November 25, 2004
Conductor Keith Lockhart knows a thing or two about timing and compression. The conductor has only a moment to chat between interviews, following a full day of rehearsals with the Boston Pops in Salt Lake City.
The Pops are prepping for the first concert of a busy holiday season, Saturday night in Costa Mesa, Calif. “Just like the store displays, we figure it’s inappropriate to start too early,” Lockhart says.
After the Pops play America West Arena Sunday night, they will squeeze in about 50 more performances before the first of the year. More than 30 shows will be in Boston at Symphony Hall and several more are booked in wintery wonderlands around New England such as Providence, R.I.,
Portland, Maine, and Manchester, N.H.
Lockhart, who lives in Boston part- time and Salt Lake City for part of the year, has a 15-month-old son who lives with his mother in Boston.
“We do this every year. It’s part of the life of a performer,” he says. “I’m back in New England by Dec. 9.”
Following the Pops’ holiday tour, Lockhart also will be guest-conducting in London with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain in January.
The Pops released a new Christmas album Nov. 15 entitled “Sleigh Ride” that includes traditionals like “Ave Maria,” Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” and Don Sebesky’s “Joy!” The album is available in limited release at www.bostonpops.org.
United States audiences may not recognize young guest vocalist Hayley Westenra, from Christchurch, New Zealand, despite the fact that her album “Pure” went 10 times platinum earlier this year. Westenra, 17, has also had singles reach the top 10 on the United Kingdom pop charts.
Westenra will perform classics such as “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and “The Little Drummer Boy.”
“She is really poised to be the biggest star on the classical crossover scene,” he says. “She has an amazing voice and beautiful stage presence.”
The Pops will also stop in Palm Desert, Calif., St. Paul, Minn., and Appleton, Wis., on their holiday tour. The symphony wraps up their season in early January and will not begin their next touring performance season until February.
“It’s great, in our holiday concerts, to see little kids in the audience, singing along with ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ and see them interact with Santa Claus — who will no doubt make an appearance,” Lockhart says.