Symphony Spreads Holiday Cheer with Pops Concerts

Photo by Terry Johnston
Photo by Terry Johnston

It might be a blustery week, but the Grand Rapids Symphony is inviting audience members to warm up with some holiday tunes.

The Grand Rapids Pops’ annual Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops concerts take place all weekend, Dec. 14 – 17.

Bob Bernhardt, principal pops conductor, conducts the Grand Rapids Symphony in five performances of the annual Christmas concert with musical favorites including Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” and highlights from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.”

Guest vocalist Leon Williams joins the Grand Rapids Symphony to sing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Sweet Little Jesus Boy.” A holiday sing-along invites the entire audience to sing with the Grand Rapids Pops.

The Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus will join the orchestra to sing Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus from “The Messiah.”  Meanwhile, the Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus, directed by Sean Ivory, will be featured on John Rutter’s “Star Carol.”  Both choruses will perform musical selections from the 1990 movie “Home Alone” with the orchestra.

West Michigan’s own Embellish handbell ensemble, directed by Stephanie Wiltse, will perform traditional carols including “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” and perform a virtuoso solo number of its own on an extensive array of handbells and chimes.

On Saturday, Dec. 16, prior to the 3 p.m. matinee concert, the Grand Rapids Symphony’s Holiday Pops Spectacular will feature holiday treats, arts and crafts, games, and more, all geared toward children and families. Festivities begin at 1 p.m.

All performances are at DeVos Performance Hall.


Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, Dec. 15-16, 8 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 16-17, 3 p.m.

*Photo by Terry Johnston for the Grand Rapids Symphony

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