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Hollyfest 'jingles' with festive spirit

November 24, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- The Maryland Theatre's annual Hollyfest variety show featured 11 musical acts and almost as many different versions of "Jingle Bells."

The classic carol took on a country bluegrass vibe in a medley performed by the Smithsburg High School Orchestra, a funky techno beat for a Dancin' Time Studios performance and a jazz-inspired treatment by the Smithsburg High School Jazz Ensemble, to great applause each time.

The free holiday show drew an audience of more than 800 people, more than any Hollyfest in recent years, said Jenni Hatcher, The Maryland Theatre's executive director.

"I think it's nice to have somewhere warm and festive to come in and see a great show," Hatcher said.

This year's Hollyfest included about double the number of acts that were in last year's, organizer Jennifer Kram said.

One of the new additions was a musical performance by the Hagerstown Children's Theatre travel troupe, a selective group of young actors from Washington County. That group performed a holiday medley that mixed traditional holiday songs with "Wizard of Oz" characters in a performance titled "The Witch's Killer Fruitcake."

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"Don't ask me why," director Teri Walker said.

When 8-year-old Abigail Nigh sang "Winter Wonderland," there was a chorus of "aww's" from the audience.

"I was looking forward to seeing her all night," said Ali Rodenbaugh, 14, of Hagerstown, a viola player in the Smithsburg High School Orchestra. "I think she was amazing."

The event was sponsored by the City of Hagerstown, Antietam Cable Television/Animal Planet and Holcim US.

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