Pops returns with 'Sleigh Ride'
The Arizona Republic
seven years straight, the Valley's holiday entertainment
season kicked into high gear when the Boston Pops Esplanade
Orchestra performed at America West Arena.
a two-year absence, it's poised to do so again.
was nice to take a couple years off and build up demand,
and it's great to be coming back to one of the most
unusual venues on our tour," says Keith Lockhart,
the famously fresh-faced conductor of the Boston Pops.
Lockhart will conduct the Esplanade Orchestra - the
Pops with a few personnel changes - in holiday music
at 7 p.m. Sunday for an audience of up to 6,500, one
of the three largest on the orchestra's seven-city tour.
"It's big. But big is good when it's filled with
people," Lockhart says.
it ought to be: As of Wednesday, only a few hundred
tickets were available. The concert will contain performances
of numbers from the Pops' new holiday album, Sleigh
Ride, including Joy to the World and the Hallelujah
Chorus. Other numbers include Happy Holidays, A Chanukah
Overture, Little Road to Bethlehem, and a medley of
such favorites as Jingle Bells, Rudolph the Red Nosed
Reindeer, The Chipmunk Song, A Holly Jolly Christmas,
Deck the Halls, Frosty the Snowman and We Wish You a
Westenra, a teenage singer out of New Zealand, will
join Lockhart and the orchestra for several numbers,
including The Little Drummer Boy and We're Walking in
the Air from The Snowman. Westenra became the fastest-selling
classical crossover artist of all time in England, with
the release earlier this year of her album Pure.
acknowledges the meaning beyond music of concerts: "People
come to these concerts for the tradition. They give
a sense of stability, a sense of home. They come for
the connections and the memories. The biggest challenge
is to do these, year after year, keeping it fresh."
keep this year's concert a little different from those
past, there will be a narrated version of Yes, Virginia,
There Is a Santa Claus, replacing the tried-and-true
'Twas the Night Before Christmas.