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holiday pops

The Missoula Symphony will present its Holiday Pops concert this month.

When Music Director Darko Butorac took the helm of the Missoula Symphony Orchestra seven years ago, he inherited one of Missoula’s most beloved traditions, the “Holiday Pops” concert.

Since then, the annual show has the symphony playing to a sold out house every year.

“I am thrilled this concert has become so popular,” Butorac said. “I’m truly honored that the Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Chorale have become such an integral part of kicking off the holiday season for the community.”

“Holiday Pops” takes place on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 7, at 3 p.m., in the Dennison Theatre on the University of Montana campus.

According to Butorac, there’s a reason this concert continues to be so popular in its 15th year.

“We get the best arrangements of holiday selections for orchestra and chorus, which keeps it fresh,” he said. “Guarantee although you’ll have heard most, if not all, of these pieces before, you’ve never heard these arrangements. It’s going to be a fabulous show.”

As is tradition, the 100 members of the chorale join the orchestra for the second half of the concert. Butorac promises both new and old, secular and sacred.

“I’m going to apologize right now to all those who will have ‘Let it Go’ from the movie ‘Frozen’ in their heads the entire month of December,” he said.

In addition to playing music from the instant Disney classic, the audience can expect music from the movie “Home Alone,” “Carol of the Bells,” selections from “The Nutcracker,” “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” and “Jingle Bells,” to name a few.

Santa Claus will again make an appearance, handing out candy canes and spreading holiday cheer.

Another tradition, now in its fourth year, is the “Encore Auction.” Popular with symphonies nationwide, this fundraising technique allows the audience to donate money to “vote” for their favorite holiday piece for an encore.

“This year we’re bringing back the ‘Halleluiah Chorus,’ which handedly won the first two years, and pitting it against another perennial favorite, ‘Sleigh Ride,’ ” he said.

Whichever piece raises the most through individual donations, small and large, will be performed as an encore. Butorac reminds people to bring their wallets, as only cash and checks are accepted.

Tickets, which sell out fast, are available online at, by phone at 721-3194, or in person at the Symphony office at 320 East Main Street.

For more information on “Holiday Pops” and the MSO, visit

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