While Santa makes sure his reindeer are well-fed and in good flying shape, North Shore Philharmonic Orchestra Music Director Robert Lehmann is making sure his musicians are in tune to start of the Christmas season on Sunday, December 2 when the orchestra fills St. Anthony’s Church with the music of the season.
It’s time once again for Revere’s annual Robert A. Marra Memorial “Sounds of Christmas” Concert, a tradition that reaches back to 1976. The free concert gets underway at 4 p.m. at St. Anthony’s. The event is sponsored by Global Parnters LP, Comcast, Domenic A. Bocchino Insurance Agency, and Suffolk Downs.
Everyone attending the concert is requested to bring a generous donation of non-perishable food to benefit the Revere Food Pantry. Robert Marra Jr., co-chair of the event and son of the former NSPO concertmaster in whose memory the event is named, remarked about the importance of the food drive. “The St. Anthony’s Holy Name Society has organized the food drive in conjunction with the concert since 1990, and it has become one of the most critical providers for the Revere Food Pantry,” noted Marra. “It seems that demands on the Food Pantry grow every year, and so we have to ask that people coming to the concert increase their generosity every year.”
Co-chair Dom Bocchino, proprietor of one of the concert sponsors, concurred. “We’re thrilled about the concert, and the great feeling of holiday spirit that fills the church. Everyone loves the music and the festive atmosphere, but when you think about how people in our community are hurting, hungry, it makes the concert so much more a symbol of the Christmas season,” said Bocchino.
Suffolk Downs enlisted as a concert sponsor for the first time this year. “We’re excited to have all local businesses as sponsors,” noted Marra. “It makes this really a community event.” Global and Suffolk Downs play a key role in the Revere economy, and Bocchino Insurance has been a mainstay for over 20 years. Marra acknowledged that while Comcast, itself, is not a local business, he pointed out how Revere’s cable TV provider has been involved with the concert from its inception. “So, when it comes to the concert, Comcast, as far as we’re concerned, is local!”
The concert is named after former Revere High School teacher and NSPO violinist Robert Marra, one of the orchestra’s founding members. A lifelong resident of Revere who died in 2002 at age 81, he was influential in bringing the Orchestra to Revere for the holiday season in 1976. “He loved playing in his Church, before his friends and acquaintances in his hometown,” said Marra of his father. “It means a lot to our family now to have this concert named in his memory, since it embodies so many of his most cherished aspects of his life: the North Shore Philharmonic, St. Anthony’s Church, and his home City of Revere.”
Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo will make his orchestra debut with the Orchestra when he narrates Clement Clarke Moore’s “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”