The (virtual) Night Before Christmas 2020 feat. John Lithgow!

The Chelsea Symphony's beloved annual holiday tradition, Aaron Dai's The Night Before Christmas, was virtually premiered on Stars in the House with Seth Rudetsky & James Wesley on December 11, 2020.

The Night Before Christmas with John Lithgow

CLICK HERE to watch the socially distanced performance of Aaron Dai's The Night Before Christmas with conductor and video creative lead Reuben Blundell and special guest narrator JOHN LITHGOW.


Featured on Stars in the House with Seth Rudetsky & James Wesley

And CLICK HERE to watch the full Stars in the House with Seth Rudetsky & James Wesley episode. Also on the show are past Night Before Christmas narrators BD WONG (2014) and CAROLINE RHEA (2016) saying just the nicest things about TCS (thanks BD and Caroline)!

Appearing on behalf of the orchestra are Resident Composer/Pianist (and composer of The Night Before Christmas) Aaron Dai, President/Executive Director/Hornist Emily Wong, co-Artistic Director/Conductor/Violinist Mark Seto, and co-Artistic Director/Conductor/Hornist Matthew Aubin.

Also featured on this episode of Stars in the House was a special live-from-their-living-room performance of William Kroll's Banjo and Fiddle rounds out the evening, played by TCS members Nicholas Pappone, violin, and Candace Chien, piano - also known as the Alighiero Duo.


A note on The Night Before Christmas:

When Clement Clarke Moore wrote the poem A Visit from St. Nicholas—also known as The Night Before Christmas—in 1822, his large country estate called “Chelsea” extended all the way from what is now 18th Street to 24th Street, and from 8th Avenue to 10th Avenue in Manhattan. A wealthy gentleman and devout Episcopalian, Moore lived with his family atop an enormous hill (now long gone) near the corner of 21st Street and 9th Avenue. Today’s Chelsea district takes its name directly from Moore’s estate, and The Chelsea Symphony therefore has a kind of native connection to the man and his legacy.

Originally written for Moore’s children, A Visit from St. Nicholas is primarily responsible for establishing the contemporary American conception of Santa Claus, including his appearance, the night he visits, his method of transportation, the number and names of his reindeer, and his act of bringing toys to children. Before the poem, American ideas about St. Nicholas and other Christmastide visitors varied tremendously, with significant differences between ethnicities, religions, and social classes. Moore’s vision of Santa Claus created a happy medium among these often competing ideas—a quintessentially American tradition in and of itself.

—Aaron Dai