“For the Portland Symphony, typically, December is the most wonderful time of the year,” writes Alice Keefe in Sunday’s (11/29) WMTW TV (Maine). “ ‘December is almost entirely dedicated to the ‘Magic of Christmas.’ Last year we had 14 performances,’ … said Portland Symphony Orchestra Music Director Eckart Preu. ‘Magic of Christmas’ draws a packed house; 80 musicians onstage along with a chorus, dancers, decorations and more…. This year, of course, will be much different. ‘We’re all encased in a plexiglass little house,’ … said principal percussionist Nancy Smith…. To meet CDC and state guidelines, the orchestra was condensed and spaced out, split into three groups each playing on a different day in front of a camera crew instead of a live audience. ‘There’s a string orchestra, a brass orchestra and then a mixed orchestra, plus the ‘Magic of Christmas’ chorus which sent in 72 videos remotely, which will then be edited in post-production…. Imagine it to be a very highly produced TV show,’ Preu said. During a year that looks and feels so different, … ‘I think music is just a perfect vehicle, and ‘Magic’ in particular, to kind of bring families together and celebrate together,’ Preu said.”