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The music ensembles in the Marshall University Department of Music will combine forces for a show at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

HUNTINGTON — The various music ensembles found in the Marshall University Department of Music will combine forces for a show on Monday called Holiday Extravaganza.

Happening at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 29, at the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse on the Marshall University campus, the public is welcome to enjoy this gift from the Marshall School of Music and the College of Arts and Media.

Tickets are $20 at the door, $15 for seniors, $5 for children 12 and younger and $5 for MU students with an ID. The Joan C. Edwards Playhouse is located in the 1600 block of 5th Avenue.

Martin Saunders, the director of the Marshall School of Music as well as a professor of trumpet, is the producer of the Holiday Extravaganza Show. Saunders is used to such a role, having been involved with various national trumpet competitions and festivals as well as spending seven years with the Air Force band program in Nebraska before joining Marshall in 2002. He is also the lead trumpet player for Landau Murphy Jr.

“This show will feature several of our larger music groups including our University Chorus, the Marshall University Symphony Orchestra, our Wind Symphony Ensemble and several smaller groups as well as including university jazz groups, combos, our a capella vocal group 3rd Avenue and more,” Saunders said. “It is going to be a smorgasbord of music. What we wanted to do with this show is to offer something to the Huntington community and surrounding areas. Hopefully, we want to develop this show idea into something more as we go, but as a starting point, we wanted our students to be involved with a large production right after the Thanksgiving holiday.”

Saunders has taken a route of delegation per this show, allowing the leader of each ensemble to choose the music that fits their talent the best. Once that is figured out, Saunders, with the help of lighting and stage crews, keeps the show snappy while using many moving parts.

“The idea of the show is to make it a straight-through concert,” Saunders said. “Basically, that means there won’t be any downtime. The performances will be bounced back and forth in different locations on the stage of the playhouse. There will be music being handed off constantly from group to group, either in front of the curtain or behind the curtain. The stage crews that regularly run the shows that are presented at the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse have graciously helped us on this show.”

While the student musicians will have Thanksgiving off and will be traveling to see family, all must be back in town for Sunday’s dress rehearsal.

“Everybody seems to be ready with their various segments of the music, so it is just a matter of putting it all together onstage and working out the transitions,” Saunders said. “The students are making a bit of a sacrifice as we are asking them to be back in time for dress rehearsal; yes, this show is a bit of a big undertaking, but I am very passionate about the Marshall School of Music when it comes to getting the word about what we do well out there, while giving back to the community as much as we can.”

Saunders became the director of music in 2020, and his goals in that position are to make the department better and enhance the experience of the students while at Marshall.

“I’m not only in charge of what goes on in the Marshall School of Music, I’m also the representative of the music found in the College of Arts and Media. Part of my job is to do all I can to support our faculty and students,” he said.

More information can be found at or by calling 304-696-2787.

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