Columbus Symphony Orchestra

Holiday Pops

With a handful of friends from work, I had the pleasure of finally going to see my first ever Holiday Pops concert with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra! What a fun evening! We laughed, we sang (for which everyone was grateful I was sitting way in the back), we danced (kind of) and had such a wonderful, entertaining evening.

We were treated to such fun music with a huge variety of performers.  For starters we had all the instrumental musicians. We already know they’re extremely good, right? They were accompanied by the Columbus Symphony Chorus which has a fantastic soprano section. Is it normal to be able to hit notes that high? Wow! At one point, they sang a gospel song with an amazing tenor who came down in the front for a solo. And then a children’s choir filed in to fill some of the extra seats in the choir section before treating us to an incredible rendition of Carol of the Bells. During a couple songs, a pair of ballet dancers from Wright State University came and performed for us in front of the orchestra. Plus, some of the young (youth) ballet dancers from the Ballet Met danced during “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” narrated by a baritone from the Chorus.

Wow – there was definitely something for everyone! I’m so glad I went! Maestro Jenkins even said we would most likely discover a new favorite song.

For my friend, Mandy, it was BasSOON it Must be Christmas which featured the CSO’s own talented bassoonists Betsy Sturdevant and Doug Fisher. The piece itself included six classical music pieces and six Christmas songs. We didn’t exactly take notes, but we recognized several of them including Mozart’s Overture of the Marriage of Figaro – which in and of itself, made this a great piece of music!

For Sarah, Bernie and me, it was Craig Courtney‘s Musicological Journey Through the 12 Days of Christmas. It’s really quite clever! Yes – it’s 12-minutes long, but you’ll get a kick out of it, so listen to the whole thing. It works its way through several hundred years’ worth of different musical styles starting with Gregorian chants through the Baroque and Classical eras, through a Wagnerian opera and waltzes all the way through a good John Philip Sousa march – complete with piccolo! Quite often, the 12 Days of Christmas can be a really annoying song, but this time around, it’s definitely not!

Be warned, on the 9th day of Christmas, Sarah, Bernie and I all started dancing back and forth in our seats, so you might, too.

Another fun highlight of the evening was when Maestro Jenkins chose a guest conductor for Sleighride. Prior to intermission, he had invited us to come down and sign up for a chance to conduct the orchestra. We just had to be between 3rd and 8th (?) grade. Out of a hat, he drew the name of a 5th grader sitting up in the balcony who was given a 3-minute crash course in conducting off stage.  He then handed her very own baton and escorted her up to the podium where she conducted her very first professional orchestra. She did a great job and definitely knew the song because she was right on when it came to cuing the percussion section for the whip sounds which naturally drew lots of applause from the audience. No idea if it made her nervous or not, but she was also projected onto the big screen they had behind the orchestra which meant she could watch herself conduct.  I think this girl has a bright future ahead of her!

Finally at the end of the concert, we were treated to a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus who even sang a song for us!

What an enjoyable evening all around. The turnout was just great and the music even greater. Many thanks to Maestro Jenkins and his fellow conductors, the musicians and staff of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra for a terrific year filled with incredible music. I look forward to even more in the new year.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!  🙂

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