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A&E >  Music

Symphony mixes classic Christmas songs with newer pieces at Holiday Pops Celebration

Morihiko Nakahara will conduct this year’s Holiday Pops concerts. (Courtesy of the Spokane Symphony)
Morihiko Nakahara will conduct this year’s Holiday Pops concerts. (Courtesy of the Spokane Symphony)

For many in Spokane, listening to the Spokane Symphony’s Holiday Pops concert is as much a holiday tradition as trimming the tree or baking an obscene amount of cookies.

The symphony, led by conductor Morihiko Nakahara, will once again mix classic Christmas songs with newer pieces for a night of holiday cheer.

The orchestra will be joined by the symphony chorale, directed by Kristina Ploeger, and Spokane Area Youth Choirs, directed by Marc Hafso.

Christian Niczyporuk is a featured performer, and Mike Cantlon will provide narration.

The program, which will be performed at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox on Saturday and Sunday, kicks off with “Christmas Canticles,” composed by Sean O’Loughlin, who currently works as the principal pops conductor of Syracuse, New York’s Symphoria.

Then, the symphony will switch gears and play a traditional French carol, “Noel Nouvelet,” arranged by John Floyd Campbell.

“Winter, Fire and Snow,” composed by Brendan Graham and MacDara Woods and arranged by Roger Emerson, leads into another returning element, the screening of the 1982 animated short film “The Snowman,” scored by Howard Blake and based on a children’s picture book by Raymond Briggs.

Victor Herbert’s “March of the Toys,” from “Babes in Toyland,” is next, followed by “A Charleston Christmas.” by Chicago-based composer James M. Stephenson.

The symphony will then feature another classic, English composer Ralph Vaughn Williams’ 1912 work Fantasia on Christmas Carols.

Czech-American composer Vaclav Nelhybel’s 1975 work “Estampie Natalis” follows, then it’s time for “A Musicological Journey Through the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas,’ ” arranged by Craig Courtney.

Rounding out the evening are Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” and John Finnegan’s “Christmas Singalong.”

Make sure to be on your best behavior; Santa is expected to make a visit.

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