ST. PETERSBURG, FL – This year The Florida Orchestra is decking the concert halls in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater with a packed schedule of diverse holiday programs, starting with a special performance of Handel’s entire Messiah with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay Ensemble Singers in early December and continuing into January with a New Year’s Waltz concert.
The holiday season kicks off the weekend of December 4-6 with Messiah and its triumphant “Hallelujah” chorus, one of the most famous choral works in the world. For the first time in 14 years, The Florida Orchestra will join the Master Chorale for Handel’s entire oratorio. The last such TFO performance was in December 2001. The Tampa Bay Times Masterworks concert also includes four soloists and the USF Chamber Singers, under the baton of guest conductor David Lockington. Free Classical Kids tickets for ages 5-18 are available for this and all Masterworks concerts. A pre-concert conversation with insight into the iconic work starts one hour before the performance.
For a festive night out with family and friends, it’s the popular Holiday Pops the next weekend on December 11-13, including a Saturday matinee that won’t spoil anyone’s bedtime.On the program is Sleigh Ride, White Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life Suite, Fantasia on Greensleeves, sing-along carols and a jolly rendition of Twas the Night Before Christmas narrated by Trevor Pettiford of Bay News 9. Guest conductor Bob Bernhardt will be the merry host, with Mela Dailey on vocals, for this Raymond James Pops concert. Note: TFO will be collecting for Tampa Bay Harvest and Toys for Tots at these performances.
Stressed shoppers can leave the mall behind and go back to a simpler time with An Old World Christmas morning Coffee Concert that includes Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, Handel’s “Pifa” from Messiah and Corelli’s Christmas Concerto. All served up with complimentary coffee and doughnuts, along with a pre-concert conversation one hour before the performance and witty commentary by Principal Guest Conductor Stuart Malina. The concert kicks off the expanded Ruth Eckerd Hall Coffee Concert series, on December 16, with another performance December 17 at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.
Celebrate the New Year with new Music Director Michael Francis in a Viennese and waltz-themed program January 8-10. New Year’s Waltz includes Ravel’s Valses nobles et sentimentales, Johann Strauss Jr’s Wiener Blut (Vienna Blood), Richard Strauss’ Suite from Der Rosenkavalier and the TFO premiere of H.K. Gruber’s outrageous Charivari with its raucous and humorous treatment of both the polka and waltz. The concert also features cellist Maximilian Hornung in his TFO debut performing Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme. Free Classical Kids tickets are available for this Tampa Bay Times Masterworks concert.
The orchestra regularly performs Fridays at the Straz Center in Tampa, Saturdays at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, and Sundays at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, except where noted. Tickets for Masterworks and Pops concerts are the same low prices of $15, $30 and $45. Coffee Concert tickets start at $24.
Where holiday music wishes come true
The Florida Orchestra (TFO) is a non-profit, premier cultural and arts organization in the Tampa Bay area, dedicated to bringing music to all people. Under the leadership of new Music Director Michael Francis, it performs series of classical, popular, rock and morning coffee concerts in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as free Pops in the Park concerts. Connecting to the community is a priority, with pre-concert talks, family and youth concerts and other educational activities. Kids get in free to classical Masterworks concerts with Classical Kids tickets.
To subscribe or buy individual concert tickets: 727.892.3337 or 1.800.662.7286; floridaorchestra.org.