For more than 30 years, the Holiday Pops! concert at The Whiting has been a cherished Flint-area tradition.
Since its inception, concert attendees have always expected a mix of contemporary and traditional music, the “Hallelujah Chorus,” the voices of the Flint Symphony Chorus, guest artists, and audience participation in the popular sing-a-long portion. Each year, a new program of music is skillfully assembled to create a blend of modern and classic; fan-favorites are always included, like the “Hallelujah Chorus,” even though the FSO updates the program every year.
This tradition began with the support and encouragement of TV12’s Bill Harris; the Flint Symphony Orchestra was inspired by a holiday performance previously based in Saginaw, and created a new holiday tradition from that. Around that time, The Whiting’s holiday variety show, Christmas at Whiting, came to a close, so they were in need of a new holiday performance.
“The Holiday Pops! program always includes a little something
for everyone, which makes it the perfect family event.”
Cathy Prevett – FSO Administration Operations Director
The holidays are a special time of the year to enjoy and appreciate friends and family, as well as the traditions that we hold with them; these traditions, like attending Holiday Pops!, help families and friends stay connected, and share memories for many years.
“The Holiday Pops! program always includes a little something for everyone, which makes it the perfect family event,” says Cathy Prevett, FSO Administration Operations Director. “Holiday Pops! is very special to the Flint community, and it’s a large-scale production that truly takes a village to put on.”
One aspect which makes each performance so dynamic is the other musical groups that have been included in past programs. Although they are not involved this year, the Flint Jubilee Chorale has been a guest artist at Holiday Pops! several times over the years, and always adds a unique touch to the program. In addition, The Flint Symphony Chorus, under the direction of co-directors Nada Radakovich and Jeffrey Walker, are a dedicated group of volunteer singers who proudly perform with the FSO during the holiday performance.
Thanks to their partnership with ABC12, which broadcasts the show live for the first hour of the Saturday performance and several times throughout the holidays, it is certainly a gift from the city to its residents. “We’re grateful to our sponsor, Security Credit Union, for giving us the support we need to continue to bringing this gift to Flint each year,” Prevett states.
Holiday Pops! is the FSO’s only pops concert during their regular season; the annual performance gives the community a chance to see a different side of the musicians in the orchestra. For this exciting evening, ABC12 News anchors Angie Hendershot and Matt Franklin add flair to the live television production, by being involved early on in developing the program and writing the script once the musical pieces are selected. The co-hosts put the finishing touches on the show in three rehearsals, including a final dress rehearsal, to make sure the concert goes perfectly.
In addition, the entire FSO is involved in the Holiday Pops! program. The concert also allows for a few special additions to the instruments used, including the glockenspiel and, of course – jingle bells. This year’s program will include a live scene on stage during “The Boar’s Head Carol,” complete with a special appearance by Father Christmas.
Holiday Pops! will take place on Saturday, December 17 at 7pm, and December 18 at 3pm. On December 17, from 6pm to 10pm, for its first year, the Flint Institute of Music will host an accompanying event, Holiday Hops & Pops Craft Beer Tasting, which will raise funds to support FSO programming.
“For the Flint Symphony Orchestra, holiday spirit means sharing the joy of the season through beautiful music,” Prevett shares. “Holiday Pops! is the embodiment of that gift, with pieces that will appeal to both young and old, and delight the child inside each and every one of us.”
Photos provided by Flint Institute of Music