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    Stringle Bells (01:00:11)

    Sarah Willis Presentation

This year’s Family Christmas Concert featured the most numerous section of the Berliner Philharmoniker: The strings, represented by violinists, violists and double bass players – only the cellists had the day off. Instead, the orchestra’s percussionists were there with their impressive collection of bells. A colleague from the brass section was also there too: Horn player Sarah Willis presented the entertaining and educational concert with great skill, charm and wit.

The string players demonstrated what “col legno” sounds like, how different a note sounds with and without vibrato, and how to make a remarkably realistic raindrop sound. The same four-part piece by Telemann was presented firstly by the radiant violins, then by the more melancholy violas, and finally by the rumbling double basses.

Did you know that there are two pairs of siblings among the Philharmoniker’s strings, or what the musicians hide in their cases apart from their instruments? Sarah Willis shows us. What she doesn’t see is the celebrity guest who has been smuggled onto the stage in the huge double bass case, and who flits about the stage to the delight of the audience: Santa Claus himself!

As usual, the children in the audience were expected not only to listen, but also to take part. Towards the end of the concert, the stage was invaded by children from the Berlin Charlie Chaplin Elementary School as dancing snowflakes, and in a grand finale, the whole audience brought the Philharmoniker’s Christmas party to a close with a choreographed rendition of Jingle Bells.