Holiday Pops: Give the gift of music

By Anne E. O’Keefe121615Holiday Pops 226
Rockford Area Arts Council

The music of the holiday season is only made more enchanting and magical by Rockford’s largest holiday tradition with the Rockford Symphony Orchestra’s annual Holiday Pops concerts. Performances are Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Coronado Performing Arts Center.

Marti Bein will direct the 60 member MPAC Mendelssohn Chorale, including its performing 12-member ensemble, Il Piccolo. The two groups are comprised of more than 140 vocalists and musicians performing songs like Sleigh Ride, Bell Carols, Lullaby Carols, Christmas at the Movies, The Twelve Days of Christmas, and the RSO traditional carol singalong. These talented artists make all of us sound good so please raise your voice in song.

RSO’s Music Director, Steven Larsen, celebrates his 25th season with the symphony this year. The RSO is made up of 85 professional musicians from around the region and will perform classics and pops series concerts for more than 40,000 people this year.

The RSO works very hard to ensure a new thrill for its faithful audience. New to the program this year, selections include; The Winter’s Night, Listen, Children, Hear the Angels Sing and more.

The RSO’s Holiday Pops began in 1992 with Artistic Director Steven Larsen. Larsen loves the excitement around performing live and the exhilaration that the audience finds. “It’s like watching a tight rope act, anything can go wrong,” Larsen said.

Previous Holiday Pops concerts have been accompanied with decorative snowfall, plenty of holiday lights and even visits from Santa Claus. There will a few surprises for new and returning audience members alike.

In January you can beat the winter blues with Chamber Orchestra Concerts. Concerts are Friday, January 15 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2821 N. Bell School Rd., at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, January 17 at 2 p.m. at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 3300 Rural St. The guest artist for January’s SoundBites will be announced shortly. This free event, held at Mauh-Nah-Tee-See Country Club, 5151 Guilford Rd., is an informal and enlightening discussion with the guest artists appearing with the RSO on Classics Series concerts and Music Director Steven Larsen. The conversations usually last approximately 60 minutes, but participants may come and go as they please. Guests are welcome to order lunch from the menu. RSVPs are recommended.

The remainder of the season includes RSO Artists in the Spotlight, Saturday, February 13, 2016; Chamber Concerts again March 11 and 13; The Magical Music of Disney, Saturday, April 2, 2016 and what is sure to be a spectacular event, Tchaikovsky and Emily Bear, Saturday, April 30, 2016.

Ticket prices range from $22 to $60. Student tickets are available for just $7. Tickets for all performances are available on line at rockfordsymphony.com or by calling the Rockford Symphony Orchestra Box Office at (815) 965-0049.

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