Plymouth Philharmonic’s annual Holiday Pops concert set for this weekend

Emily Wilcox

Musical greatness will come together this weekend to kick off the holiday season as only the Plymouth Philharmonic Orchestra can.

The Phil’s annual two-performance Holiday Pops concert will, for the first time, feature the Pilgrim Festival Chorus singing the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s "Messiah." In addition, fourth- and fifth-graders from the Federal Furnace School Treble Chorus will deliver their rousing version of John Rutter’s “Star Carol.” And the Phil will perform John Williams’ holiday music from the "Home Alone" film score as well as a colorful suite from "The Polar Express" and other festive fare.

If that’s not enough winter cheer, WBZ Radio host Jordan Rich will read Clement C. Moore’s seminal "’Twas the Night Before Christmas" accompanied by a lush symphonic score comprised of holiday carols and songs.

The Phil’s Holiday Pops concert will be performed at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 13, in Plymouth’s Memorial Hall.

“As always, children are invited to bring a toy and march in the annual March of the Toys,” Phil Music Director and Conductor Steven Karidoyanes said. “Collected toys will be distributed to deserving families.”

In one of the traditional highlights of the Holiday Pops concert, Santa Claus will lead children in attendance who wish to participate in a march throughout and about the main floor of Memorial Hall as the orchestra performs “March of the Toys” from Babes in Toyland. Those children who wish to donate a gift to a needy child in the greater Plymouth area may carry it during the march and deposit it in a giant, wrapped gift box next to the orchestra. All gifts will go to the Children’s Holiday Fund, which provides holiday gifts for hundreds of children and families in need in the greater Plymouth area. The Plymouth Area Coalition for the Homeless administers the Children’s Holiday Fund, and it is sponsored by the Old Colony Memorial.

The Phil’s toy march, begun in the 1990s during Karidoyanes’ second year as conductor, is such a draw that other orchestras have adopted similar events.

“This is definitely a family-friendly concert,” Karidoyanes added. “I program this for a wide swath of ages and interests, so it’s fun and happy. This is a party with an orchestra and chorus.”

Directed by William Richter, the regional Pilgrim Festival Chorus has developed quite a following – it ushered in the holiday season in late November with a standing-room-only concert.

Federal Furnace Elementary School Music Director Kathy McMinn is equally renowned for her inspiring musical talent, which she has shared for the last two years with orphans in the South African Children’s Choir.

This potpourri of holiday song, story and giving is designed to ignite inspiration and a holiday joy to last all season.

“I take this concert so seriously,” Karidoyanes said. “More than anything, we do this as a celebration of family and community, regardless of what you believe. It has to be fun, so we have all of that in spades.”

With yet another action-packed night of concert entertainment planned, Karidoyanes couldn’t help expressing his own joy in the role he plays.

“I continually count my blessings,” he said. “I do what I love to do for a living, I have a wonderful family, great friends and decent health. Please pinch me. I’m in a constant state of gratitude.”

Tickets cost $20 to $50, with senior, youth and group discounts available and $5 student “rush” tickets sold as available at the door one hour prior to the performance. Advance tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.plymouthphil.org or calling the Phil office at 508-746-8008. Limited cabaret-style seating is available.

Memorial Hall is located at 83 Court St. in Plymouth. 

The Holiday Pops concert is sponsored in part by Mayflower Bank, Newfield House, Cordage Commerce Center and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Media sponsors include the Old Colony Memorial and Comcast, with WGBH 89.7 FM providing promotional support.