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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Holiday Pops offers nice mix

The Spokane Symphony’s annual Holiday Pops concert will include its usual cast of hundreds:

“120 singers in the Symphony Chorale.

“ 50 singers in the Spokane Area Children’s Chorus.

“ 70 musicians in the Spokane Symphony, plus music director Eckart Preu.

“Santa Claus.

Yet one of the moments that Preu is most looking forward to is a sequence in which the orchestra drops out entirely and the chorale and children’s chorus take over.

“When it’s done well it’s quite an amazing sound,” says Preu. “It’s a kind of an antiphonal work.”

Meaning: sung in alternation. The sequence consists of three ancient, traditional tunes: “Joseph dear Joseph mine,” “Vom Himmel Hoch” and “Kindelwiegen,” which can be roughly translated as “rocking the child.”

Preu says the concert will be a mixed bag of Christmas music, from medieval chants to movie pops themes.

One of those themes will be John Williams’ music from “Home Alone.” Another of the movie numbers might surprise you.

“We have an arrangement of ‘O Tannenbaum’ that is done, oddly enough, as a march,” says Preu. “It was composed for the movie ‘The Polar Express’ by Conrad Pope.”

The orchestra and chorale will collaborate on what Preu calls a “really funny version” of ” ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

On a more stately note, the orchestra and chorale will perform Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.”

The entire 240-person ensemble will weigh in on Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from “Messiah.”

And even more people – a couple of thousand – will join in the traditional audience singalong at the end, featuring, in Preu’s words, “most of the usual suspects.” (Think “Jingle Bells” and “Joy to the World.”)

Lori Wiest is the director of the Symphony Chorale and Christina Ploeger directs the Spokane Area Children’s Chorus.

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