One of my favorite seasonal treats is attending the New York Pops annual holiday celebrations. This year Making The Season Bright brought together to sets of siblings. Broadway and Jazz sisters Ann Hampton Callaway and Liz Callaway and cabaret darlings Anthony Nunziata and Will Nunziata.
Staring the celebration off, Steven Reineke, conductor and arranger for the Pops, as well as Essential Voices USA energetically and cheerfully launched into a Reineke arrangement of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
Carnegie Hall filled with the glorious sounds of New York’s finest treasures The New York Pops.
“Silver Bells” another Reineke brought all the siblings together. The Nunziata twins shimmered in sequin jackets and shoes. Ann showed off her thrilling alto in “Winter Wonderland,” followed by Will on “The Christmas Song,” Anthony on “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and the piece de resistance Liz reprising her role as the singing Anastasia (coming to Broadway in 2017). The Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens “Once Upon a December into ”Journey to the Past” was magical.
The beautiful “The Chanukah Song” (“We Are Lights”) by Stephen Schwartz and Maoz Tsur, from “Songs of Freedom: A Celebration of Chanukah” brought out the best of Essential Voices USA, led by Judith Clurman. I had never heard “The Chanukah Song” and found it extremely moving. Also as a note Brian Stokes Mitchell helped with the arrangement of Maoz Tsur’s song.
Rounding out the first act Stephen Reineke arrangement of the spiritual uptempo “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” left the audience ready for more.
Coming back The New York Pops teamed with Essential Voices USA, for “We Need A Little Christmas” from Mame. “Liz sand a heartfelt “Grown-Up Christmas List,” making this the song America and the world should be making their theme song. The sisters teamed with “Silent Night/Mary, Did You Know?” This lush arrangement again by Reineke was filled with warm tones.
A New York Pops staple the Reineke arrangement of ”Jingle Bell Rock,” had the crowd swinging and swaying.
The next song seemed less seasonal as the Nuziata’s sang “Carnegie Hall” written by John Bucchino and Michael Feinstein, written for Mr. Feinstein. Off the twins new album the title song “The Gift Is You.”
One of the highlights was Ann Hampton Callaway singing the (Schermerhorn/Whatley arrangement Steven Reineke) “Yes, Virginia,” which is on her Christmas album.
Irving Berlin’s White Christmas came to life as the four took to the stage. I would love to see Ann play the title role as her voice is so suited to this material.
Santa and an audience Sing-Along completed the evening that almost made you wish for snow. There is no better present to New York than this marvelous orchestra.
What better way is it for The New York Pops to enters it’s thirty-fourth year Friday March 10, 2017 with Life is a Cabaret: The Songs of Kander and Ebb. Mr. Kander is celebrating his 90th Birthday! So look for some special surprises to occur.
The New York Pops Making The Season Bright: Carnegie Hall, December 16 and 17
article Suzanna Bowling