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Annual Holiday Pops concerts feature Santa, singalong

It’s one of Spokane’s traditions – and, like Bloomsday and Hoopfest, it features a cast of thousands.

It’s the Spokane Symphony’s Holiday Pops concerts, Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon at the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox.

This always-festive event features the full orchestra, the Spokane Symphony Chorale and the Spokane Area Children’s Chorus – plus a few thousand audience members over the course of two days joining in with the traditional “Holiday Pops Singalong” which always closes the show.

Oh, and lets not forget the special guest: Santa Claus, who is scheduled to ride in on his sleigh and conduct “Sleigh Ride.”

This year, Santa will also read the “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” essay, backed by the orchestra performing “Nimrod” from Elgar’s Enigma Variations.

Presiding over the festivities will be the symphony’s resident conductor, Morihiko Nakahara.

The Symphony Chorale is led by Julian Gomez Giraldo, who is also the director of orchestras at Eastern Washington University. The Spokane Area Children’s Chorus is directed by Kristina Ploeger, who is also the director of music education and choral director at EWU.

The symphony will be featured in Stephenson’s “Holiday Overture,” Bizet’s Farandole from “L’arlesienne Suite No. 2,” John Williams’ “Sound the Bells” and a medley titled “A Canadian Brass Christmas.”

The Symphony Chorale will be showcased in Holst’s “Christmas Day” and Schubert’s “Magnificat in C major.”

The Children’s Chorus will sing “American Carols,” written by the symphony’s own William Berry.

The chorus will also sing “A Musicological Journey Through the Twelve Days of Christmas,” which sets each “day” to a different musical era. It begins in the style of Gregorian chant and moves through 15th century France and then all the way up to Tchaikovsky and John Philip Sousa. See if you can identify them all.

Then, at the finale, the audience joins in to sing a medley of Christmas carols and holiday songs. It’s a great way to get into the Christmas spirit.



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