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Grand Rapids Symphony celebrates Christmas with new sights and sounds, unexpected surprises at Holiday Pops

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Grand Rapids Symphony's Wolverine World Wide Holiday Pops salutes the season in song with six shows Thursday, Dec. 5 through Sunday, Dec. 8
Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt leads the Grand Rapids Symphony in the Holiday Pops.

Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt leads the Grand Rapids Symphony in the Holiday Pops. /Terry Johnston | Grand Rapids Symphony

Coming next to the Grand Rapids Symphony's stage

The 10th annual Old National Bank Cirque de Noël

Featuring aerial artist and Grand Rapids' own Christine Van Loo

  • 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 18-19.
  • Tickets start at $18 adults. 

Call the GRS ticket office at (616) 454-9451 ext. 4. or go online to

See Santa Claus at the Grand Rapids Symphony's Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops.

See Santa Claus at the Grand Rapids Symphony's Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops. /Terry Johnston | Grand Rapids Symphony

Grand Rapids Symphony celebrates the season in style at the Holiday Pops, Friday, Dec. 5 through Sunday, Dec. 8.

Grand Rapids Symphony celebrates the season in style at the Holiday Pops, Friday, Dec. 5 through Sunday, Dec. 8. /Terry Johnston | Grand Rapids Symphony

December is the time of year for decorating, baking, shopping and spending time with friends and family. It’s also one of the best times of the year for celebrating with the gift of music. Enjoy the holidays with timeless music and much more with your Grand Rapids Pops to make the season bright with the sublime sounds of the season.

The Grand Rapids Symphony presents the Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops with six show opening Thursday, Dec. 5, continuing through Sunday, Dec. 8, all in DeVos Performance Hall.

Principal Pops conductor Bob Bernhardt will lead the orchestra in such timeless melodies Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” from The Messiah and such modern classics as music from film Home Alone and The Polar Express in this year’s Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops.

New for this year’s Holiday Pops will be a guest student conductor, chosen at random at each concert, who will have the opportunity to conduct the Grand Rapids Symphony in Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.”

Tickets for Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops start at $18 adults, $5 students for select concerts. Tickets for the Friday morning matinee on Dec. 6 are $20 for all seats, $5 for students and children.

For all shows in DeVos Performance Hall in December, including  Grand Rapids Ballet’s performances of The Nutcracker, featuring the Grand Rapids Symphony, and the Grand Rapids Symphony's 10th annual Old National Bank Cirque de Noëlguests will be greeted by a magical “Land of Sweets,” an elaborate display of pastry and sugar art created by culinary students at Grand Rapids Community College.

Students at GRCC’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education will deck the halls with a sugary wonderland filled with ballerinas in stained-glass sugar, bells made from blown sugar and much more for the display opening Dec. 5 and continuing through Dec. 22.

This year’s Wolverine Worldwide Holiday Pops, featuring six shows on the first weekend of December, include a brand-new Holiday Pops morning matinee at 10 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 6 as part of the Fox Motors Pops series.

Enjoy free hot chocolate, holiday photo ops, and musical entertainment by area high school musical ensembles in the lobby.

Capathia Jenkins, star of stage and screen, joins the Grand Rapids Pops to sing such songs as “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town" for Grand Rapids’ favorite holiday tradition.

Joining the Symphony in favorites traditions as a Christmas Carol Sing-along are the joyful voices of the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus and the Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus.

The adult Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, led by director Pearl Shangkuan, will sing traditional and modern songs for the season. The Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus, co-directed by Sean and Leah Ivory, will sing a traditional Irish song, The Darkest Midnight in December, arranged by Sean Ivory; and an original song titled Sewa! (Joy!) by Leah Ivory.

Evening performances of the Holiday Pops sponsored by Wolverine World Wide will be held in DeVos Performance Hall at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5 and at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6-7. Afternoon matinees are at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7-8.

The morning matinee at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 5 will be a one-hour concert, held without intermission, featuring the Capathia Jenkins and the Grand Rapids Symphony. The Symphony Chorus and Youth Chorus will not participate.

Here’s the list of pre-concert entertainment in the lobby at the Wolverine World Wide Holiday Pops:

Thursday, Dec. 5 at 7:00 pm - GRPS Teachers Choir Staff Notes
Friday, Dec. 6 at 10:00 am - GR City Chorale/ Jeweltones Vocal Jazz 
Friday, Dec. 6 at 7:30 pm - Storm Saxophone Quartet - Rockford High School 
Saturday, Dec. 7 at 2:00 pm - City High Middle School Zero Hour Orchestra 
Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 pm - Jenison Junior High School 'Encore Strings' 
Sunday, Dec. 8 at 2:00 pm - Forest Hills Eastern Holiday Strings

Tickets are available by calling the GRS ticket office at (616) 454-9451 ext. 4. Phone orders will be charged a $3 per ticket handling fee ($18 maximum per order). There are no fees for tickets purchased in person at the GRS ticket office at 300 Ottawa Ave. NW, Suite 100, (located across the street from Calder Plaza). Ticket office hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Tickets are available at the DeVos Place box office, weekdays 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. or on the day of the concert beginning two hours prior to the performance. Tickets may be purchased online at

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