CSO to Celebrate 30th Holiday Pops with 'Greatest Hits' Program, 12/6-8

In celebration of the CSO's 30th year of presenting Holiday Pops, chorus master and conductor Ronald Jenkins, who conceived the program in 1983 and has since conducted all 90 performances, has selected a program of audience favorites from the past three decades. Jenkins and the musicians of the CSO will be joined by the Columbus Symphony Chorus, Columbus Children's Choir, dancers Justin Gibbs and Joanie Evans, children from BalletMet, narrator Steven Crawford, and of course, Mr. and Mrs. Claus for a heartwarming holiday spectacular and beloved annual Columbus tradition sure to kick off the season with a rousing dose of holiday spirit.

The Columbus Symphony presents Holiday Pops at the Ohio Theatre (39 E. State St.) on Friday, December 6, at 8pm; Saturday, December 7, at 8pm; and Sunday, December 8, at 3pm. Tickets are $25-$68 and can be purchased at the CAPA Ticket Center (39 E. State St.), all Ticketmaster outlets, and www.ticketmaster.com. To purchase tickets by phone, please call (614) 228-8600 or (800) 745-3000.

Over the past three decades, the CSO has commissioned works specifically for the Holiday Pops concerts, including the "Holiday Pops Overture," "A Musicological Journey Through the 12 Days of Christmas," and first performances with orchestra of Courtney's "Carols of the Night," a mystically beautiful setting of "O Holy Night," and "Silent Night." All will be included in this year's audience favorites program.

Justin Gibbs and Joanie Evans, dancers from Wright State University, will add the elegance of dance to Humperdinck's "Evening Prayer and Dream Pantomime" from Hansel and Gretel as well as Wilberg's "Ding, Dong Merrily on High."

One of the new works this year is a piece by James Stephenson titled "BasSOON it Will be Christmas." This brilliant and clever arrangement of carols and classical themes will highlight the talents of CSO bassoonists Betsy Sturdevant and Doug Fisher.

The Columbus Children's Choir will join the Columbus Symphony Chorus for the program, as well as spotlight performance of the popular Ukranian song, "Carol of the Bells." Audiences will also hear a lush arrangement of "White Christmas" as well as "We Need a Little Christmas" from the musical Mame.

Narrator and chorus member Steve Crawford will be joined by children from BalletMet for a re-enactment of "The Night Before Christmas" supported by the colorful orchestration of Randol Bass.

Holiday Pops will continue the tradition of holding a drawing for a young person to come forward and conduct the orchestra in Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride," always an audience favorite.

Santa and Mrs. Claus have again been invited, of course. They haven't disappointed Holiday Pops for 29 years, so their appearance for the 30th year celebration is expected!

Attendees can also get in on the holiday spirit by joining the CSO in supporting the 35th annual NBC4 Firefighters for Kids Toy Drive, a partnership of the Columbus Division of Fire and NBC4 (WCMH-TV). Each person that brings a new, unwrapped toy to any of the Holiday Pops concerts will receive a voucher for one free ticket to a 2014 Picnic with the Pops performance.

Photo credit: Randall L. Schieber

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