For more than a decade, the Iberia Cultural Resources Association’s annual “Sounds of the Season” concert performance by the Acadiana Symphony Orchestra has filled St. Peter’s Catholic Church with the joyous sound of holiday music.

Sunday’s holiday event is again expected to see a full house, and the ICRA is encouraging young families to bring their children for the 3 p.m. concert that again will feature a special appearance by Santa Claus.

“I have grandchildren, so I talk to my friends and tell them to bring their grandkids,” said ICRA symphony committee member Ann Allums.

The program starts with a performance of “Around the World at Christmastime,” followed by selections from Handel’s “Messiah” and selections from “The Nutcracker” by Tchaikovsky.

A selection of Russian Christmas music is followed by more popular holiday tunes including “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” with guest vocalist Miguel Ochoa, the “March of Toys” and “Cantique de Noel” performed by soprano Caitlin Ecuyer.

“Bugler’s Holiday,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Sleigh Ride” are followed by a singa-along of “The First Noel” and “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” and then a performance of “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Children are invited to join the symphony in singing at the end of the concert, and Santa then makes his appearance.

In addition to allowing the children to hear beautiful music and meet Santa, getting younger families to attend is a way to help ensure the association can continue to put the concerts on every year, said ICRA President Cathy Indest.

The association and the orchestra have four concerts each year in New Iberia at no cost to those attending, she said, and that’s because of the ICRA patrons who support the association at whatever level they can afford. Getting younger people to become patrons will help keep the association going strong, Indest said. This year ICRA is recognizing two of its major sponsors — The Daily Iberian and Acadiana Lifestyle, which have both been sponsors since the first Sounds of the Season concert in 2009.

“A big reason why the concerts have been so successful in New Iberia is the sponsors,” Indest said. “And the people of New Iberia have embraced each wonderful event.”

“We are able to do these at no cost to people attending because we have so many patrons,” Allums said.

Allums said St. Peter’s is a perfect location for the holiday concert for more than one reason.

“We pretty much fill up the church,” she said. “I think the church just lends to the Christmas spirit. The acoustics are really good. It’s just a nice atmosphere for it, and it starts out the Christmas season.”

“People in the community have told me they mark this concert on their calendar because they consider it the start of the holiday season,” Indest said. “After the concert, it’s the first patrons party of the season.”

Burt and Angela Cestia are hosting their first patrons party, Allums said, at Dr. Dauterive’s old home just down Main Street.

“I’m just excited that New Iberia has embraced the symphony and supports it,” Allums said.

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