Holiday carols and tunes bring joy to some and dread to others. But the conductor of A Philly POPS Christmas says this year’s show “will be anything but a drag.”
The popular Christmas concert returns early next month with two new guest artists and conductor Michael Krajewski. The performance features many holiday favorites performed by a variety of musicians. Performance groups include the 65-piece POPS Orchestra, the Philadelphia Boys Choir, the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Choir, and two special guests: singer Tony DeSare and organist Peter Richard Conte. Michael Krajewski says the show will be a delight, whether you’ve seen it before or not.
“I sometimes hear people say ‘It’s the same music and the same carols,’” said Krajewski. “I contend that when you hear these carols performed by these talented musicians, it brings new dimension to the songs and they are so moving. The performance is unique and they are speaking to the audience.”
Krajewski will conduct the Christmas concerts for the first time, but he is not new to the POPS orchestra. He has been conducting shows with Philly POPS for three years.. Hit songs from Christmas performances past include “Oh Come All Ye Faithful”, “Silver Bells” and “Let It Snow”. Although they want to bring back everyone's favorites, they also want to keep things fresh and festive.
“We’re walking this line of maintaining tradition and doing something a little differently so it doesn’t get stale,” said Krajewski.
Part of bringing something new to the show each year is bringing in new guest artists to perform with Philly POPS. Guest singer and pianist Tony DeSare will be crooning some festive tunes. The POPS website describes him as “two parts Frank Sinatra, one part Billy Joel.” Famous organist Peter Richard Conte will join the orchestra.
The concert series kicks off with a sold out show dedicated to military and first responders, which is another tradition for the holiday event. In addition to putting on a show that will encourage attendees to get in the holiday spirit, Krajewski and the musicians want to use the concert series as an opportunity to bring people together.
“When you’re in a concert hall, you’re all enjoying the music,” said Krajewski. “It’s a great way to escape for a while- whatever else may be going on your lives.”
A Philly POPS Christmas runs Dec. 2-18. Performances will take place in the Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center, located at 300 S. Broad St. Tickets range from $38-$140.