It’s one of the Ohio Valley’s signature holiday events.
Symphony On Ice brings together instrumental musicians and young vocalists with ice skaters, both professional and amateur.
The result is a night of beauty and celebration that sends the audience out, filled with holiday spirit.
It’s an event that started, then stopped, then was brought back again.
“It went for 12 years and then we had an three-year hiatus and this year now is the third year that we’ve returned,” said Bruce Wheeler, executive director of the Wheeling Symphony.
“When we first started out, it was sort of a fluke,” recalled Kim Sailer, ice coordinator. “It was like, let’s try this and see if it works out!”
It was a first for everyone.
The arena management was forging new territory.
Young skaters in the Wheeling Figure Skating Club were suddenly in the spotlight.
Professional skaters were also brought in to perform.
Decorators were called upon to transform the arena.
Even the Wheeling Nailers took part, with their own athletic brand of skating.
And the 300-voice chorus of area middle and high school students was brought in to perform with the symphony.
Bruce Wheeler got involved in 2000 as production manager, and was surprised at how complex it was.
“From the rehearsal with skaters skating to live music which is a little different for them,” Wheeler explained. “Most of the time, it’s recorded music, so there are tempo changes and things that we have to work out during a rehearsal. And there’s only one rehearsal before we get to the show.”
They say some things didn’t work.
So they went in another direction, becoming more theatrical, more entertaining.
Other things not only worked, but were magical.
Like Silent Night.
“Which is the last number in the show,” noted Kim Sailer. “And there is this wonderful calm and beauty about it and it’s a great way to cap the show. That has been there every year.”
Symphony On Ice is set for 7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 5, at Wesbanco Arena.