North Bethesda, MD (December 2) — The holiday season is in full swing at the National Philharmonic with “Holiday Singin’ Pops” on Friday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore. Guest conductor and local Washington talent Luke Frazier will lead the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale, as well as Broadway stars and international talents Ali Ewoldt (Phantom of the Opera); Hilary Morrow (Birdland Jazz Club); Kevin Rose, international vocalist; and Addalie Burns, an eight-year-old tap dancer, in an evening of holiday hits. Frazier is the founder of the American Pops Orchestra (APO), comprised of excellent players in the Washington, DC, area, and serving the Washington community with community concerts that are free for veterans and their families, at-risk children, underserved families, and more. Popular songs that will be performed during the concert include Rudolph, I’ll Be Home for Christmas, The Christmas Song, O Holy Night, Mele Kelikimaka, Grown Up Christmas Wish, and a holiday singalong finale. This festive performance features a new take on traditional holiday songs. Families can see Santa, meet representatives from Veterans Moving Forward and their service dogs, hear young carolers and bring new, unwrapped toys or books for the Philharmonics Toys for Tots drive. Ticket prices are $29–$69, young people 7–17 are free and college students pay $10. There is a new 25% discount for military and veterans. Strathmore is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit nationalphilharmonic.org or call 301.581.5100.
The Montgomery Blair High School a cappella singing group InToneNation will add to the seasonal festivities with a concert in the orchestra lobby before the concert at 6:45 pm.
Frazier, who founded APO in 2015, is a conductor, pianist, and a visionary for presenting popular music with an energetic and unique twist. Washingtonian Magazine named him one of their “Top 40 Under 40,” and most recently named him one of five of Washington’s “Men on the Move” by Modern Luxury. The late Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and musical theatre legend Marvin Hamlisch called Frazier “so talented, and sensitive to every nuance.” Frazier has conducted at internationally acclaimed venues including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the White House, Kravis Center, and the Kennedy Center. He recently joined the board of the New York Festival of Song and is an Artistic Advisor for the Capitol Conversation and Performing Arts Series in Washington. Frazier has worked with famous performers, including Harry Connick Jr., Patti LaBelle, Renée Fleming, Vanessa Williams, Wynton Marsalis, and Liza Minnelli.
Ewoldt recently completed more than two years as the female lead character, Christine Daaé, in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. Her other credits include Cosette in Les Miserables (Broadway); The King and I (Broadway); Maria in West Side Story; Luisa in The Fantasticks (off-Broadway); and Philia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Concert and symphony works include Feinstein’s/54 Below, Alice Tully Hall, the Town Hall, Canyon Ranch, New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, American Pops Orchestra, Houston Symphony, and Boston Pops. Ewoldt’s television and film credits include The Michael J. Fox Show, Yield, and the short film Mia.
Morrow is an acclaimed musical theatre performer and soloist. She regularly sings at famed jazz club, Birdland, in New York City, including a recently sold-out performance in the new Birdland Theatre. Morrow has performed alongside such luminaries as Renee Fleming, Tommy Tune, Laura Osnes, Liz Callaway, Jeremy Jordan, Lindsey Mendez, and many more. She is the only singer to have appeared in every season with the American Pops Orchestra, with recent credits including the Old Lady in An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, Bianca in the tour of A Very Silly Vaudeville, and Detective Fix in Around the World in 80 Days. Recent credits include Love, Factually with The Second City at The John F. Kennedy Center; King Cymbeline/Queen in Imogen in Shakespeare’s Cymbeline Reimagined with the Pointless Theatre Company; and Mother in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at Adventure Theatre.
Washington-based vocalist Rose most recently toured in 2018 with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in more than 20 countries with his show Feelin’ Good. In 2017, Rose performed in the United States tour of Dido and Aeneas with the Mark Morris Dance Group, and was also invited to bring his cabaret series If Not Now, When? to the historic Metropolitan Room. He has performed throughout New York City in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Town Hall, Laurie Beechman Theatre, Dimenna Center for Classical Music, Merkin Concert Hall, and 92nd St. Y. Favorite regional credits include the pre-Broadway production of Frank Wildhorn’s Bonnie and Clyde, The Life of Galileo, Joseph and the Amazing…, Forever Plaid, and Songs for a New World. Rose can be seen headlining the DC Transit Band, a successful entertainment band that plays all over the Washington area.
Young Burns studies dance at Hawkins School of Performing Arts in Folsom, Calif. She has danced for four years, and started tap at just five years old. Burns is a fan of American icon Shirley Temple, and her dream is to tap dance on Broadway. Someday, Burns would like to open her own dance studio with an animal shelter in the lobby.
Philharmonic Music Director and Conductor Piotr Gajewski is one of a select group of American conductors equally at home in nearly all musical genres. He is the music director and conductor of the National Philharmonic at the Music Center at Strathmore as well as a sought-after guest conductor. He was a student and disciple of the late Leonard Bernstein, and is described by The Washington Post as an “immensely talented and insightful conductor, whose standards, taste and sensitivity are impeccable.” With one foot in the United States and the other in Europe as former Principal Guest Conductor of the Silesian Philharmonic (Katowice, Poland) and frequent guest at other orchestras, the jet-set maestro’s seemingly limitless repertoire, most conducted without a score, amazes critics and audiences alike.
The National Philharmonic under Gajewski is known for performances that are “powerful,” “impeccable” and “thrilling” (The Washington Post). In July 2003, the National Chamber Orchestra and Masterworks Chorus merged to create the National Philharmonic, an ensemble with more than 50 years of combined history, bringing high-caliber musical performances to the Washington area. The National Philharmonic took up residence at the state-of-the-art Music Center at Strathmore upon its opening in February 2005. Now, more than 250 performances later, and with far-reaching educational programming, the National Philharmonic is the largest and most active professional orchestra based in Montgomery County. It is also the only classical music organization in the Washington-Metro area that offers free tickets for children ages 7–17. The National Philharmonic recognizes this young audience as the classical music lovers of the future, and hopes to encourage future generations of concertgoers through this free-ticket program.
A February 24, 2019, review in The Washington Post by Patrick Rucker notes the National Philharmonic’s “distinctive personality,” adding, “The vibe in the audience is that everybody onstage is happy, and maybe a little proud to be there, and the music sounds that way.” In fact, National Philharmonic’s “distinctive personality” is part and parcel of the world-class acoustics of the Music Center at Strathmore. The concert hall, orchestra and chorale together create this world-class sound. The National Philharmonic’s Strathmore Concert Hall home is an integral component of its artistic success. In fact, it is because of this success that the Philharmonic was recently recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts.
As the Music Center at Strathmore’s orchestra-in-residence, the National Philharmonic showcases world-renowned guest artists in time-honored symphonic masterpieces conducted by Maestro Gajewski, and monumental choral masterworks under National Philharmonic Chorale Artistic Director Stan Engebretson.
National Philharmonic recently announced its “Thank You for Serving Program” for all active duty military, reservists and veterans and their families. Military personnel may buy tickets for any National Philharmonic performance for themselves and their family and receive 25% off using promo code THX25. Tickets must be picked up at the box office with Military ID. Other restrictions apply.
“This discount combined with “Kids 7-17 Free” underscores National Philharmonic’s appreciation and commitment to bringing music to those who serve our country,” said Jim Kelly, National Philharmonic’s President. “Over the years, we have partnered with Walter Reed Hospital and Veterans Moving Forward. This new initiative is a natural extension of our Armed Forces philanthropy,” Kelly concluded.
To purchase tickets for the performances and for information about the Philharmonic’s upcoming season, please visit nationalphilharmonic.org or call the Strathmore Ticket Office at 301.581.5100.