Capacity crowd revels in the glow of Holiday at the Pops

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Concertgoers leave the beautiful Civic as snow gently falls.

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Members of the Symphony Children’s Chorus energetically fill the hall with their voices.

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The capacity crowd at the concert — the first time ever.

A panorama of the festive interior, looking toward the stage. (This photo by Mike Kellems)

A panorama of the festive interior, looking toward the stage. (This photo by Mike Kellems)

WNLP story by Mike Kellems

WNLP photos by Bob Wellinski (click to enlarge)

Several years ago the Holiday at the Pops concert “popped” up on my radar. It seemed as though after every year, for the few days following the event, I would hear people talking about what a great

Kellems

Kellems

performance they’d seen. I always made plans to go and even had an idea about shooting pictures for WNLP, however something always seems to get in the way, which is often the case around the Christmas season.

Three years ago my good friend Mitch Feikes invited me to join him and a group of friends at the concert. I decided I would make it my mission, without fail. I did attend and walked away in awe of the performance.

Saturday as I was running around and getting weekend things done, I ran into several friends and told them I’d be going to the Pops concert. They asked what the

Wellinski

Wellinski

concert was like; the best description I could come up with was “When you leave the Civic, you’re walking about four feet off of the ground.”

Saturday night was my third year attending and as expected, the event filled the bill! In my half century on the earth, I don’t recall ever attending a musical event that put me in such a good mood and launched me into the holiday spirit.

The concert opened with the group Cripple Creek, who were joined by the incredibly talented Jenny Harrison. Just as the crowd was getting into the mood, the LaPorte County Symphony Orchestra Children’s Chorus took the stage with 70-some 2nd through 8th graders who brought the wow factor. They were joined on stage at different points by vocalists Tim King, Kyrie Anderson and Genevieve Hayes.

This year the orchestra was joined by the North American Brass Company. And Maddi Reese Ames, winner of the Hoosier Star vocal competition, brought the house to its feet with an awesome rendition of “Mary, Did You Know?”

The rest of the evening, nearly three hours in length, was filled with fantastic music that brought the holiday spirit to everyone’s hearts. The Civic Auditorium, filled to capacity for the first time in the Pops’ 22-year history, was the perfect venue for the concert, which ended with the capacity crowd all standing and singing “Silent Night.”

Just to put a topper on the night, as the throngs of concertgoers left the beautiful old building, a quiet and gentle snow fell. The perfect ending to a wonderful evening.

MIKE KELLEMS is a captain with the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office. In their best Santa spirit, he and Bob Wellinski are frequent contributors to WNLP.

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