By Annie Reuter
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas at Carnegie Hall.
The New York Pops, the largest independent pops orchestra in the United States, is a staple throughout the nation and New York.
Friday and Saturday, Music Director Steven Reineke will lead the orchestra, along with critically acclaimed vocalists John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey, for “John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey Wish You a Swingin’ Christmas.”
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In charge of four orchestras this holiday season, Reineke explained his day-to-day life as Music Director for the New York Pops and his excitement to be working with Pizzarelli again.
The newly appointed Principal Pops Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra and in his third season as Music Director of the New York Pops, Reineke spends much of his time traveling from New York to Washington, D.C., and in board meetings when he’s not writing compositions and directing.
Reineke says it takes effort to get to know each community.
“New York of course is such a diverse, wonderful community. It’s about knowing your audience and what they want,” he said. “When I got this job I had to literally continue to pinch myself to see if this was really true.”
Excited to reunite with jazz guitarist and vocalist Pizzarelli, Reineke first met the musician 15 years ago when he recorded an arrangement of his.
“The Swingin’ Christmas idea came about because of the style of music John does. But also, I grew up loving Ella Fitzgerald’s album, Ella Wishes You a Swingin’ Christmas. I wanted to do something with that same sort of vibe,” he said.
“It’s so uplifting and festive; it’s a different take on the standard holiday fare. You always feel like you’re reinventing the wheel each holiday. I certainly love this time of year and its great music, but coming up with new ways to present these old timeless classics time and time again can be difficult. John and his swing sensibility are going to be perfect for this season.”
But the show won’t stray too far from tradition.
“Of course we’re going to be getting a special guest appearance by the big man himself; Mr. Claus will be joining us. It will be a good show, I can promise you that.”
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Annie Reuter is a freelance writer and the founder of YouSingIWrite.com.