Special to The Explorer

Guest conductor Michael Hall leads the TSO Pops! in its "Holiday Spectacular" performances this Friday and Saturday, Dec. 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 20 at 2 p.m. at the Tucson Music Hall.

Hall and the TSO Pops! are joined by the TSO Chorus directed by Bruce Chamberlain, the Tucson Regional Ballet, the Mariachi Aztlan de Pueblo High School and Santa Claus.

The Holiday Spectacular offers a variety of holiday favorites, including "Joy to the World," "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," music by Rimsky-Korsakov and John Williams, "A Musicological Journey through the 12 Days of Christmas" and the "Hannukah Festival Overture" all under the baton of Hall.

Selections from the Southwest Nutcracker feature chili peppers, rattlesnakes, ocotillo and the Prickly Pear Fairy from the Tucson Regional Ballet. Mariachi Aztlan de Pueblo High School, directed by John Contreras, will add additional Southwest flavor performing "Fum Fum Fum," "El Nino Perdido" and "Feliz Navidad."

Michael Hall is in his third season as music director of the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra. He has previous stops with Orange County's Pacific Symphony Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and England's Havant Symphony Orchestra. This is Hall's fourth consecutive year conducting the TSO Pops! Holiday Spectacular.

The Tucson Regional Ballet was founded in 1983, inspired by a vision of bringing quality ballet to diverse audiences at affordable prices. In 1994, TRB premiered "A Southwest Nutcracker." In 2001-2002, TRB collaborated with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra in two special children's concerts, "A Night on Bald Mountain," and "Peter and the Wolf." That collaboration has continued each year since then.

Mariachi Aztlan de Pueblo was founded in the fall of 1992 as a curricular component within the Pueblo High Magnet School performing arts department by Richard Carranza. Comprised entirely of Pueblo High Magnet School students ranging in age from 14 to 18 years old, the mariachi program has grown from 11 students in its first year to more than 120 students.

Students are offered three levels of mariachi music: beginning, intermediate, and advanced / performing group – "Mariachi Aztlan." Students entering the performing group must, after audition and acceptance, maintain a high level of academic achievement in order to remain on the "first team."

"Their extensive practice and performance schedule also demands most of their free time," a release said. "The 15-piece Mariachi Aztlan is motivated by pride and dedication to their cultural heritage of Mexico."

This concert is co-sponsored by Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa.




TSO Pops!


Holiday Spectacular

Friday and Saturday, Dec. 18 and 19, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 20, 2 p.m.

Tucson Music Hall

Tickets are available online at

www.tucsonsymphony.org, the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Box Office located at 2175 N. Sixth Avenue or by phone at (520) 882-8585. TSO Box Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.


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