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If It Sounds Good, It Is Good! | December 2017


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December is the most wonderful time of the year. For performers it is also one of the busiest times of year, but there is nothing that brings all of us on stage more joy than sharing the spirit of the season with all of you. Holiday Pops is personally so very special to me, and I am extra excited this year as we return to Music Hall, with even more sparkle, warmth and merriment that comes with our splendid new renovation.

As always, we’ll be pulling out everyone’s favorites from our three beloved holiday recordings: Christmas with the Pops, Christmastime is Here and Home for the Holidays, as well as many new arrangements that will surely delight. We also have a couple wonderful friends joining us for their Holiday Pops debuts, including the incredible Liz Callaway. You might recognize her pure sweet sound as the voice of title character in the Disney animated film Anastasia. She is also a certified Broadway star since her stage debut in Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along. Also joining us is Denzal Sinclaire, who I’ve worked with frequently in Canada, and who I’m thrilled to introduce to our Pops fans in the Queen City. His velvety baritone voice might remind you of Nat “King” Cole, but Denzal’s unique vocal stylings are all his own. 

Of course it wouldn’t be Holiday Pops without a little Cincinnati style. The Cincinnati Pops Chorale— composed of members of the May Festival Chorus and Classical Roots Community Mass Choir—will be raising the roof. And no, that tapping you hear is not reindeer prancing atop Music Hall; it’s The Studio for Dance adding their dazzling choreography and infectious enthusiasm to every performance. This year they’ll include the epic showstopper “The 12 Daze of Cincinnati Christmas,” celebrating everything we love about being home for the holidays, and you can bet they will have a few extra surprises to boot.

We’ll keep the party rolling during the last week of December, when we enter the wizarding world of Harry Potter, with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone projected above the stage, with the entire orchestral soundtrack performed LIVE. The John Williams score is a wonderment, and along with the dialogue and sound effect tracks perfectly blended in, it is the most immersive cinematic performance you will ever experience. The magical themes that Williams created in the film bring some of the world’s favorite characters, enchanted animals, half-giants and nemeses to life. My colleague Justin Freer will be doing the conducting honors for this one—his ability to synch the live
orchestra with the film is breathtaking.


What are you doing New Year’s Eve? I’m ringing in 2018 in style, with the stunning vocalist, Morgan James and The Pops at Music Hall! Morgan burst onto the scene a few years ago as one of the original singers for Postmodern Jukebox, and her solo career has been skyrocketing ever since. Her soulful vocals will bring a jazzy twist to our New Year’s celebration, including sultry standards and dazzling vocal pyrotechnics. It is the classiest party in town!

All of us at the Cincinnati Pops are touched that you have joined us for the joy, beauty and good cheer that music-making brings to the holiday season. Thankyou, and enjoy!

JMR