For Les Reagan, the executive director of the Augusta Opera, The Edward Bradberry Holiday Concert at St. Paul's Episcopal Church is as much about staying the same as trying new things.
The concert, now in its 22nd year, features local musicians and professional soloists performing seasonal music. In his first year as executive director, Mr. Reagan said he has already learned that you approach the performance with great caution.
"The comments I have heard from patrons are questions of are we doing this number or that number," he said. "And we have added some new things this year and there are some things we aren't doing. That's the thing that's interesting about this show. People don't want us to change it very much."
What will remain the same is the intimate setting, the interaction between the chorus, instrumentalists, soloists and Augusta Children's Chorale and the high standards that were set initially by Edward Bradberry and are maintained by artistic director Mark Flynt.
"He has worked with most of these soloists before, or worked with their agents," Mr. Reagan said. "He has watched and listened and knows that they can perform as a concert artist and an opera artist. He sees that they are able to sing not just as a character, but as themselves."
Mr. Reagan said the ability to connect not as a grand opera personality but a human being serving a song is important, particularly within the confines of Saint Paul's. He said as always, the goal is for people to commune with the music.
"That's important," he said, "because for a lot of people, this starts Christmas."
Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT: The Edward Bradberry Holiday Concert, presented by the Augusta Opera
WHEN: 3:30 and 6 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 605 Seventh St.
COST: $25, holiday tea (5 p.m.) $10; call 826-4710