Not-so ‘Silent Night’: CWSO fills tap house with Christmas cheer
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Town Run Tap House and Community Pub was filled with voices singing along with the Charles Washington Symphony Orchestra, as it performed renditions of several classic Christmas songs, including “Joy to the World,” “Up on the Housetop” and “The Holly and The Ivy,” during the CWSO’s Fourth Annual Holiday Play-a-Long concert on Dec. 22.
The concert — held for the first time this year in two locations, the tap house and Charles Washington Hall on Dec. 21 — has become a Christmas tradition many community members anticipate every year.
“I have come to every one of these every year — this is my favorite event of the Christmas season,” said John Meeker, of Shepherdstown, in between singing along with the orchestra. “These are my neighbors, and they play beautiful music, just for fun. Where else can you go have a beer and a great meal and sing along to this great music?”
According to Town Run Tap House and Community Pub Owner Todd Cotgreave, whenever the orchestra performs in his business, he can expect a good turnout. On Saturday night, Cotgreave’s staff was kept busy, filling orders for food and beverages for the packed-out audience.
“It’s a win-win for everyone,” Cotgreave said, mentioning the orchestra has been holding concerts at the tap house for about two-and-a-half years. “Our customers love it. And for people that didn’t know about the concert — if you go out for some drinks and a symphony orchestra just shows up, how cool is that?”
For many instrumentalists in the area, the concert is an opportunity to perform holiday music, while not having to commit to joining the orchestra long-term. The play-a-long is the one concert a year the group welcomes anyone from the community to show up and join in playing with the orchestra, without auditioning or practicing with the group.
While some of the musicians came to the concert alone, others brought their families and friends with them. According to one such family member, 11-year-old Sarah Garretson, attending the event was a way to support her mother and also enjoy hearing fun music performed.
“My favorite part is all of the instruments coming together, and forming something pretty — I really like all of the songs,” Garretson said, mentioning she did have a favorite piece from the concert. “Some of these tunes are really catchy, but I think the Grinch medley was my favorite.”
Although the concert has the same theme every year, CWSO founder and conductor Camilo Perez-Mejia said there is only one song that remains on the program every year.
“‘Silent Night’ — we do that every year. The last verse we always do a cappella,” Perez-Mejia said, mentioning the piece feels special to him every year. “It’s a moment when everyone participates, because everyone knows the song.”
For more information about the CWSO, visit cwsymph.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 304-358-0138.