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From Holiday Classics to Christmas in the 1940s

Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble Presents Holiday Classics

Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble at North Carolina Museum of History

Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble at North Carolina Museum of History

Get into a seasonal mood when the Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble takes the stage. With saxophones, trumpets, trombones, bass and other instruments, this 20-member group of talented high-school musicians will present a free concert on Sunday, Dec. 6, at 3 p.m. at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. Hear a variety of holiday classics during this performance in Daniels Auditorium. Parking is free on weekends.

John V. Brown Jr., director of jazz ensembles and jazz studies at Duke University, leads this group of skilled musicians from local high schools. The Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble is part of the Philharmonic Association, an organization that fosters the love of great music in young musicians.

Program Highlights on Christmas in the 1940s

On Christmas morning in 1946, thousands of scampering feet raced through hallways to discover new toys as shiny as tinsel on the trees. Bicycles, trains and wagons once again appeared under the tree. World War II had ended, metal was available, and the holidays were getting back to normal.

Mechanical toys from the 1940s.

Mechanical toys from the 1940s.

However, from 1941 to 1945, holiday celebrations were a different story. Families did their best to continue their Christmas traditions in the midst of difficult times and personal sacrifices. Like everyone else, North Carolinians adapted during the war years. Curator Sandy Webbere will explain how during History à la Carte: Christmas in the 1940s on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at 12:10 p.m. at the N.C. Museum of History. Bring your lunch to this informal lunchtime program, and step back to this memorable decade. Beverages are provided.

During the war, the holidays brought dreams of peace and wishes for normalcy. Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” reflected what families wanted most — to see their loved ones at home. To bring soldiers on the European war front a little comfort from home, many Tar Heels sent holiday packages filled with Christmas cards, wool scarves, magazines, cigarettes and other items.

Christmas cards from the 1940s.

Christmas cards from the 1940s.

On the home front, shortages and rationing called for creativity during the holidays. Gone were the metal bicycles and doll carriages, which were substituted with wooden or paper toys. Rations on butter, sugar and other foods meant traditional recipes were adapted or put aside. Billowing holiday fashions were streamlined to save fabric.

Drop by the museum to hear more about the holidays and the resilience of North Carolinians during the 1940s.

For more information, call 919-807-7900 or access ncmuseumofhistory.org or Facebook.

The N.C. Museum of History’s hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free. The museum is part of the Division of State History Museums, Office of Archives and History, an agency of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. The department’s Web site is www.ncculture.com.

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