The 2004 Boston Pops Holiday Tour

What a great way to kick off the Holidays! The 2004 Boston Pops Holiday Tour with Hayley Westenra. At the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

        

The Orange County Performing Arts Center helped usher in the holiday season on the Thanksgiving weekend when Fidelity Investments presented the 2004 Boston Pops Holiday Tour. The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra conducted by Keith Lockhart was joined by vocalist Hayley Westenra, the fastest-selling classical artist of all time in the United Kingdom, played on November 27 at 8 p.m. in Segerstrom Hall.

No matter how you celebrate the winter holidays there was a little something for everyone in this concert. The Pops played classical  religious holiday songs intermixed with popular christmas songs, carols and hannukah favorites. The accomplished orchestra was joined by two local choirs the Cal State Fullerton University Singers and Memers of Pacific Chorale. Highlights of the evening included Kimberlea Daggy a mid-day host for 91.3 FM Classical KUSC. Daggy was poised and beautifully read the inspiring letter to the editor and response "Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus", while the Pops played underenath her. A surprise guest appearance from the man himself, Santa Claus who seemed to have quite a repose and relationship with the Pops. There was a christmas carol sing along and the beautiful and talented Hayley Westenra. Westenara is an artist well known outside of the U.S. and after the tour is over sure to become a favorite here as well.

        

Conductor Keith Lockhart took up the Boston Pops baton at age 35 in 1995, inheriting a rich history that goes back to 1885, when the Boston Symphony Orchestra first performed a summer program of light music in a café-style setting. From a podium previously occupied by John Williams and Arthur Fiedler, Lockhart has led the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra on 22 tours of the United States and four tours of Japan and Korea. He has conducted more than 750 concerts with the Pops and made 60 television shows, including 38 new programs for PBS's Evening at the Pops. He has also conducted the Boston Pops on a number of albums including their upcoming holiday CD, Sleigh Ride, which the Pops produced and will self distribute.

Born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Lockhart began taking piano lessons at the age of seven. He holds degrees from Furman University in Greenville, S.C., and Carnegie-Mellon in Pittsburgh, PA. Since 1998, he has also been music director of the Utah Symphony.

        

Hayley Westenra may be a new name to American audiences, but she has made history in the international classical music scene by becoming the fastest-selling classical artist of all time in the United Kingdom with her album Pure. The recording explores the worlds of Pop, traditional Maori singing and classical repertoire.

Westenra, a 17-year-old from Christchurch, New Zealand, started her journey towards fame at age 6, when a teacher who had seen her in a Christmas play encouraged her parents to start her on music lessons. In 2000, she recorded a demo album that made its way into the hands of a television journalist who invited the young singer to appear on her program. The show captured the attention of a concert promoter and led to a contract with Universal New Zealand.

Her self-titled debut album shot to the top of the New Zealand pop charts, going triple platinum. It was followed by My Gift to You, a Christmas album that also went platinum. Her success caught the attention of Decca Music Group in London, which, with the cooperation of Universal New Zealand, signed Westenra to an international music deal. In 2004, Westenra kicked off her first-ever headlining world tour of New Zealand, Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom. She is currently launching Pure in North America and has a national PBS TV special that will air in the United States later this year.

For more information about The Boston Pops, visit www.bso.org. For more information about Hayley Westenra, go to www.hayleywestenra.com.
Photos by Micheal Lutch

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