The Boston Pops at Christmas: How do you make it new?
Lockhart’s expectation? “Kind of like being the parent who bought the shiny new bicycle and watching the kid unwrapping it,” he replies.
The Tanglewood Festival Chorus has been a longtime collaborator with the Pops, and last year its standout hit was “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The chorus will reprise it this year. It’s a very familiar song that Lockhart jokes could sound like “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” if not done well. The chorus’s nontraditional, virtuosic version got a deserved standing ovation last year after its first Symphony Hall performance.
“It’s a great Irish stew with everything in there,” says Lockhart. “There are quotes from The Nutcracker and the ‘Hallelujah Chorus,’ but the funniest of them all is when [Queen’s] Bohemian Rhapsody comes in. That’s the point where the audience absolutely loses it.”
Lockhart will conduct 22 of the Pops’ Symphony Hall performances; three other conductors share the remainder. (Check www.bostonpops.org for the schedule.) Lockhart and the Pops also have 11 out-of-town dates, which began November 30 in South Carolina. In New England, there are six non-Boston concerts:
December 6 at Jorgensen Auditorium in Storrs, Connecticut
December 13 at Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Connecticut
December 14 at Verizon Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire
December 20, two shows, at Lowell Memorial Auditorium in Lowell, Massachusetts
December 21 at DCU Arena in Worcester, Massachusetts.
View a video of Keith Lockhart talking about the Pops and other concerts from last summer.
Read more about arts and culture in the Boston area at jimsullivanink.com.