Life is all about experiences, and there are very few things that can rival the thrill of live music. For 25 years, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra has been putting on incredible shows and performances. This time of year, their Christmas Pops series can put even the most grumpy cat in the mood for jingle jangle holiday festivities. The world-renowned Meyerson Symphony Center, replete with its one-of-a-kind of acoustics, and incredible light display, offer patrons a visual journey as fascinating and vibrant as the auditory one.
The playlist for this event (click here to view the full set list) has a plethora of old time Christmas favorites, and a good number of modern musical melodies, all topped off with some lovable and very fitting cinematic selections that make you reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.
In show business, you want to start strong and end strong. But you don’t have to tell Lawrence Loh that. On point, and all business, he commanded the podium and the symphony players, but he still managed to throw a little fun into the mix by donning elf stockings and a Santa hat for the second act.
The show began in a glorious theatrical fashion that placed members of the choir in key positions around in the symphony hall, even in the aisles. The opening number, “A Merry Olde Christmas” (Frye), was a heartwarming rendition that was nothing short of spectacular. The singers brought the excitement and merriment a full 360 degrees around the audience.
Also on hand to bring joy to the people were the Greater Dallas Children’s Choir whose voices beautifully complemented the amazingly talented musicians on stage.
New this year, the DSO featured their Christmas Pops Dancers which very nearly turned the symphony into a ballet. The 8 person outfit interpreted the music to which they were dancing with equal parts wonder and delight.
The Symphony organizers even had something up their sleeve to make the experience all the more enjoyable. During the second act, one selection was tailored specifically for audience participation – a sing-along melody consisting of gleeful tunes like “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” – which not only gets the crowd excited, but out of their seats. There’s always some reluctance from the crowd to join in standing en mass, but two seconds into singing “Frosty the Snowman“, with a little help from the choir, every person in attendance, briefly, became a kid again.
Admittedly, we at GoSeeTalk are avid film fans, and so the inclusion of John Williams pieces from Home Alone, and Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, caught our attention. Same with the simply magical rendition of what is probably our favorite Christmas song of all time – Alan Silvestri and Josh Groban’s “Believe” from the Robert Zemeckis adaptation of The Polar Express. Employing close to a 200 person choir, the symphony players, along with those stirring voices in the balcony, would have made Groban very proud.
All that said, the highlights of the performance, in our eyes, come down to three things. First is singer Jubilant Syke. With such a powerful, emotional, and dynamic set of pipes, he is the perfect combination of Nat King Cole, Seal, and Bobby McFerrin. Second, thanks very much to Jubilant, we have a new found love of the song “Mary Did You Know?” (although, we can’t tell which was better – that, or his rendition of “Away In A Manger“). Finally, if it wasn’t enough to get Santa Claus on stage (yes kids, that happened and was an impressive feat this close to Christmas), the Dallas Symphony brought snow to Big D, and the people couldn’t be happier!
We attended the final show of this DSO pop series (or we’d have put up our glowing account of the performance way earlier) but do yourself a favor. Re-read this review, get excited, and then make a note to get tickets to next year’s performance. You will not want to miss the wonder and joy of this Christmas series with the Dallas Symphony. Merry Christmas everyone!!