Last year, the Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Chorale responded to seasonal demand by adding a third concert for the first time.
The standard two Holiday Pops shows were selling out far enough in advance that it seemed necessary. The extra concert proved popular, filling about 800 seats of the thousand-plus Dennison Theatre at the University of Montana. As of this writing, there likely aren't any tickets left for the first two, making that extra Sunday evening show necessary once again.
"This is Missoula's go-to Christmas concert," said music director Darko Butorac.
As in years past, the symphony will present a "melange" of seasonal music, he said. Listeners can expect choral music to showcase its singers, classical picks from the orchestra, holiday standards featuring a jazz singer, and wintry selections from movie scores.
The orchestra will provide big band-like accompaniment for singer Emily Daniels, a recent graduate from the University of Montana jazz program, on "Let It Snow!," "The Christmas Song," and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."
"It's a great opportunity to highlight someone who's a talent and very much local to our community," Butorac said, complimenting her "beautiful voice and nice stage presence."
Two pieces by English composer John Rutter represent new additions to the repertoire of English carols, Butorac said. They're excerpts from a larger work, "When Icicles Hang." "The Good Ale" is a "boisterous and energetic" song, while "Blow Blow, Thou Winter Wind" sets Shakespeare's words to music.
On the classical end of the spectrum, look for Prokofiev's "Troika," and Tchaikovsky's "Pas de deux" from the "Nutcracker."
A few of the selections are seasonal without relating to Christmas explicitly: Danny Elfman's "Ice Dance," from the film "Edward Scissorhands" is "beautiful, winter-evoking piece," Butorac said. Johann Strauss's "Blue Danube Waltz" and Hans Christian Lumbye's "Champagne Galop" are favorites for the New Year. The latter even has percussion imitating the pop of a champagne cork.
This year, the concert will feature the annual "encore auction," in which audience members can vote with their dollars to choose the finale. The nonprofit Missoula Symphony Association board will match every dollar donated.
"This year, we thought we would pit a generational battle," Butorac said. "The most famous children's movie of the 1990s, 'Home Alone,' versus this decade's, which is 'Frozen.' "