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The Lansing Symphony Orchestra Brings Holiday Cheer to the Wharton

There’s no better way to get into the spirit of the holiday season than by listening to your favorite seasonal songs, and the only place to see those songs performed live by a professional orchestra in mid-Michigan is the Wharton Center for Performing Arts. The Lansing Symphony Orchestra is once again performing its annual Holiday Pops concert, a show that has become a must-see for music lovers who want to get into the holiday spirit. 

“Holiday Pops is one of our biggest concerts and it has become a big tradition in the community,” said Anastasia Bonotto, development and marketing manager for the Lansing Symphony Orchestra.

“The performers really look forward to it because it’s bit of a break from what they normally do with the classical series,” Bonotto said. “Also, it brings back memories and everyone enjoys being part of it.”

The concert will take place Sunday, Dec. 16, at 3 p.m. in the Wharton Center’s Cobb Great Hall.

The two-hour program will feature all the holiday classics including music from the “Nutcracker Suite” and holiday films such as “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” 

“We try to play things that appeal to a wider audience, something for everyone in the community”, Bonotto said. “It’s not just Christmas or religious music.”

This year, the orchestra is joined by professional baritone vocalist and Okemos High School graduate Scott MacLeod. 

“We love bringing in people who are local,” Bonotto said. “We’ve enjoyed developing partnerships with local musicians.” 

MacLeod is an assistant professor of music at High Point University in North Carolina and specializes in many genres including, opera, oratorio, musical theater and avant-garde vocal performance.

The Michigan State University Youth Chorale will also join the fun once again this year.

“We love working with the MSU Youth Chorale. They’re a fantastic ensemble,” Bonotto said. “There is something about holiday music and having a youth choir that really embodies the holiday spirit.” 

The Youth Chorale is comprised of high school students from throughout the Greater Lansing area who would not normally get the chance to perform in front of such a large crowd. High school instrumentalists are also able to audition for a chance to perform side by side with the professional musicians during the show. 

“We give students the opportunity to really feel like they are part of a professional orchestra,” Bonotto said. 

Besides providing the younger generation with professional music experience, the orchestra gets into the spirit of giving in other ways. It offers free tickets to shows for veterans through an organization called Vet Tix. The orchestra also gives tickets to Peckham, a local, nonprofit organization that provides paid job training to people with disabilities. The orchestra also runs several education programs throughout the year to teach local children about music.

“My favorite part about the concert is that it brings together so many people in the community and that this has become a tradition for so many of our patrons” Bonotto said. “It’s nice to take your family to an afternoon concert and sit there for two hours and listen to music that takes you back to your childhood.” 

This time of year, it is easy to lose sight of what is truly important. With everyone busy running around shopping and corporations doing their best to capitalize on the “magic” of the holidays, sometimes we all need a break from it all to remind ourselves what is important. There is no better way to do that than with family, friends and music. 

Tickets range from $20-$55 depending on section, with student discounts (half-off) available.