VERY MERRY POPS, HANDEL'S MESSIAH and More Set for Houston Symphony During the Holidays

The musicians of the Houston Symphony are spreading holiday cheer during this most wonderful -- and busy -- time of year. POPS, family and classical concerts will transpire on the Jones Hall stage in the name of holiday celebration from December 10-20, including the annual traditions Very Merry Pops and Handel's Messiah, as well as A Free Holiday Concert and a special presentation of A Frosty & Frozen Christmas for the little ones.

In its 15th year, the annual Very Merry Pops concert has become an audience favorite under the direction of Principal POPS Conductor Michael Krajewski, who will lead traditional yuletide tunes as well as classics with a twist, such as "Wassail, Wassail All Over the Tuba" and "Jingle Bells Forever," at 8 p.m. on December 11 and 12 and 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. on December 13. The Houston Symphony Chorus, under the leadership of Betsy Cook Weber, will also appear on the concert. The chorus and orchestra will be joined by guest vocalist Reginald Smith Jr., a recent graduate of the Houston Grand Opera Studio and Grand Finals winner of the 2015 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

Also on December 12, at 10 and 11:30 a.m., families are encouraged to attend A Frosty & Frozen Christmas. Guest conductor Ming Luke will lead the orchestra in a musical display of holiday magic with songs including "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Frosty the Snowman," and everyone's Frozen favorite, "Let It Go." Santa Claus himself is also expected to travel from the North Pole to make a stage appearance.

Bringing audiences right up to the week of Christmas, Handel's Messiah will be performed at 8 p.m. on December 18 and 19 and at 2:30 p.m. on December 20. The timeless fixture of holiday music that tells the story of the first Christmas will be led by guest conductor Nicholas Kraemer. Guest soloists will be soprano Shannon Mercer, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Rivera, tenor Matthew Plenk and bass Jonathan Lasch, the latter three of whom will be making their Houston Symphony debuts.

Two additional presentations of Handel's Messiah will be performed at 8 p.m. on December 17 at Sugar Land Baptist Church and 7:30 p.m. on December 20 at First Methodist Church.

All concerts will take place at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana Street in Houston's Theater District, unless otherwise noted. For tickets and information, call (713) 224-7575 or visit www.houstonsymphony.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center in Jones Hall (Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). All programs and artists are subject to change.



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