Music plays a big part in celebrating the holiday season, and Cape Ann Symphony is keeping that tradition alive with its annual Holiday Pops Concert.
Performances will be held three times this weekend, once in Ipswich and twice in Manchester-by-the-Sea. The Sunday afternoon concert is already sold out, but tickets are still available in both communities for Saturday.
Yoichi Udagawa, the Cape Ann Symphony conductor and music director, said that the joyful musical program will include selections from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” along with Leroy Anderson’s “A Christmas Festival,” Bach’s “Little Fugue in G minor,” Randol Alan Bass’ “Gloria,” Victor Herbert’s “March of the Toys,” “Carol of the Drum” by Katherine Davis and Ray Wright, Calvin Custer’s “Winter Wonderland,” and John Rutter’s “What Sweeter Music.”
Holiday Pops also features the return of the Cape Ann Symphony Chorus under the direction of Rockport’s Wendy Betts, as well as the Ipswich High School Bel Canto Select Women’s Chorus in Ipswich and the Manchester Essex Regional High School Select Chorus in Manchester. The student choruses will perform the “Hallelujah” chorus from Handel’s “Messiah” and Bill Holcombe’s “Festive Sounds of Hanukkah.”
This year, a Holiday Pops highlight will be the debut of student cellist Jake Copp, 16, the winner of the inaugural Cape Ann Symphony Young Musicians Competition. He will make his professional debut at all three concerts when he performs Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Allegro Appassionato.” Copp is a student of Cape Ann Symphony cellist Dorothy Braker.
Udagawa is eager to introduce the competition winner to Cape Ann Symphony audiences.
“We had some terrific young candidates, and it was a difficult choice,” he said. “But I know everyone will really enjoy Jake’s passionate playing.”
Udagawa said that the orchestra musicians are always thrilled to perform in the Holiday Pops Concert.
“We love sharing the stage with our wonderful chorus, as well as the student choruses,” he said.
Cape Ann Symphony launched the symphony chorus at the 2005 Holiday Pops concert, and it has become an integral part of the program.
The chorale brings together more than 75 voices from the North Shore area, the majority of which live on Cape Ann.
Betts, a voice teacher and choral director, applauds the chorus members for their hard work and diligence to create a polished choral sound.
“But best of all, they truly enjoy one another, which is what choral singing is all about — making music together,” she said.
Betts is the organist and director of music arts at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Topsfield, and she serves as music chairwoman for the Women’s Council of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Wenham.
If you go
What: Cape Ann Symphony’s Holiday Pops Concert
When and where: Saturday, 2 p.m., Dolan Performing Arts Center, Ipswich High School, 134 High St., Ipswich, and 7:30 p.m., Manchester Essex High School, 36 Lincoln St., Manchester-by-the-Sea
How much: $43 for adults, $38 for seniors, $15 for students of any age with valid ID, and $5 for youths 12 and under
More information: 978-281-0543 or www.capeannsymphony.org