I had been wondering all month where Christmas disappeared to. I heard exactly 3 carols in stores and it seems the decorations have been downsized. “Merry Christmas” is no longer said, instead we get the generic “Happy Holidays.” I miss the Christmas’s of old and last night I was appeased by the wonderful New York City Pops at Carnegie Hall under the musical direction by Steven Reineke. Under the Mistletoe, the pops holiday concert December 21st and 22nd is just what I needed to get back into the Christmas spirit.
The orchestra, along with Judith Clurman’s Essential Voices USA started off in the traditional route with a rousing “Deck the Halls” followed by “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.
This year’s guest was the amazing Ashley Brown (Broadway’s original Mary Poppins, and Belle in the Broadway version of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast). Ms. Brown was delighted to be at Carnegie Hall.
Her ex-boss Tom Schumacher was there to cheer her on as she did a fabulous rendition of “Jingle Bells”, “Winter Wonderland” and the Grinch’s “Where Are You Christmas”.
The Pop’s Steven Reineke then led the Pops in a delightful “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and the Pops standard “JingleBell Rock”.
Judith Clurman’s Essential Voices USA joined back in with “The First Noel”.
Ashley stunning in red and looking very Jessica Rabbit sand a haunting “I Wonder as I Wander”, a heartfelt “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and a hilarious Holiday Hit’s Medley”.
This girl does a mean Mariah Carey.
For Act II a thrilling “Carol of The Bells” by the NY Pops.
Larry Hochman and Judith Clurman arranged a Hanukkah Medley for ‘s Essential Voices USA. They also performed a beautiful “Christmas Is Here”.
In a form fitting black velvet Ashley Brown sang the wonderful Sammy Kahn and Jimmy Van Heusen song “The Secret Of Christmas”.
Singing the Macy’s song “I Believe”, Santa and his elf Pecan Pie appeared.
Santa conducted “Sleigh Ride” as James F. Saporito entertained the audience with the clapper.
Ashley returned glittering to sing a song her singing teacher wrote called “Be a Gift to a World in Need”.
Ms. Brown has a stunning range and it was showed off to it’s best in the Sandi Patti rendition of “O Holy Night,” which was glorious.
To end the night a “Jingle Jangle Sing-Along”.
It was the perfect holiday treat. My guest was thrilled that I brought her and agreed with me this was well needed!
The New York Pops’ 2018-19 season includes: Unforgettable on Friday, February 8 at 8:00 p.m. with Nikki Renée Daniels and Ryan Shaw; Movie Mixtape, Friday, March 15 at 8:00 p.m. with Mykal Kilgore, Storm Large, Ashley Park and Ryan Silverman; and the orchestra’s 36th Birthday Gala on Monday, April 29 at 7:00 p.m. paying tribute to the music of Cyndi Lauper.