Several central Ohioans will perform in this year's New Albany Symphony Orchestra Holiday Spectacular.

Several central Ohioans will perform in this year's New Albany Symphony Orchestra Holiday Spectacular.

The holiday concert will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts, 100 W. Dublin-Granville Road in New Albany.

Performers include two high school students who won the symphony orchestra's 2012-13 student concerto competition, one of which is a Columbus Academy vocalist from Westerville. Singers in a Columbus-based chorus and dancers from a Gahanna studio also will be featured.

Heather Garner, director of the symphony orchestra, said the student concerto competition attracted many talented performers.

"It was a great competition," Garner said. "We are really getting some talented students. All (of them) this year were prepared to play with an orchestra. It was hard to choose."

The first-place winner is violinist Mariko Shimasaki of Springfield. Shimasaki, 17, is a senior at Kenton Ridge High School who began playing the violin at age 5 and plans to attend the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She serves as concertmaster of the Starling Chamber Orchestra as part of her pre-college work.

She will perform Gypsy Airs by Pablo de Sarasate.

The second-place winner is mezzo-soprano Michaella Cipriani, 17, of Westerville. She is a senior at Columbus Academy in Gahanna and a student of Robin Rice and Edward Bak, both of whom work for the Ohio State University. She is a fellowship student at the Chamber Music Connection and performs as a soloist with Opera Project Columbus and the Opera Columbus Chorus.

She will perform Que fais-tu, blanche tourterelle? from Charles Gounod's opera Romeo et Juliette.

Garner said Shimasaki and Cipriani should relate well to the audience.

"It's nice for (the children) to see such talented performers and it's a nice opportunity for families to hear a young performer," Garner said.

For Cipriani, who's interested in opera, the Holiday Spectacular will provide her with more performance experience.

"I usually just perform with piano," she said. "Singing with an orchestra, communicating with a conductor and cutting through that much sound is a good thing for me to get practice with since I'm interested in performing in operas, but it's not an opportunity that comes around often.

"I figure I might also get some new ideas about how to interpret my piece by performing it with a brand-new group of people. Also, since I'm using this piece for college auditions, it's good for me to get as much practice singing it front of an audience as I can."

Cipriani said she plans to study science and music in college.

The Holiday Spectacular also will feature ballroom dancers from Diamond Dance and Fitness in Gahanna and singers from the Capriccio Vocal Ensemble, a 70-member Columbus-based group that includes performers from Franklin County and surrounding areas. Garner said the singers will perform well-known Christmas songs and portions of George Frideric Handel's Messiah.

The McCoy center lobby will be full before, during and after the Holiday Spectacular, Garner said.

Representatives of GnG Music Instruction of New Albany will show children how to play small percussive instruments and drums and teach them about rhythm and beats, said Pamela Villarreal, GnG's director of operations.

The Holiday Spectacular also doubles as a fundraiser for the symphony orchestra. Garner said the annual gift-box fundraiser held in the McCoy center lobby typically raises $5,000.

Tickets are $12 to $20 in advance, or $14 to $22 Dec. 16. Tickets may be purchased at the McCoy center box office, which is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, by phone at 614 245-4701. Tickets will be on sale up to one hour before the show.