Published: Nov. 14, 2019 By

Holiday Festival by the numbers (see text of story for details)

For almost three-quarters of a century, the Holiday Festival has thrilled Boulder audiences and ushered in the beginning of the holiday season. We looked into the history of the festival and found some fun facts that give some context to this merry tradition.

The name

Since the earliest archived performance in 1945, the College of Music’s beloved December tradition has gone by three different names: “The Festival of Christmas,” simply “The Festival,” and starting in the 1990s, the “Holiday Festival” as we know it today.

The performers and locales

Over the past several years, roughly 300 students have performed in the concert, making four different locations at Macky Auditorium into their own festive stages: The stage itself, the aisles, the second-floor loge and opera boxes, and the gallery entrance to the auditorium.

The program

They’ve performed works ranging from traditional Christmas carols to songs sung during Hanukkah to songs that mark the celebration of life Kwanzaa, but the most-performed work over the past 75 years has been “Silent Night” (followed closely by Handel’s “Messiah”!).