After 15 years, the Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Chorale's annual "Holiday Pops" has become a sold-out tradition for many Missoulians.
"It's become an institution for the holidays," said MSO music director and conductor Darko Butorac.
The program includes selections that match the change in weather, the spirit of the season and tunes "we all grow with as well," Butorac said.
Audiences can expect full orchestra and chorus arrangements of "Carol the Bells," "Nutcracker," and "I'll Be Home for Christmas."
"We are performing a really fun, jazzy variation on 'Jingle Bells' as well as a wide variety of some beautiful, lesser-known songs and carols, including one of my favorites, 'In the Bleak Midwinter,' " said MSO Chorale director Dean Peterson.
Another unusual selection is a Christmas calypso, "Mary's Boy Little Chile," which Peterson said was arranged for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
There are a slate of more recent hits, such as songs from the hit Disney film "Frozen." Another Hollywood favorite is a medley of composer John Williams' music for "Home Alone."
"The audience is in for some joyous and wonderful music that will really help kick off their holiday season," Peterson said.
While planning its program, Butorac said the MSO "tries to find the best arrangements for the orchestra possible."
For instance, they'll use Hollywood-sourced versions of pop standards such as "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."
The audience encore is back again this year as well. During the intermission, concert-goers will cast their votes and wallets between two "heavyweights": the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's "Messiah" and "Sleigh Ride." The "Hallelujah Chorus" has won the past two years.
The selection that raises the most money through individual donations will be performed as the encore.
Butorac said it's been a fun and successful way to raise money for the symphony's programs during the previous three "Holiday Pops" concerts.