Arts & Culture

Celebrate the holiday season with Alltech’s 'Celebration of Song' featuring UK Opera Theatre

UK Opera Theatre Director Everett McCorvey conducts UK's acclaimed opera students at Alltech's holiday concert, "Celebration of Song." Photo provided.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 7, 2022) — The holiday spirit is alive and well at the Kentucky Horse Park, where two longtime holiday events offer up the brightest sights and sounds of the season.

Set against a backdrop of beautiful Christmas decor, Alltech’s annual "Celebration of Song" features performances of traditional carols and popular holiday music by the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre and winners of the Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition. The free concert will run 4 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, at Alltech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park.

"Celebration of Song" has been Alltech’s annual holiday gift to the community since 2006. Alltech founder Pearse Lyons was inspired to share the holiday spirit through song after experiencing a community Christmas festival while traveling in Brazil, said his wife, Deirdre Lyons, Alltech co-founder and director of corporate image, design and construction.

“Pearse always really loved to sing,” Lyons said. “He wanted to have this free event to share the joy of the season with everyone. Every year, 'Celebration of Song' gets more wonderful. It’s a beautiful event that we’ve been proud to sponsor for our community.”

The concert was held at The Square in downtown Lexington for many years, but it moved last year to Alltech Arena, which offers more space and free parking.

“We’re excited to celebrate the holidays with our community and with UK Opera Theatre, with whom we partner on several events, including our Vocal Scholarship Competition,” Lyons said. This collaboration has enabled more than 180 UK School of Music students to pursue their operatic ambitions and receive an education in the arts.

After the concert, attendees can double-down on holiday fun by heading over to the Kentucky Horse Park campground to view the Southern Lights Holiday Festival, a three-mile display of over a million lights. This year also marks the return of its Holiday Village, which features photos with Santa Claus, model trains, a petting zoo and more. Southern Lights, now in its 29th year, opens nightly at 5:30 p.m. from Nov. 25 through Dec. 31 — excluding Christmas Day.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $501 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.