Touring annually in November and December, ‘ROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE is PRO’s stylish and warm-hearted tribute to America’s Holiday musical traditions. This colorful program features favorite selections from the theaters, ballrooms, grand mansions, and humble hearthsides of the Victorian era. Familiar Christmas songs and carols are heard from their original 19th century scores, along with novelties (including a ragtime version of the Nutcracker Suite!) and sparkling instrumental and vocal soloists. As a finale, the Orchestra accompanies a screening of one of the world’s first Christmas movies – a 1905 Thomas Edison production. ‘ROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE is a unique event that will delight and cheer your audiences well into the New Year.
The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra (PRO) is the world’s only year-round, professional ensemble re-creating “America’s Original Music” – the syncopated sounds of early musical theater, silent cinema, and vintage dance. The PRO came into being as the result of Rick Benjamin’s 1985 discovery of thousands of turn-of-the-century orchestra scores once belonging to Victrola recording star Arthur Pryor. In 1988 the Orchestra made its formal debut at Alice Tully Hall – the first concert ever presented at Lincoln Center by such an ensemble. Since then, PRO has appeared at hundreds of leading arts venues, including the Ravinia Festival, the Smithsonian Institution, Chautauqua, the Brucknerhaus (Austria), New York’s 92nd Street Y, and the American Dance Festival. In 1999, PRO’s music inspired master choreographer Paul Taylor’s new dance Oh You Kid!, which was premiered at The Kennedy Center by the Paul Taylor Dance Company and the Orchestra. In June 2003, the PRO presented the world premiere of Rick Benjamin’s new reconstruction of Scott Joplin’s opera Treemonisha at San Francisco’s Stern Grove Festival. In 2005 and again in 2006, Paragon had the honor of being presented in Minneapolis’s Orchestra Hall as guests of the Minnesota Orchestra.
Over the years, Paragon Ragtime Orchestra has been heard on the soundtracks of several motion pictures and television programs. The Orchestra’s audio and video recordings have been widely praised and considered instrumental in rekindling interest in America’s rich traditions of theater, cinema, and dance orchestral music