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8 Reasons to Spend the Holiday Season with your SLSO

By Katy Trimble

Make lasting memories this holiday season by giving your loved ones the gift of live music by your St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. This December, a prolific composer conducts the score to one of his many films, several rising musical stars make their SLSO debuts, and a renowned Mozart specialist leads an all-Mozart program. Concerts range from classical music to jazz and Big Band, gospel, and traditional holiday favorites.

Need more reasons to visit Powell Hall this December? Below are eight reasons to celebrate the holiday season with your SLSO:

The glorious tradition of Handel’s Messiah returns

The month of holiday concerts opens with one of the most recognizable choral masterpieces of all time—G.F. Handel’s Messiah. Internationally acclaimed conductor Laurence Cummings leads the SLSO and St. Louis Symphony Chorus alongside four talented guest soloists, all making their SLSO debuts—taking audiences on a journey through the nativity, passion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. This treasured work, which includes the “Hallelujah” Chorus, will lift your spirits and warm your hearts December 2-4.

Rising Star Jazz Vocalist Samara Joy joins The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Special guest vocalist Samara Joy joins the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in spreading holiday cheer on December 5 on its Big Band Holiday tour, led by musician Victor Goines—newly appointed president and CEO of Jazz St. Louis. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra has been performing a vast repertoire of music all around the world since 1988. Joy, 24-year-old jazz singing sensation, rose to fame after being named an Ella Fitzgerald Scholar and winning the 2019 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. Check cheer and laughter off your list when you hear fresh, swinging arrangements of holiday classics and Joy’s velvety vocals.

Mozart Specialist Jane Glover leads an all-Mozart program

Jane Glover—named Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen in 2021—will return to the Emerson Concert Stage to lead the SLSO in an all-Mozart program. Glover is often referred to as “one of the finest Mozartians of our day” (Chicago Classical Review), having conducted every Mozart opera all over the world. SLSO Concertmaster David Halen will join Glover to perform Mozart’s gallant and brilliant Violin Concerto No. 4 December 7-9.

Grammy-nominated artist Sheléa joins the IN UNISON Chorus for A Gospel Christmas

The SLSO’s annual Gospel Christmas concert returns on December 15 as the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus and Director Kevin McBeth join the SLSO to perform with this year’s guest artist, Sheléa. The Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter, and pianist has earned international recognition by working with and wowing a long list of music icons including Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, and David Foster. Her success can also be attributed to her hit single “I’ll Never Let You Go”, a tribute to Whitney Houston that quickly became a viral sensation. Rejoice in the gospel renditions of this soulful St. Louis holiday tradition.

The SLSO travels to St. Charles to spread holiday cheer at Lindenwood University

Get in the holiday spirit at the SLSO’s annual Holiday Celebration led by conductor, vocalist, and trumpeter Byron Stripling. The concerts start at Powell Hall December 16-18, then takes the holiday show on the road to Lindenwood University December 20-21 for the second year in a row. Sing along to your favorite holiday classics as Byron Stripling ignites the crowd with his jazzy vocals and contagious smile.

Oscar-nominated composer John Debney makes his SLSO debut conducting his own film score: Elf in Concert

John Debney takes the stage on December 29-30 conducting his very own score live to the hilarious film Elf. Debney—long-time collaborator of The Walt Disney Company, Academy Award nominee, and three-time Emmy winner—is known as one of the most prolific composers in Hollywood history. The film, television, and video game score composer utilizes his extensive knowledge of contemporary sounds and training in classical music to create memorable compositions for a wide array of genres, including the film scores to The Passion of Christ, Bruce Almighty, I Know What You Did Last Summer, The Princess Diaries, and of course, Elf. Watch Buddy the Elf travel from the North Pole to New York on the big screen as John Debney leads the SLSO in his adventurous and amusing score.

The year ends on a high note with the New Year's Eve Celebration

Ring in 2023 with music at the annual New Year's Eve Celebration (two concerts) on December 31. Stephanie Childress—Assistant Conductor and Music Director of the Youth Orchestra— leads the SLSO in one of St. Louis’ most beloved traditions. Enjoy a program filled with musical favorites, festive surprises, and holiday fun for the whole family.

Powell Hall is decked out in magnificent decor during the holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year at Powell Hall! The building is decked out in its holiday finest—with the beloved red velvet carpet and gold detailing complemented by green garland, red ribbon, and twinkling lights. And of course, Santa comes to town! Powell Hall is truly the ideal place to make meaningful holiday memories with the people you love.

To learn more about all of the SLSO’s upcoming holiday concerts and purchase tickets, browse the event calendar here.


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