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For Immediate Release: November 29, 2017

Media Contact: Sally Cohen, 585-749-1795,




Plus: the Nance Family & the Festival High School Chorale

RPO collecting toys/supplies for Hillside Special Santa at all performances


Rochester, NY – The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO)’s 24th annual Gala Holiday Pops will be led by its creator, Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik, for four public performances in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre:  Thursday, December 21 at 7:30 p.m.; Friday, December 22 at 8 p.m.; and Saturday, December 23 at 2 & 8 p.m.  Featuring the always-popular Festival High School Chorale (Amy Story and Harold McAulliffe, co-directors), the festivities this year will take a new spin on a Rochester tradition: the incomparable Denzal Sinclaire will perform holiday classics by vocal legends.


Introduced to Rochester audiences with Tyzik’s 2015 Pops program, Denzal Sinclaire Sings the Nat King Cole Songbook, Sinclair is one of Canada’s most popular jazz vocalists. A Juno Award (Canada’s Grammy Award) nominee, a recipient of the 2004 National Jazz Award for “Best Album,” four-time consecutive recipient of Jazz Report Magazine Award for Male Jazz Vocalist, and 2007 Choc Jazzman Award (France), he’s acquired fans all over the world. His admirers include Grammy Award-winning artists Diana Krall (“Denzal Sinclaire embodies the tradition of the great singers I love like Nat Cole, yet definitely has his own voice. He is one of my favorite singers…”), Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Dianne Reeves, Michael Feinstein, and Michael Bublé. He has graced the stages of numerous concert halls and festivals around the world and has appeared on several popular TV shows, and in films and theatrical productions. A pivotal role in Sinclaire’s career was the collaboration with highly sought-after guitarist/composer/arranger Bill Coon over the course of 15 years.  He and Tyzik worked together for the first time in 2010 on the creation of the Nat King Cole concert.


“I loved Denzal’s voice the first time I heard him sing,” says Tyzik. “He has a beautiful and smooth sound that is very attractive and pleasing to the listener, and I was excited to create new arrangements of traditional holiday songs for him to premiere this season.”


Those arrangements include “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “What Child is This,” and “We Three Kings.”


And, as is tradition with the family-friendly Holiday Pops, the RPO “family” will also be highlighted. This year, it’s an actual family: the Nance Family, with Trumpet Wesley Nance and Assistant Concertmaster Shannon Nance, who have a combined 56 years with the RPO. The couple’s two youngest daughters – Brianna Nance (flute) and Bridget Nance (oboe) – will join their parents in performing Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F major, III. Allegro.


Arrangements of traditional holiday favorites by Tyzik and others – including The Trans-Siberian Orchestra – will fill a festive program that features the 200-voice Festival High School Chorale. The 2017 Chorale is made up of outstanding student vocalists from 46 high schools in our seven-county area: Alexander, Aquinas, Avon, Batavia, Brighton, Brockport, Byron-Bergen, Caledonia-Mumford, Canandaigua, Dansville, Eastridge, East Palmyra Christian, Fairport, Finney, Gananda, Geneva, Greece Athena, Odyssey Academy, Greece Olympia, Holley, Irondequoit, Keshequa, Kendall, Lyons, McQuaid Jesuit, Mercy, Mt. Morris, Naples, Newark, Norman Howard, Notre Dame Batavia, Pavilion, Penfield, Pittsford Mendon, Pittsford Sutherland, Port Byron, RCSD East, RCSD Edison, RCSD Monroe, RCSD SOTA, RCSD Wilson Commencement, Spencerport, Victor, Webster Schroeder, Webster Thomas, and Wheatland-Chili.    


The RPO will also be partnering with the Hillside Family of Agencies’ Special Santa holiday giving program, which provides gifts to each young person receiving services, as well as to their siblings or other children residing in the same home. Marked bins will be available at each performance for unwrapped, new toys or needed supplies (please see list at


The concert sponsor for Gala Holiday Pops is High Falls Advisors. Tickets start at $24 and are available online at, by phone at (585) 454-2100, or in person at the RPO’s Patron Services Center (108 East Ave., Rochester) and at all Wegmans That’s T.H.E. Ticket! locations.


The RPO’s 2017/18 Season is presented by Rochester Regional Health and the Dawn and Jacques Lipson Cancer Institute. The Philharmonics Series is sponsored by M&T Bank; the RPO Pops Series is sponsored by Canandaigua National Bank & Trust and Wegmans. RPO performances are also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional support is provided by Monroe County; the City of Rochester; the Alfred Davis and Brunhilde Knapp Artists Performance Fund; the Mozart Performance Fund: Sarah D. Atkinson, M.D. and Steven Hess; and the Katherine T. and Jon L. Schumacher Orchestra Musician Soloist Fund.


The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) has been committed to enriching and inspiring our community through the art of music since its founding in 1922. The RPO presents approximately 150 concerts and broadcasts a year, serving up to 170,000 people through ticketed events, education and community engagement activities, and concerts in schools and community centers throughout the region. 12th Music Director Ward Stare joins the ranks of former notable RPO music directors, including Eugene Goossens, José Iturbi, Erich Leinsdorf, David Zinman and Conductor Laureate Christopher Seaman. Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik has earned a national reputation for excellence in pops programming during his 23-year tenure with the RPO. With Michael Butterman as Principal Conductor for Education and Community Engagement (The Louise and Henry Epstein Family Chair) – the first endowed position of its kind in the country – the RPO reaches more than 16,000 children through its specific programs for school-aged children.


Media please note: High-resolution images of 2017/18 concerts are available at and upon request, and interviews and photo/footage opportunities can be arranged.