The Boston Holiday Pops tour at historic Symphony Hall is an annual tradition. Running every holiday season from early December to the end of the month, it's one of the Boston area's favorites and includes the traditional Pops sing-along and an appearance from jolly old St. Nick himself. Boston Holiday Pops tickets for the matinee performances include photos after the show with Santa, a special sing-along and a variety of special treats for kids. There are seven family matinee concerts. For patrons at floor tables, children can make selections from a kid-friendly menu. All kids under two years of age get in free. There are often special concerts after Christmas that blend the Pops orchestra with screenings of blockbuster movies like Back to the Future. The New Year's Eve edition of the Boston Holiday Pops features the Boston Pops Swing Orchestra.
The Holiday Pops really capture the joy and spirit of the season. Past performances have included songs like "Tomorrow Is My Dancing Day," "Fantasia on Christmas Carols" and "The Shepherd's Chorus." You might also hear "Christmas Time Is Here" by Vince Guaraldi, a rousing edition of "Good Wenceslas" or a crowd favorite, "Sleigh Ride." Other tunes that have been heard at the show over the years include "The Christmas Story," "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "Go Tell It on the Mountain" and "We Three Kings." There is an impressive mix of modern tunes as well as old favorites. "Sleigh Ride," accompanied by dramatic whip-crack sound effects, always gets the crowd excited -- the cheery, buoyant reading motivates some audience members to rock and groove to the music in their seats. The arrangements for Boston Holiday Pops shows are often compressed in order to get more favorites on the bill. That makes it a fast-paced affair, an upbeat celebration of family and friends spending a fun show together during the holidays.
Boston Holiday Pops history
The first holiday Pops was staged in 1973 with the name, "A Pops Christmas Party." The first conductor was Arthur Fiedler. Over the years, three different variations on the narration have been used at Holiday Pops: Clement Clarke Moore's "Twas the Night Before Christmas," parts of Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and Francis P. Church's letter from the New York Sun's editor, better known as "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus." Since the original concert, 11 different choruses and choirs have performed. More than 50 narrators have lent their talents to the Holiday Pops, and 16 different conductors have led the orchestra. The New Year's Eve edition of the Holiday Pops concerts began in 1974, and the first television recording took place in 1985. John Oliver conducted the first Tanglewood Festival Chorus performance of the Holiday Pops in 1973.