World-Renowned African Children's Choir Joins the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Holiday Spectacular, December 12-23
Host Sandi Patty and conductor Jack Everly lead 14 Broadway-style performances at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Baltimore, Md. (November 6, 2008) - The esteemed African Children's Choir will join more than 150 entertainers in 14 performances for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Spectacular, December 12-23 at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Sharing holiday songs and dances from around the world, the African Children's Choir is prominently featured in this season's revamped Holiday Spectacular. Rivaling the glitz and glamour of a New York City production, this Broadway-style variety show, led by conductors Jack Everly and Steven Reineke, will also feature the BSO performing holiday classics with host Grammy Award-winning vocalist Sandi Patty and other special guests. Holiday Spectacular creator and BSO Principal Pops conductor Jack Everly promises a performance as equally spectacular as last season, including new songs, sets and two perennial favorites-the "Santa Tap" and "''Twas the Night Before Christmas"—featuring the Baltimore School for the Arts dancers. See below for event details.
Sandi Patty returns as host and featured vocalist after receiving rave reviews in the BSO's 2006 Holiday Spectacular. Known for her fame in the Christian music industry, Patty's performances with the African Children's Choir is the highlight of this year's Holiday Spectacular. "To watch her interact with the African Children's Choir is to truly experience the joy of the season," Jack Everly noted. Members of the African Children's Choir are orphans from the AIDS epidemic. "The program teaches these children music and life skills which will stay with them into their adult years. Their immense spirit and pure joy are invaluable to the production. Watch the audience: you can see it reflected in their faces," Everly said.
While there are new songs on the program, returning favorites include the high-kicking Tap-Dancing Santas closing the first act with their rousing kick line. Song selections include holiday classics such as "Sleigh Ride," "Angels We Have Heard on High" and "O Holy Night." This year, the two, 30-foot Nutcrackers will again grace a lavish holiday set design by Gregory Hill. There will also be new, elaborate costumes, with several costume changes for Sandi Patty.
BSO Principal Pops conductor Jack Everly, whose SuperPops concerts have earned him a loyal following in Baltimore, conceived of a musical holiday program 14 years ago for the Indianapolis Symphony before bringing a new version to Baltimore. In its three-year run, the BSO's Holiday Spectacular has performed to sold-out houses for nearly every show. Drawing audiences from across Maryland, the Mid-Atlantic States and beyond, the BSO's Holiday Spectacular has become a new destination for holiday-themed performances and a beloved tradition for Baltimore area families. "With so much variety, humor, poignancy and music from the heart, this is the family holiday event each and every year," Everly said.
Jack Everly, artistic director
Known for his innovative programming ideas and his knowledge of and love for the pops genre, Jack Everly is principal pops conductor of the Baltimore, Indianapolis, and National Arts Centre (Ottawa) symphony orchestras. He is also the music director of the Indianapolis Symphony's A Yuletide Celebration and the BSO's Holiday Spectacular.
Music director of American Ballet Theater for 14 years, Mr. Everly conducted thousands of performances and dozens of world premieres for that company. In addition to his ABT tenure, he has teamed with Marvin Hamlisch in Broadway shows that Mr. Hamlisch scored including, The Goodbye Girl, They're Playing Our Song and A Chorus Line. Mr. Everly has appeared on "In Performance at the White House" and has been music director on numerous Broadway cast recordings, including Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He conducted the PBS "Dance in America" at New York's City Center as well as the PBS telecast from the Metropolitan Opera House of the Prokofiev-MacMillan Romeo and Juliet.
A frequent guest conductor on the world's concert, opera and ballet stages, Mr. Everly's appearances include the National Symphony of London, the Ravinia Festival Orchestra, the Teatro Colón, the Pacific Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
Mr. Everly is also the music advisor for the Symphony Pops Consortium (SPC), an alliance formed by the Indianapolis, Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee, National and Seattle symphony orchestras. The SPC is producer of programs that include A Celtic Celebration—The Music of the Emerald Isle, Those Glorious Musicians—A Tribute to MGM and Pops Goes British featuring the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Steven Reineke, conductor
Steven Reineke is the principal pops conductor of the Modesto and Long Beach symphony orchestras, and associate conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Mr. Reineke has also written and arranged for pops conductors Doc Severinsen, Jack Everly and Michael Krajewski. His arrangements can be heard on numerous Cincinnati Pops recordings and have been broadcast nationally by PBS.
Mr. Reineke's recent guest conducting appearances include the orchestras of Cincinnati, Toronto, Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Edmonton. In 2008, Mr. Reineke made his Carnegie Hall debut conducting The New York Pops 25th Birthday Gala. In 2007, he made his Hollywood Bowl debut with the multi-faceted entertainer Wayne Brady and returned to the Hollywood Bowl in 2008. He also conducted, arranged and orchestrated the music for Mr. Brady's new orchestral show that debuted in October 2007 with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. In 2006, Mr. Reineke collaborated with rock legend Peter Frampton as conductor, arranger and orchestrator for Mr. Frampton's orchestral show.
Mr. Reineke is also an established symphonic composer. His works Celebration Fanfare, Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Casey at the Bat are performed frequently in North America, with the most recent performances by the New York Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic in July 2008. In August 2008, his Sun Valley Festival Fanfare debuted with the Sun Valley Symphony Orchestra to commemorate the opening of their new pavilion. His numerous wind ensemble compositions are published by the C.L. Barnhouse Company and are performed by concert bands around the world.
Sandi Patty, host
Sandi Patty is the most award-winning female vocalist in the Christian music industry, recently releasing her 30th recording titled Songs for the Journey. Ms. Patty has won 39 Dove Awards, five Grammy Awards, four Billboard Music Awards and is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. She has released 24 albums over the last 26 years, selling more than 11 million units. RIAA has certified three of her recordings platinum and five of her recordings gold. Ms. Patty has also authored four books and is a featured speaker with the Women of Faith Conferences. She has appeared on The Tonight Show, 7th Heaven, E! Entertainment, Dr. Phil, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and most recently appeared on Extreme Makeover Home Edition.
African Children's Choir
Founded in 1984 by human rights activist Ray Barnett, the choir has performed at many prestigious events and concert halls, including for Kofi Annan at the UN General Assembly Hall in New York, with Bobby McFerrin at Royal Albert Hall in London, with Mariah Carey & Sir Paul McCartney at Live 8 in London and at Nelson Mandela's AIDS awareness concert in South Africa. They have also performed on American Idol and The Ellen Show. The Choir's music is a blend of song and dance throughout the entire continent of Africa, featuring more than ten languages and unique cultural dancing.
The Choir members are ambassadors for all children in Africa who have become orphans because of the AIDS pandemic. Each year, a new Choir is selected and the children from the previous year's Choir return to their homelands to attend school. Their education is completely funded by The African Children's Choir. Some of these young adults continue in university programs, where they train to become doctors, engineers or other professional leaders in Africa. Others receive vocational and technical training, developing the skills they need to lead productive, fulfilling lives. Many of the children, now young adults from previous Choirs, are working with The African Children's Choir and other relief organizations throughout Africa.
Baltimore School for the Arts Dancers
The Baltimore School for the Arts Dancers engage in a rigorous and comprehensive program in both traditional ballet and modern technique. The course curriculum includes four years of ballet, modern dance and pointe. In addition to this core curriculum, the Baltimore School for the Arts is fortunate to have a wide variety of esteemed guest artists teach and choreograph its students, including Barry Houghson, Hinton Battle and David Parsons. Baltimore School for the Arts is one of the only performing arts high schools to have the honor of performing some of George Balanchine's works, such as Serenade.
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's Holiday Spectacular
All performances at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Friday, December 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 13 at 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 14 at 2:00 p.m.
Wednesday, December 17 at 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, December 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, December 19 at 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 20 at 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, December 21 at 2:00 p.m.
Tuesday, December 23 at 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Jack Everly, artistic director and conductor
Steven Rieneke, conductor
Sandi Patty, host and vocalist
African Children's Choir
Baltimore School for the Arts Dancers
Tickets for these performances range from $25 to $75, with half price matinee pricing for children in select seating sections. Tickets are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.