(Above: Eugene’s own married-with-children vocalists Evynne and Peter Hollens headline the Eugene Symphony’s new New Year’s Eve at the Hult Center tradition, featuring music, dancing, merriment, and the countdown from 2022 to 2023.)

By Randi Bjornstad

It used to be Eugene Opera that music lovers flocked to on New Year’s Eve, but that longstanding tradition gave way during the pandemic years, and now the Eugene Symphony is stepping into the role with what it calls its “brand-new tradition of ringing in the new year.”

Brand new means the symphony playing a variety of music, from Broadway hits, Disney favorites, and movie themes to somewhat more traditional fare such as Strauss waltzes, plus George Gershwin’s classic jazzy orchestral composition, An American in Paris. What’s more, when the concert is over, the party is not. The Soreng Theater will be transformed into a jazz lounge, and the Hult Center lobby will become a dance hall until it’s time at midnight to mark the end of 2022 and toast the first hopeful moments of 2023.

Symphony conductor and music director Francesco Lecce-Chong and the orchestra will be performing, of course, and they will be joined by vocalists Peter and Evynne Hollens, longtime Eugene residents and performers who also enjoy large audiences for their vocalizations via YouTube.

Eugene mayor Lucy Vinis will be on hand to help count down the last moments of the old year and welcome the new.

In announcing the festivities, Lecce-Chong said his goal for the evening is “to make a big party happen at the Hult Center” and that he “can’t wait to party with everyone all the way to midnight,” complete with “a DJ and a dance floor.”

Scott Freck, the symphony’s executive director, agrees.

“It’s been quite some tie since the people of Eugene have had a fun, safe — and dare I say ‘classy’ — event to help ring in the new year,” Freck said. “The concert has something for everyone, and the Hult Center lobby is a great place to gather for a community party — it’s going to be the place to be.”

The schedule for New Year’s Eve at the Hult Center

7:30 p.m. — Doors open for photo opportunities, mingling, and signature cocktails for purchase

8:30 p.m. — Concert begins in Silva Concert Hall

10:30 p.m. — Dance floor, DJ, photo opportunities, and cocktails in the lobby; jazz lounge in the Soreng Theater with separate bar

11:30 p.m. — Countdown clock begins, with a balloon drop and confetti cannons at midnight

The concert program

  • Johann Strauss Jr.’s Champagne Polka and On the Beautiful Blue Danube Waltzes
  • Rodgers & Hammerstein’s My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music, sung by Evynne Hollens
  • Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Edelweiss from The Sound of Music, sung by Peter Hollens
  • Richard Rodgers’ Waltz from Carousel
  • Alan Menken & Howard Ashman’s Part of Your World from The Little Mermaid, sung by Evynne Hollens
  • Alan Menken & Howard Ashman’s Beauty and the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, sung by Evynne and Peter Hollens
  • Alan Menkin & David Zippel’s Go the Distance from Hercules, sung by Peter Hollens
  • Leonard Bernstein (arranged by Peress), Overture to West Side Story
  • George Gershwin’s An American in Paris
  • Stephen Sondheim’s Children Will Listen from Into the Woods, sung by Evynne Hollens
  • Benj Pasek, Justin Paul & Ryan Lewis’ Rewrite the Stars from The Greatest Showman, sung by Evynne and Peter Hollens
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda’s You’ll Be Back from Hamilton, sung by Peter Hollens

Tickets: $42 to $65, available at the Hult Center box office, 541-682-5000, or online at eugenesymphony.org or hultcenter.org