As a special add-on for the holiday season, the Santa Barbara Symphony is performing the Holiday Pops concert to lift locals into the season’s mood. Led by New York-based conductor Andy Einhorn, who conducted the 2017 Tony Award-winning revival of “Hello Dolly,” the December 7 concert at the Granada Theatre will see the symphony performing alongside a UCSB choir and Broadway singer Christiane Noll, together delivering a program of classic holiday tunes that Mr. Einhorn described as tailored specifically for the Santa Barbara community.
Though Holiday Pops marks Mr. Einhorn’s first time working with the Santa Barbara Symphony, the conductor is no stranger to producing these sorts of holiday-themed concerts and is even producing another show during the month of December in South Dakota. In an interview with the News-Press, Mr. Einhorn said what he particularly enjoys about producing holiday concerts is the challenge of designing a program for a specific locality. For example, whereas the South Dakota community he’s producing Holiday Pops for particularly likes religious Christmas music, for Santa Barbara he isn’t going “full-tilt religious” and has instead devised a program of secular holiday tunes that represent “the lighter, happier version of Christmas.”
He explained, “When I think of California, I think of more laid-back.”
In addition to secular Christmas standards, the program Mr. Einhorn has set up for December’s first full weekend will also include a few Hanukkah numbers and songs from holiday TV shows and movies like “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “The Polar Express,” and “The Sound of Music.”
He added, “We’re also doing something with ‘The Nutcracker,’ but it’s not the traditional ‘Nutcracker.’”
When asked what he meant by “not traditional,” the conductor retorted that the Holiday Pops version will be “jazzy.”
Though only two weeks away, Mr. Einhorn has not yet undergone rehearsals with the Santa Barbara Symphony, Ms. Noll, or the UCSB choir. While it’s common that professional symphonies don’t start rehearsing for a concert until a few days before the performance, Mr. Einhorn told the News-Press that he and his colleagues will be cutting it even closer than usual by only rehearsing the day of the performance. This may seem daunting, but Mr. Einhorn said that he and others who speak the “language” of music for can get on the same page very quickly.
“They’re professionals, and that’s what we do,” he said.Tickets for Holiday Pops cost between $31 and $137 and can be purchased online at www.granadasb.org. The concert will begin at 8 p.m. at the Granada Theatre, located at 1214 State St.