I had the pleasure of attending the Holiday Pops event last year for the first time. I enjoyed the show so much I wanted to come back this year. Due to a hectic media schedule, the only show I could attend was the last show - the matinee on Sunday afternoon at Benaroya Hall.
Featuring Jacomo Bairos (conductor), Scarlett Strallen (vocals), Northwest Tap Connection (dance), and the University of Washington chorale, alongside the award-winning Seattle Symphony, the near capacity crowd was ready for some holiday cheer.
The program was divided into two acts - the first act covered classics like the opener, "Sleigh Ride" and three pieces from, "The Nutcracker Suite". Guest vocalist Scarlett Strallen debuted on the third piece, the perennial favorite, "My Favorite Things". Ms. Strallen continued with a beautiful rendition of, "Feed the Birds" from Mary Poppins. The trifecta was complete when she also sang a humorous song, "The 12 Days After Christmas".
"Greensleeves", "Hallelujah Chorus", and "A Christmas Eve Finale" rounded out the first act in class and style.
The second act featured a few lesser-known pieces. "Chanukka 5776" started the second act which went right into, "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" complete with Santa on stage.
The showstopper came in the form of the Northwest Tap Connection. "A Charleston Christmas" was the tune and the dancers danced up a storm to a loud roar of approval from the crowd. Conductor Bairos mentioned they had stolen the show every performance earlier in the weekend and Sunday afternoon was no exception. Brilliant!
"Carol of the Bells" and an amazing version of, "O Holy Night!" featuring Scarlett Strallen brought the house down.
To end the evening, a giant sing-a-long started with, "Deck the Halls" and ended with, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas". By the time the show was over, the audience was standing on their feet and the performers on stage took their much-deserved bows.
While I enjoyed the show this year I think I have to give the edge to last year's performance. The previous year's show was more festive and light in tone. This year's felt more traditional and a little stuffy at times. Both shows were still worth attending and I recommend the Holiday Pops to anyone that wants a quality holiday show during a season when there are tons to choose from.
Happiest of holidays and see you all next year!
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