Festive entertainment to accompany MSU-Burns Fantasy of Lights

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Musicians and choirs, including the return of TUBACHRISTMAS, will add to the already festive atmosphere this season at the MSU-Burns Fantasy of Lights.

Last year, more than 120 tuba and euphonium players from across North Texas and southern Oklahoma gathered at the Fantasy of Lights for TUBACHRISTMAS, a national organization of localized concerts for musicians who play instruments in the tuba family, including euphoniums. MSU Texas Assistant Professor of Music Chris Vivio said that he will direct this year’s concert, which is at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, but that the local TUBACHRISTMAS gathering was begun by Terry Seigler, band director at Holliday Independent School District. All concerts will take place in front of the Hardin Administration Building.

A special street organ will serenade the Fantasy of Lights crowd at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21. MSU Texas carillonneur Jim Quashnock will have a 40-key street organ from Belgium. The organ was made in 1996 by the J. Verbeeck Organ-Manufacturer. J. Verbeeck has been making street organs since 1884.

Quashnock said that the street organ plays much like a player piano. “No electricity is used to operate the instrument,” Quashnock said. “All functions are controlled by air pressure, which is made when the organ grinder turns the crank.”

This instrument plays book-style music. The book, fan-folded and made of a heavy cardboard-like material, has holes punched in it, with each hole controlling one of the 40 keys. The book is pulled through a mechanism by the same cranking being done to generate air pressure. Small metal fingers read the holes as the book passes through, and the music is made. “Registration, the change in which set of pipes are played, is automatically changed by means of the book music, giving this organ a lot of dynamics for such a small instrument,” Quashnock said.

Musical performances scheduled include:

Thursday, Dec. 5

  • 6 p.m. Fain Elementary School Choir
  • 6:30 p.m. Burkburnett ISD’s Overton Ray Elementary School Choir
  • 7 p.m. Hirschi High School Jazz Band

Tuesday, Dec. 10

  • 6 p.m. Burkburnett ISD’s Tower Elementary Treble Clef Honor Choir
  • 6:30 p.m. McNiel Middle School Choir
  • 7 p.m. McNiel Middle School Choir
  • Saturday, Dec. 14 3 p.m. TUBACHRISTMAS
  • Tuesday, Dec. 17 6 p.m. Jefferson Elementary Choir
  • Saturday, Dec. 21 7 p.m. Jim Quashnock and his Belgian 40-key street organ.

Fantasy of Lights by the numbers

  • 200,000 – Estimated number of visitors to the Fantasy of Lights each year.
  • 44 – Number of displays.
  • 2,000 – Approximate number of man-hours involved in display refurbishment and maintenance, setup and take down, and coordination of the various aspects of the MSU-Burns Fantasy of Lights.
  • 20,000 – Number of lights outlining MSU’s Hardin Administration Building, Moffett Library, Bolin Science Hall, Central Plant, and D.L. Ligon Coliseum.

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