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Tickets are going fast for Missoula Symphony Orchestra and Chorale’s Holiday Pops concert, a tradition for Missoulians looking to get into the Christmas spirit.

The annual series is set for Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8 at the Dennison Theatre at the University of Montana and will feature both the chorale and orchestra on stage for the entirety of the show for the first time in several years. In the past, the chorale has left the stage for a section exclusive to just the symphony orchestra.

“This year, both ensembles will be on stage the entire concert,” said Jo May Salonen, executive director of the Missoula Symphony Association. “The repertoire will be a mix of just the orchestra, chorale and orchestra, and one or two selections with just the chorale.”

The program includes classics like “Deck the Halls” and “Candlelight Carol,” a version of country holiday hit “Christmas Memories” by Alabama Band, songs from Robert Shaw’s “Many Moods of Christmas” and music from Disney’s animated favorite "Frozen."

Guest conductor Gordon Johnson will lead the symphony orchestra while longtime director Dean Peterson will be at the helm of the chorale. Johnson has 35 years of experience as a conductor and has worked with artists such as Yo Yo Ma, Art Garfunkel, Trisha Yearwood and LeAnn Rimes.

“Gordon has worked with us in the past for Symphony in the Park, so it was an easy ask,” Salonen said. “He’s wonderful and works very well with the group. The musicians really like playing under him.”

Local carolers from the Missoula high schools will perform on the steps of the Dennison Theatre as patrons arrive. Once inside, Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet concert-goers with free hot cocoa provided by the Good Food Store and Montana Suzuki Institute musicians will kick off the show in the auditorium.

In addition, the winner of the 2019 charitable trip raffle will be announced during the Sunday evening show. Raffle tickets cost $150 and support the Missoula Symphony Association. The winner will receive a travel voucher valued at $12,000 to one of three destinations.

Salonen said the performance is naturally a fun family night for the kids, but it's also a great way for anyone to kick off the holiday season.

The Sunday matinee show is sold out already, and Salonen said there are a handful of tickets left for Saturday’s evening performance. There are still tickets available for the Sunday evening show, which was added a few years back as demand grew.

Shows are set for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7 and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $50 depending on section. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit missoulasymphony.org/.

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