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If you go
What: Fort Wayne Philharmonic’s “Holiday Pops”
When: 8 p.m. today, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday; also Dec. 20 and 21
Where: Embassy Theatre, 125 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Admission: $28 to $80 adults, $59.50 to $12.75 children; additional ArtsTix fees included; go to for additional showtimes or call 481-0777
Other “Pops” concerts:
•At Kosciusko County, Warsaw High School in Warsaw; 2 p.m. Sunday
•At Whitley County, First Church of God in Columbia City, 7 p.m. Tuesday
•At Wabash County, Honeywell Center in Wabash, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
From left, Blaine Krauss, Kelsey Crismon, Christine Cornish Smith and Nathaniel Irvin will perform at the “Holiday Pops.”

Philharmonic’s holiday concerts a group effort

Vocalist Kelsey Crismon is home for the holidays after working as a musical theater actress in New York City since April.

It’s actually the home she found as a student at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Crismon will reunite with her Cincinnati vocal quartet to perform today with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic for their second “Holiday Pops” performance at the Embassy Theatre.

“I count this as one of the best performance jobs I have ever had,” she said while traveling to Cincinnati last week. “It’s any performer’s dream to sing with a giant, beautiful orchestra behind you. This is something that will always stay on my resume and counts as one of my biggest achievements.”

The Fort Wayne Philharmonic will present its annual “Holiday Pops” performance with associate conductor Sameer Patel at the helm for the first time.

With musical selections ranging from “O Come All Ye Faithful” to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” the concert features the Philharmonic Chorus, Fort Wayne Children’s Choir and Fort Wayne Ballet dancing selections from Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Suite.”

The program also includes “The Prayer” from the 2004 film “Polar Express,” George Handel’s “Messiah” and a visit from Santa Claus.

Both Patel and Crismon agree that hearing these well-known holiday songs in concert breathes new life into selections that people often hear on the radio or in shopping centers during the season.

“Each piece we perform has been carefully selected,” Patel says in an email. “We’re offering many new selections this year, including more collaborations with the Phil Chorus and the Fort Wayne Children’s Choir.

“Adrian Mann, the Philharmonic’s brilliant arranger, has also created several new arrangements, which will be performed for the first time.”

The Cincinnati vocal quartet includes Crismon, Nathaniel Irvin, Blaine Krauss and Christine Cornish Smith, who will perform group and solo selections.

Crismon says she looks forward to performing the contemporary pop hit “All I Want for Christmas is You” as a soloist. She says that her experience last year with the orchestra and warm audiences made the performance memorable.

“We had the most beautiful orchestra I ever heard accompanying us, and since it’s the holidays, you see all these families come together to listen to music,” she says. “It was so moving, and the feeling you got from the audience was like you were a part of their families.”

Crismon says the upcoming performance also serves as a small reunion for the four friends. Crismon and Cornish Smith moved to New York after graduating from CCM to pursue their professional careers, while Krauss and Irvin remained on campus to continue their studies.

She says that although it has been nearly nine months since she has seen half of the music group, they are able to reconnect as they work on the music and choreography. Crismon is confident that once the group warms up, they will deliver a strong performance.

“That’s what CCM teaches you – it teaches you how to multitask so that you’re able to give everything you do 100 percent,” she says.

“I think now that I know the audience, I’ll be even more relaxed. I think the nerves are turning a little more into excitement.”