A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season! | The Philly Pops
 
A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season!

A Philly POPS Christmas: Spectacular Sounds of the Season!

David Charles Abell, Conductor

Verizon Hall, Kimmel Center for Performing Arts

300 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
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Dec 6-21, 2019
See All Dates & Times
Fri, Dec 6, 2019
8PM
CHRISTMAS SALUTE
8PM
Sat, Dec 7, 2019
3PM
3PM
Sun, Dec 8, 2019
3PM
3PM
Wed, Dec 11, 2019
8PM
8PM
Sat, Dec 14, 2019
3PM
3PM
Sun, Dec 15, 2019
3PM
3PM
Wed, Dec 18, 2019
8PM
8PM
Fri, Dec 20, 2019
3PM
3PM
Sat, Dec 21, 2019
3PM
3PM
Featuring

Mandy Gonzalez, vocalist

The Melodica Men, guest artists

After the energy and sparkle of his hugely successful 2013, 2014, and 2015 Christmas shows, audiences eagerly anticipated Principal Guest Conductor David Charles Abell’s holiday homecoming.  

David’s back with an original program featuring The Philly POPS Festival Chorus, The Philadelphia Boys Choir, The African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas Gospel Choir, and organist Peter Richard Conte. 

Joining in for the fun is Broadway royalty Mandy Gonzalez — fresh from her breakout performance in Hamilton — returning her incandescent warmth and fabulous dresses to Philly’s favorite holiday tradition.  Last Christmas, audiences fell in love with Mandy’s celestial vocal power and infectious charm. Expect to hear her heart-stopping interpretations of all the classics, as well as “Let it Go” from Disney’s Frozen, which she sang in front of Independence Hall on July 3, 2017 in her trademark fashion!  

The program will also feature the Melodica Men, two Julliard and Peabody Conservatory graduates who achieved fame on YouTube with their viral videos. We hear that, at Christmas, they even come as elves. 

Guest Artists

David Charles Abell, Principal Guest Conductor

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David made his Philly POPS debut in 2013 with the Christmas Spectacular series and was delighted to be asked back to conduct it again in 2014 and 2015. Last season, he returned for Blockbuster Broadway, and was named Principal Guest Conductor of the Philly POPS shortly thereafter.

David grew up in Philadelphia. He attended Germantown Friends School from kindergarten through sixth grade and sang in the choir of Grace Church in Mt. Airy. He later attended Yale University and the Juilliard School, and studied at the Conservatoire américain in France with legendary pedagogue Nadia Boulanger.

At age 12, he met Leonard Bernstein while singing in the world premiere of Mass at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Ten years later, he was asked to assist his teacher, John Mauceri, for the Tenth Anniversary production of Mass. This led to a close association with Bernstein, both as a conducting student and as an editor of Bernstein’s music during the last decade of the composer’s life.

David’s face is widely known to American TV audiences from his conducting of the two Les Misérables Anniversary Concerts (10th and 25th), both of which have become PBS fund-raising perennials. He regularly appears on radio and television in the UK, where he has lived since 1996. He has conducted five times at the BBC Proms, London’s annual music festival at the Royal Albert Hall, most notably for the immensely successful Sondheim 80th birthday celebration. Following his English National Opera debut with Sweeney Todd in 2015, he returned with Carousel to rave reviews last season.

David has conducted the French premieres of four Sondheim musicals: Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park With George, Into the Woods and Follies. In concert, he has worked with several French orchestras and will be making his debut with the Orchestra national de Lyon and the Orchestre national d’Île-de-France later this year.

His passion and expertise in the pit has earned him a thriving US opera career. Last September, he made his Opera Philadelphia debut with The Magic Flute. He has conducted Kevin Puts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Silent Night to great acclaim at three U.S. companies. Later this season, he will be conducting Verdi’s Rigoletto in Kansas City and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin at Hawaii Opera Theatre.

A desire to leave a lasting legacy prompted David to co-edit the first-ever scholarly critical edition of a classic Broadway hit: Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate. Using the model of authentic editions of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, he and Seann Alderking unearthed the original 1948 orchestra parts for the show and meticulously created new scores and parts, now available for sale and rental. David has since conducted two productions of Kate based on the new edition.

His ever-increasing catalogue of recordings includes Something’s Gotta Give with baritone Simon Keenlyside, Forever with soprano Diana Damrau, excerpts from La bohème and Madama Butterfly with the Royal Philharmonic, Jonathan Dove’s community opera Tobias and the Angel, complete recordings of the musicals Miss Saigon and Man of La Mancha, and, exclusively for the Philly POPS, the 2015 Christmas Spectacular CD.

Mandy Gonzalez

Mandy Gonzalez, vocalist

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Mandy Gonzalez possesses one of the most powerful and versatile contemporary voices of our time. Currently starring as Angelica Schuyler in the Broadway juggernaut Hamilton, she is perhaps best known for her emotional portrayal of Nina Rosario in the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, In The Heights, a role she originally created Off-Broadway at 37 Arts, and for which she received a Drama Desk Award for Best Ensemble. She has starred as Elphaba in the Broadway production of Wicked, blowing the roof off of New York’s Gershwin Theatre each night as she belted out the signature song, “Defying Gravity,” and for which she was honored with a Broadway.com Award for Best Replacement. Other Broadway roles include Princess Amneris in the Elton John and Tim Rice musical, Aida, and Lennon, where she portrayed multiple roles including Beatles icon John Lennon. Mandy made her Broadway debut in Jim Steinman’s Dance of the Vampires, starring opposite Michael Crawford.

Mandy received an OBIE Award and overwhelming critical praise for her performance in the Off-Broadway production of Eli’s Comin’, directed by Diane Paulus, and based on the music and lyrics of singer-songwriter Laura Nyro. Television viewers have had the pleasure of seeing Mandy recur as Agent Susan Combs on the hit series “Quantico,” as well as guest appearances on “Doubt,” “White Collar,” “The Good Wife,” among others.

Equally at home on the big and small screen, she has appeared in “Across the Universe,” directed by Julie Taymor, “After,” starring opposite Pablo Schreiber, and “Man on a Ledge” with Sam Worthington. Mandy can be heard as the voice of Mei in Disney’s “Mulan 2,” on recordings of the original Broadway cast album of “In the Heights,” “Kerrigan-Lowdermilk Live,” and “The Man Who Would Be King."

A frequent concert soloist, she has performed with symphony orchestras including Cleveland Orchestra, Philly Pops, Naples Philharmonic, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Arkansas, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Youngstown Symphonies She has also started working on her first solo album with plans for a 2017 release. Mandy can currently be seen as the recurring character Lucy Knox on the hit CBS drama, “Madam Secretary.”

The Melodica Men

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What started off as two guys playing toy instruments for fun is now an internationally-acclaimed musical duo. Joe Buono and Tristan Clarke became friends while studying music at the Peabody Conservatory, and they have been playing melodica together since May 2016. A melodica is like a cross between a keyboard and a harmonica because you have to blow air into it to make the reeds inside vibrate. 

In July 2016, the Melodica Men funded their tour of Seattle and Paris by busking in the street. In September 2016, their "Rite of Spring" video went viral and gained over 1.5 million views in one day. In December 2016, they played their solo debut with the Jacksonville Symphony at the Holiday Pops concert series. Since then, they have been soloists with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, featured on ABC's "The Gong Show,” briefly seen on NBC's "America's Got Talent,” and have gained 230,000+ social media followers and over 30 million views worldwide thus far. You can find the Melodica Men on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. 

Behind the scenes, the Melodica Men are pioneering a new way of learning music as a language through the melodica. Pilot programs in elementary schools will start in January 2018, and a full online curriculum is in the works. You can find out more about their music education mission on Patreon. 

Tristan is a graduate of the Juilliard School and plays principal trumpet with the Jacksonville Symphony. Joe has earned two Masters degrees from the Peabody Conservatory and is currently teaching and composing.

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