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Review | S.B. Symphony ‘Holiday Pops’ Concert

Carols, Bells, and Singing Along at the Granada


Photo: Courtesy Christiane Noll

The Santa Barbara Symphony presented an energetic one-night pops concert to kick off the holiday season on Saturday, December 7. In addition to the full Santa Barbara Symphony, the show featured maestro Andy Einhorn, Broadway star Christiane Noll, and area treasures the UCSB Chamber Choir and Women’s Chorus. There couldn’t have been a more perfect start to the evening than the caroler’s classic “Deck the Halls.” Guest conductor Andy Einhorn’s joyful presence matched the energy of the upbeat music. 

The game changed when Noll walked onstage in a dazzling sequined burgundy gown, shortly to be followed by two more dress changes — each just as magical. Noll wowed the audience with her elegant poise, operatic singing, and charming banter with maestro Einhorn. The duo’s playful discussions touched on meaningful personal connections and their reasons for picking the specific arrangements.

The night’s most exquisite moments came when all the forces joined together and the groups morphed into one beautiful collective. Before intermission, the crowd was rendered speechless with a rendition of the Suite from The Polar Express. Afterward, things picked right back up with a Bob Krogstad medley called “The Bells of Christmas.”

During the nostalgic sing-alongs, the audience belted out familiar tunes such as “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” and “Frosty the Snowman.”The night concluded with a cheerful encore of “Sleigh Ride,” slapstick and all. Creating an orchestral performance that leaves people in such high holiday spirits may be a challenge, but the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Holiday Pops made it clear that it can be done! 

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