and it’s become a very popular and enduring tradition for us.”

Hoy said the Warren Concert Band boasts about 75 members from all walks of life. Most of the musicians have played together for 10 years or more. They do four concerts a year, including the holiday concert. A smaller version of the band will also perform at Warren’s Tree Lighting Dec. 1.

Joe Zwolinski, president of the General Motors Employees’ Chorus, said the groups came together for their first concert in 1993.

The chorus is based in Warren, rehearses at Lincoln High School and was formed as an internal employee activity in 1933 by former GM President William Knudson.

The chorus morphed into more of a community group when GM faced cuts in 1978, but it still kept its name and still supports the automaker. About a half-dozen GM employees and about that many GM retirees still sing in the 50-member chorus. 

“Joining up with the Warren Concert Band was something we tried once a long time ago. We really liked it a lot,” Zwolinski said. “It gives us a chance to connect with an audience that goes for the more instrumental music.”

Zwolinski said the chorus will be busy beginning Nov. 3. They’ll do 12 concerts in three weeks, including the Holiday Concert with the Warren Concert Band, along with various performances at area churches and senior centers.

The Warren Concert Band and General Motors Employees’ Chorus Holiday Concert will take place at 2 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Warren Woods Community Theatre, 13400 12 Mile Road.

The program for the holiday concert will include Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus,” Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” music from “The Polar Express,” a Mariah Carey Christmas medley, Blues singer “Blind” Willie Johnson’s “Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning,” and a classic Christmas carol sing-along with the audience.

Tickets are available at the door and are $10 for adults, $5 for students in high school and free for younger children with a paid adult.

For more information, call (586) 709-8192 or visit www.warrenconcertband.com

For more information about the General Motors Employees’ Chorus, visit www.gmchorus.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Brian Louwers at brianlouwers@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1089.