Butler Philharmonic pops concert to include holiday favorites

Featured piano soloist, Victoria Fatu, will join the Butler Philharmonic Orchestra for a concert on Saturday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. The concert will be broadcast by TV Hamilton. CONTRIBUTED

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Featured piano soloist, Victoria Fatu, will join the Butler Philharmonic Orchestra for a concert on Saturday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. The concert will be broadcast by TV Hamilton. CONTRIBUTED

Show will be lighthearted, orchestra conductor says

Butler Philharmonic Orchestra & BPO Chorus with guest vocalist Kelly MacKenzie-Thurley will present “A Holiday Pops Concert” and aim to fill the auditorium with the spirit of the season.

“This is an all-holiday program. So, we’re encouraging people to come with the holiday spirit,” said Scott Woodard, music director and conductor of the orchestra.

The concert is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

He said there’s something in the program for everyone, including classic selections from “The Nutcracker,” as well as some other surprise pieces that don’t often get played.

“This concert is specifically a pops program. It’s lighthearted and it’s meant for everybody to leave with the Christmas spirit in their hearts,” Woodard said.

The evening concert will feature the Butler Philharmonic Orchestra with a 50-piece orchestra, the BPO Chorus directed by Scott Wyatt, and special guest vocalist, Kelly MacKenzie-Thurley.

“The BPO really is a family, and I think it’s nice to be able to present something from our family to yours, especially this time of year, and what better way than music to do it,” Woodard said, “There will even be an opportunity at the end of the concert for everybody to sing along. We will be doing the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ from Handel’s Messiah.”

The concert will be performed in two sets with an intermission. Songs on the program will include some classic, traditional Christmas songs, such as “The Nutcracker Suite,” and several songs from popular Christmas movies, including “The Polar Express” and “Home Alone.”

MacKenzie-Thurley will sing during both sets of the program. She will sing three to four songs on the first half, and after intermission, she will return to the stage to perform three or four more songs with the orchestra.

“Kelly is Hamilton’s own. She will be performing pops, jazz and Christmas standards that everybody knows,” Woodard said, “Kelly is a world-class talent, right here in our own backyard.”

He said the concert is an opportunity for community members to gather during a special time of the year and to hear three musical entities in the community – BPO, the BPO Chorus and MacKenzie-Thurley.

“I’m really looking forward to bringing the community together on something like this. It’s fun and lighthearted. At this time of year, we can all just cut loose and have a good time,” Woodard said.

For a program like this, I enjoy doing songs that people know, he said, they are going to leave whistling the tunes and singing along. So, a lot of the songs were selected with that in mind, he said.

“In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we just want this to be a feel-good kind of an experience for everybody,” Woodard said.

How to go

What: Christmas with the Butler Philharmonic Orchestra & BPO Chorus featuring vocalist Kelly MacKenzie-Thurley – “A Holiday Pops Concert”

Where: Parrish Auditorium, Miami University Hamilton, 1601 University Blvd., Hamilton

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Cost: $20 adults; $16 for senior adults and students. Children under age 12 are free

More info: www.butlerphil.org. Note: Masks required by Miami University