Gala Holiday Pops features Kearstin Piper Brown

Around Town

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra will present its popular Gala Holiday Pops with performances featuring soprano Kearstin Piper Brown on December 17, 18, and 19 at Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.

Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik has prepared another program to delight audiences. He said, “We’re going to have a variety of music, of course, favorites of the orchestra and the audience like Leroy Anderson’s ‘Sleigh Ride.’ We’re going to be performing my ‘Twelve Gifts of Christmas’ with the incredible Kearstin Piper Brown. That’s one of the things that I’m looking forward to and – for this year – something new is I took three pieces from ‘The Nutcracker’ and created a jazz mini-Nutcracker Suite. And our Principal Percussionist Jim Tiller is going to play ‘The Skater’s Waltz’ except I’ve changed it into ‘The Skater’s Jitterbug’ – so it’s a fast swing version of ‘The Skater’s Waltz.’ So we always have surprises but our greatest surprise, of course, is having Kearstin Piper Brown join us this year.”

Performances are at 8:00 p.m. on December 17, 2:00 and 8:00 p.m. on December 18, and 2:00 p.m. on December 19.

The Gala Holiday Pops will be extra-special for Piper Brown and her family. “I’ve been in the Hall many times with my family for some of the holiday concerts, ‘The Nutcracker,’ and my family is really excited that I’ll be on the stage this time and they’ll get to enjoy me from the audience. So we’re all very excited!”

Piper Brown will perform five pieces with the RPO. “As Jeff mentioned, I’ll be performing ‘The Twelve Gifts of Christmas’ which is a really fun take on ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’ but I won’t tell anything about that – it will be a surprise! Just come in and check it out. I’ll also be singing the classic ‘Ave Maria’ – the version which Jeff arranged – and also an Italian carol called ‘Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle’ and that’s a really beautiful Italian carol. I’ll also sing ‘What Child Is This’ which is probably my favorite, and then ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful.'”

For Tyzik, creating the program each year is less about the pressure to please audiences and more about the opportunity to add a dash of the unexpected to a familiar canvas of music. “It’s like that cake that you’re going to bake every year for the Christmas meal, or the Hanukkah meal, or the Kwanzaa meal. You say – you know, it’s a really good cake but I think this year I’m going to use a little different icing or I’m going to dress it up a little bit – and that’s what this concert is. A lot of people’s favorites are on there but there’s always something new and interesting, and of course, there’s always a new guest artist. And again, I’m just so thrilled to have Kearstin at the concert. I don’t really call it pressure but I do find oftentimes people will say – wow, that’s the best one ever – and I’m thinking, okay – now what are we going to do!”

See for yourself this year by getting tickets now – call the Box Office at (585) 454-2100 or visit

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