One of the keys to a successful holiday concert, Steve Matthes believes, is finding a good balance between familiar works and pieces that will be relatively new to audiences.
And Matthes, the longtime director of the Corvallis Community Band, has plenty of experience to draw upon: He's wielded the baton for many of the band's holiday shows.
So Sunday afternoon's concert of the Community Band blends well-known pieces like Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride" with works that don't often get performed during the holidays. The free concert begins at 1:30 p.m. in the Community Center of the First United Methodist Church at the corner of 12th Street and Jackson Avenue in Corvallis.
One of those lesser-known pieces, a shortened version of Julius Fucik's waltz "Winter Storms," will include performances by dancers from the Corvallis Academy of Ballet and the Willamette Apprentice Ballet.
"It's a great piece of music," Matthes said. "It has that winter storm character in place."
It also, he said, offers challenges to the band members: "There are some very difficult spots in it," he said.
The dancers also are on tap to perform to "Sleigh Ride" and "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" by Leon Jessel.
Matthes will share conducting duties for this concert with Robyn Chapman, the band director at Linus Pauling Middle School in Corvallis. Chapman is one of the candidates to take over the Community Band after Matthes' planned retirement.
Chapman will conduct three medleys, one drawn from "A Charlie Brown Christmas," one from the movie "The Polar Express" and the third, a collection of Hanukkah songs.
Matthes also has planned some other unusual selections as part of the Sunday concert, including a medley of Christmas-themed country songs. Those selections include tunes like Dolly Parton's "A Tennessee Christmas," Eddy Arnold's "Pretty Paper," Elvis Presley's "Blue Christmas" and the Bill Haley version of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."
"It's a good arrangement," Matthes said of the medley, even if the Elvis and Haley selections may veer a little closer to rock 'n' roll than country.