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ASO, choirs, ballet soloists ‘Home for the Holidays’

By Eric E. Harrison

This article was published December 13, 2012 at 3:19 a.m.


The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Vesper Choir sings with the Arkansas Symphony in this weekend’s “Home for the Holidays” pops concerts.

— Little Rock’s Robinson Center Music Hall will be just like “Home for the Holidays” — if your home this season is full of singers, dancers and jazz and orchestral musicians.

The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra will put on its annual Christmas Pops extravaganza at 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Robinson.

Philip Mann, the orchestra’s music director, will be making musical order out of program chaos.

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Vesper Choir (Michael Bates, conductor) will sing arrangements of “O Holy Night” and “Joy to the World.” The Central Arkansas Children’s Choir (Ryan Fisher, conductor) will sing the Procession from A Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten. And the Vesper Choir, the Children’s Choir and percussionists from the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra will collaborate on an arrangement of “Carol of the Drum.”

Ballet Arkansas soloists, fresh from last weekend’s performance of P.I. Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, will reprise, in somewhat limited staging, several second-act segments, including “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and the “Mirlitons” and “Arabian” variations, in front of the orchestra that’s playing them.

They will also dance for the “Peanut Brittle Brigade” March from Duke Ellington’s

Nutcracker Suite.

Mezzo-soprano Diane Kesling will sing “Christmas Eve in My Hometown.” The Ted Ludwig Trio (Ludwig, guitar; Brian Brown, drums; and Joe Vick, sitting in for the ailing Joe Cripps, on bass) will play two arrangements by ASO Associate Conductor Geoffrey Robson: “Ted Ludwig Medley” (“Christmastime Is Here,” “Christmas Song”) and “Let It Snow.”

And Phil Kaplan and Leslie Singer, aka the “Two Jewish Guys,” will arrive onstage to a familiar opening theme and do a little shtick, in some way connected to arranger Ron Goldstein’s Hanukkah Medley.

The orchestra portion of the program will include Rocket Sleigh by Devlyn Case and an arrangement of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Orchestra spokesmen warn audience members to expect surprises.

The annual Holiday Children’s Fair at 2 p.m. Sunday in the music hall main lobby will feature an Instrument Petting Zoo, arts and crafts and a visit with Santa.




8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday, Robinson Center Music Hall, West Markham Street and Broadway, Little Rock. “Home for the Holidays,” Acxiom Pops Live! series Sponsor: Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Tickets: $14-$52; free for children in grades K-12 to the Sunday matinee with paid adult (Entergy Kids Ticket) (501) 666-1761

Weekend, Pages 38 on 12/13/2012

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