BY JOE MARVILLI
This weekend, a holiday tradition will come to Queens for the first time.
Kupferberg Presents will bring the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra to Queens College for its “Holiday Pops” concert. Taking place on Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m., the College hopes the performance will bring merriment and yuletide cheer to Colden Auditorium.
While “America’s Orchestra” has played at other colleges, such as Long Island University Post in Long Island, they took advantage of an opportunity to perform in the City when Queens College asked, bringing a family tradition to the Borough.
“It’s great to perform in a New York City venue during the holidays,” conductor Keith Lockhart said. “We have some of the greatest arrangements ever made for the orchestra. In Boston, these concerts have become such a tradition that there are thousands who would not spend Christmas without us.”
This performance by the orchestra will feature their signature tune, “Sleigh Ride,” along with other holiday favorites, new arrangements of classic songs of the season and a chorus. The concert will build up to a fantastical conclusion with an audience-wide sing-along and a visit from Santa himself.
“There’s nothing better than getting a couple thousand of your closest friends singing along,” Lockhart said. “I like to make sure that these programs have the audience thinking, ‘they must have programmed that for me, that’s my favorite Christmas song.’”
For the conductor, a trip to New York brings him back to familiar territory, as he was born and raised upstate in Poughkeepsie.
“New York City was ‘The City’ when I was growing up. I would go to see shows and concerts in New York,” he said. “It’s always fun to go to places you have a connection with.”
Lockhart is the 20th conductor of the Boston Pops and only the third one since the 1930s. He took over in 1995 from legendary film composer John Williams, who is known for his work on “Superman,” “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones.” Lockhart said that he sees himself as an instinctive performer and uses this skill to connect the audience and the orchestra.
“For me, I’m a performer at heart. That’s particularly important during the holiday season,” he said. “The conductor really connects the people to the music. You get to be the Master of Ceremonies.”
Tickets for the Boston Pops concert range from $50 to $120. To purchase tickets or for more information, call (718) 793-8080 or visit www.kupferbergcenter.org.
“There isn’t a more exciting way to celebrate the season than by sharing wonderful music with families and friends, and no better way to do that than by experiencing the joyous sounds of a Holiday Pops concert,” Leon Denmark, artistic director of Kupferberg Presents, said.
If you cannot make it to the Queens College show and still want to see the Boston Pops, they will make an appearance that Sunday afternoon at the Eisenhower Hall Auditorium in West Point.
Reach Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @Joey788.