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The Weather Outside is Frightful, but the RPO Gala Holiday Pops is Delightful

November 29, 2007

Orchestra’s Extended “Family” Includes Festival High School Chorale

Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra puts the “pop” into the holiday season as the Wegmans WPOP Series presents Time Warner Cable Gala Holiday Pops concerts under the baton of Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik at the Eastman Theatre.  Six performances feature the Festival High School Chorale (directed by Harold McAulliffe) and a wide array of soloists including acclaimed bass vocalist Kevin Deas; RPO husband and wife, trumpeter Wesley Nance and violinist Shannon Nance with their 11-year old daughter, French hornist Brooke Nance; Principal Trombonist Mark Kellogg; percussionist Charles Ross; and the RPO Rhythm Section (John Nyerges, piano; Dave Mancini, drums and Jeff Campbell, bass).   Performances will take place on:

• Wednesday, December 19 @ 8 p.m. (A limited number of tickets are available for this performance, which is a benefit for Rotary Sunshine Camps and Rochester Rotary charitable programs.)
• Thursday, December 20 @ 8 p.m.
• Friday, December 21@ 8 p.m.
• Saturday, December 22 @ 8 p.m.
• Sunday, December 23 @ 2 and 6 p.m.

Concertgoers attending this always-popular annual event can look forward to hearing many of Tyzik’s creative arrangements of favorites such as I’ll Be Home for Christmas, Chanukah Suite, O Holy Night, I Wonder as I Wander and his Holiday Moods for Chorus and Orchestra.  A special addition will be O Come, O Come Emmanuel arranged specifically by Wes Nance for trumpet, violin and French horn, performed by him, his wife and their daughter.

Each year, the Orchestra celebrates the holidays with the forces of the Festival High School Chorale. Directed by Harold McAulliffe, the Chorale, which has been performing with the RPO since 1994, is composed of more than 150 high school students from the seven-county area.  [A list of high schools is available on request.]  Mr. McAulliffe is renowned for his commitment to the Rochester music community through his vocal performances, conducting and classroom teaching.  A highlight of his lengthy career has been the training of the Festival Chorale for more than 10 years.  Currently in his 35th year as Musical Director for Pittsford Musicals, he will retire in June from the Pittsford Central School District, having served as District Instructional Leader for Music, Director of the Pittsford Summer Enrichment Institute and a classroom vocal teacher for 40 years.

Kevin Deas has gained international acclaim as one of America’s leading basses, especially celebrated for his
riveting portrayal of the title role in Porgy and Bess which he has performed with numerous major American orchestras.  He recently sang Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under Daniel Barenboim, and has recorded with the Chicago Symphony, the ASKO Ensemble, the Cathedral Choral Society and the Grand Rapids Symphony.

The WPOP Series is sponsored by Wegmans; Gala Holiday Pops concerts are sponsored by Time Warner Cable with additional support provided by The Helen H. Heller Gala Holiday Pops Matinee Fund. The Festival Chorale’s appearance is made possible by KPMG LLP.

Tickets for these performances are $24-$60 (limited Rotary tickets are $40 and $15), available online 24/7 at www.rpo.org, by phone (454-2100) and in person from the RPO Box Office, and seven days a week at area Wegmans.  A convenience fee may apply.  RPO Box Office Hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (non-concert Saturdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.). 

Celebrating its 85th season in 2007-08, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music.  The Orchestra is passionately dedicated to outstanding musical performance at the highest artistic levels, and has a unique tradition of musical versatility, commitment to music education in the broadest sense and a deep and enduring engagement with the community.  The RPO has been honored with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award and two recent ASCAP awards for adventurous programming.  RPO performances are made possible in part with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; the State of New York; Monroe County and the City of Rochester. 

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