MUSIC: Arkansas ‘Idol’ Kris Allen joins symphony for trio of Robinson Christmas concerts

Holiday homecoming

Kris Allen's pops concerts with the Arkansas Symphony this weekend represent a holiday homecoming. (Democrat-Gazette file photo/Cary Jenkins)

"American Idol" winner and Arkansas native Kris Allen joins the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and conductor Geoffrey Robson for the "Kris Allen Holiday Spectacular," 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at Robinson Center Performance Hall, 426 W. Markham St. at Broadway, Little Rock.

The concerts also kick off the orchestra's 2021-22 Acxiom Pops Live! season.

Allen will sing holiday standards including "Silent Night," "O Holy Night," "Jingle Bells" and "Silver Bells" and some of his own seasonal songs (including "Baby Won't You Wait Until the New Year," "Just Like Snow," "Peace and Happiness" and "Mommy Is There More Than One Santa Claus").

The Bryant High School Camerata (Tanner Ogelsby, director) and the Parkview High School Madrigals (Mary Shollmier, director) will sing seasonal works.

The program also features Alan Silvestri's music from the film score for "The Polar Express"; "Holiday Overture" by James M. Stephenson; the inevitable "Sleigh Ride" by Leroy Anderson; Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24"; and a singalong.

Allen, an alumnus of the Arkansas Symphony Youth Orchestra viola section, won Season 8 of "American Idol" in 2009.

Now based in Nashville, Tenn., he has released 11 albums, written hundreds of songs and, according to a news release, "dedicated himself to philanthropy, especially for projects supporting music education."

"It has been a dream of mine to play my songs with a symphony," Allen says. "For it to be happening at home with the symphony [orchestra] I grew up listening to feels like a dream with a side of hot chocolate. It's gonna be a great time."

Sponsor is the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Pops Live! season sponsor is Acxiom. Tickets are $16-$72, $10 for active-duty military and students, free to students with the purchase of an adult ticket. Call (501) 666-1761, Extension 1, or visit

Covid-19 protocols: All musicians, guest artists and staff, venue staff and patrons are required to wear a mask covering the nose and mouth and show proof of covid-19 vaccination or a recent (within 72 hours) negative test. Visit