‘Holiday Singin’ Pops’ kicks off the holiday season at Strathmore

To kickstart the Christmas season, the National Philharmonic and the National Philharmonic Chorale performed Holiday Singin’ Pops at the Music Center at Strathmore with guest performers.

The two-act show showcased three singers (Ali Ewoldt, Hilary Morrow, Kevin Rose), an 8-year-old tap dancer (Addalie Burns), and the National Philharmonic Chorale. The stage was beautifully set with three lit Christmas trees and lighted garlands in the back and featured 14 songs with a mix of traditional classics and contemporary songs like George Michael’s “Last Christmas.” Santa Claus made a special appearance before the show and returned for the last song.

The opening number “The Christmas Song” featured jazzy beats reminiscent of the musical Chicago (Kevin Rose sang). Conductor Luke Frazier explained that indeed, John Kander, Chicago’s composer inspired the brass in this song. Frazier, a man who clearly loves his job, enthusiastically shared interesting tidbits after several of the songs.

Burns enthusiastically and expertly tapped her way through “Rudolph” with joyous applause by the audience.

Morrow displayed her skills as a chanteuse purring the song “Santa Baby/ Let Me Entertain You,” a medley of an Eartha Kitt and the musical Gypsy. She embodied the song with body language and facial expressions. Someone buy this woman a yacht for Christmas. She deserves it after that song rendition.

The finale of “O’ Holy Night” with Ewoldt and chorus brought tears to my eyes. It was like they were singing so loud and so high that the heavens could hear them. The sopranos in the chorus brought the spine-tingling chills to a new height. Ewoldt also wore beautiful costumes through-out the night.

Holiday Singin’ Pops was a one-night-only, but we look forward to future collaborations between the National Philharmonic and the National Philharmonic Chorale.

Holiday Singin’ Pops performed one night only on December 6, 2019, at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane in Bethesda, MD.

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Marlene Hall
Marlene Hall grew up an army brat and has lived all over the world and in Washington, DC where she was constantly exposed to theater and music. Marlene graduated from the University of Virginia where she wrote for the Cavalier Daily interviewing musicians. Commissioned as an Air Force officer, she served 8 years. She now works as a realtor with eXp Realty. In addition, Marlene dabbles in improvisational comedy and has taken classes at the famed iO Theater in Chicago and the DC Improv. She is very active in the DC charity and social scene and contributes her time to veterans’ organizations Team Rubicon and Team Red, White, and Blue. She also was a supernumerary in the Washington National Opera’s Carmen with opera singer Denyce Graves. She loves the music and theater scene in DC and goes to as many concerts and shows as possible.


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