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Holiday Pops with John Morris Russell

Western New York’s No. 1 holiday tradition is always a family favorite, featuring new offerings and spectacular arrangements of holiday classics, sprinkled with the spirit of the season.


John Morris Russell, conductor
Jennifer Cherest, soprano
Susan Schuman, celesta

Amy Glidden, violin
John Riesen, tenor
Tom Burns, narrator
Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus
Adam Luebke, BPC music director

arr. Barlow Bradford  Angels We Have Heard on High
YON/arr. Brandau  Gesu Bambino
MICHAEL KUREK  Concertino for Celesta and Orchestra: “Fairy Dreams”
VIVALDI/arr. Berens  A Winter Miracle
KAY  Pat-a-Pan: A Fantasy for Orchestra
MARGARET BONDS  Alleluia from The Ballad of the Brown King
MENDELSSOHN/arr. McKenzie  Hark the Herald Angels Sing
LOWRY & GREENE/arr. Gray  Mary, Did You Know?


DAVIS/arr. Wright  Carol of the Drum
JESSEL/arr. Gould  Parade of the Wooden Soldiers
ANDERSON/arr. Pena  Mele Kalikimaka
ADAM/arr. Snyder  O Holy Night
MOORE/CORELLI  A Visit from St. Nicholas
Concerto Grosso, Op. 6 No. 8, “Christmas Concerto”
WESLEY WHATLEY/arr. Hamilton  I Believe
DAVID FOSTER/arr. McKenzie  Grown Up Christmas Wish
arr. Michael Braz  A Suite of Carols (Sing-Along)
Joy to the World
I Heard the Bells
Here We Come A-Wassailing
The First Noel
Deck the Halls
O Come, All Ye Faithful
DANIEL KANTOR & FRANZ GRUBER/arr. Pellett  Night of Silence/Silent Night

About Jennifer Cherest

Soprano Jennifer Cherest has been praised as “beautifully expressive and technically polished” by the San Francisco Chronicle in the title role of Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera with the Merola Opera Program. Opera News reviewed her performance of Suor Genovieffa with Opera Omaha saying, “Her tone was warm yet youthful. Her shaping of phrases was elegant and worthy of the Bel Canto ideal.” Since finishing her prestigious Adler fellowship with the San Francisco Opera, Ms. Cherest has debuted with such companies as the Washington National Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Omaha, North Carolina Opera, Opera Columbus, Dayton Opera, Opera Delaware, and the Aspen Music Festival. Being a native Washingtonian, Ms. Cherest was thrilled to make her company debut with the Washington National Opera in Dialogues of the Carmelites,and since then, has returned for many productions including her role debut as Gretel in Hansel & Gretel.

Additionally, she has sung on the Metropolitan Opera stage in the national semifinals of the Metropolitan Opera National Council (MONC) Auditions. She has won top honors in the Licia Albanese International Vocal Competition, the Giulio Gari International Vocal Competition, the Fritz & Lavinia Jensen Competition, the Boulder International Competition, and the Partners for the Arts Competition.

Growing up on country music and musical theater, Ms. Cherest is a versatile performer who is at home in crossover and world music repertoire, from Golijov’s tribal work for soprano and chamber orchestra in Ayre, to Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady. An active individual offstage, she can be found training horses or in a yoga studio. She currently resides in Cincinnati with her husband Christian, sons Gavin and Camden, and her horse Dali.

About Amy Glidden

Amy Glidden is currently the associate concertmaster of the Buffalo Philharmonic. Praised by the Buffalo News for her “keen rhythmic acuity, consistently fine tone and an innate sense of phrasing,” Amy has performed on stages throughout Western NY. A native of Wichita, Kansas, Amy attended the University of Kansas where she received a B.A. in Biology as well as a B.M. in Violin Performance. Subsequently, she received a Master of Violin Performance degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music. Orchestras with which Amy has performed include the Toronto Symphony, the Canadian Ballet Orchestra, the Fort Worth Symphony, and the Grand Teton Music Festival orchestra. She was previously the concertmaster of the Mendocino Music Festival and the assistant concertmaster of the Marin Symphony. In the summer of 2018, Amy was appointed concertmaster of the Saratoga Opera orchestra. She travels west each summer to participate in the Sun Valley Summer Symphony.

Amy has often performed as a soloist with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, including performances of Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 under the baton of JoAnn Falletta. Other solo engagements include performances with the Ars Nova Chamber Orchestra, the Amherst Symphony, the Cheektowaga Symphony, and the Buffalo State Philharmonia. In 2009, Amy was invited to join the newly created string program at Buffalo State College. She performed at the 2012 dedication of Buffalo State’s new Ciminelli Recital Hall and founded the Buffalo State String Collective, which brings students, faculty, and community members together in string music performance. Formerly a teacher at Orchard Park Suzuki Strings, Amy maintains a home studio and has given masterclasses throughout Western NY as well as nationally. As a chamber musician, she performs locally with the Roycroft Chamber Music Festival and the Buffalo Chamber Players, and is a founding member of the Artemis and Clara String Quartets.

About John Riesen

Hailed as “every inch the hero in stature and voice” (Classical Voice North America), award-winning American tenor John Riesen is consistently impressing audiences with his “impassioned…and vibrant” voice (Opera Today). John’s growing career boasts a variety of roles in which he excels and includes significant work in opera, musical theatre, studio recording, and concert. He has released two albums: What You’d Call a Dream (2019) and Christmas at Home (2020) and several singles, including “Autumn Leaves” (2021), “What a Wonderful World” (2021), and “Maria” (from West Side Story, 2021), that have reached well over four million streams on Spotify and Apple Music. John is also the head of Spotify promotion and PR for Emitha LLC, building an ecosystem for classical singers to be heard around the world.

Last season was a busy one for John and included his role debut as Camille in The Merry Widow at Knoxville Opera, where he also reprised his Younger Thompson in Glory Denied. He made his role debut as the Duke in Rigoletto at Intermountain Opera Bozeman, appeared with Opera Las Vegas as Detective Daniel Lewis in A Capacity for Evil, debuted with Brevard Music Center in their Carmina Burana, and brought his Younger Thompson to Opera Roanoke. Additionally, he was named a semifinalist on NBC’s America’s Got Talent and appeared as the voice of Howie Mandel as part of Metaphysic’s groundbreaking act. Engagements for this season, in addition to his debut with the BPO, include his debuts with the Dallas Symphony and Phoenix Symphony for their concert, Prohibition, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Southwest Michigan Symphony and Pacific Symphony, Carmina Burana with the Choral Society of Pensacola and Flint Symphony Orchestra, a Holiday Pops concert with the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra, Alfred in Die Fledermaus with Pensacola Opera, and his return to Intermountain Opera Bozeman as Rodolfo in La bohème.

About the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus

The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus is a non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the Western New York region through the performance of high-quality, diverse musical programs and developing singers in the choral arts through both original programming and artistic partnerships. The BPC is the winner of the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance for their recording of Richard Danielpour’s The Passion of Yeshua with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor JoAnn Falletta. With a roster of over 140 singers, the BPC is frequently heard as the principal guest chorus of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus was founded by Jessamine E. Long as the Buffalo Schola Cantorum in 1937. Since that time, the artistic leadership has included such noteworthy musicians as Cameron Baird and the 22-year leadership of Thomas Swan. In 1992, the Chorus was renamed to more accurately reflect its mission to the community. Now the BPC makes guest appearances throughout the region and produces self-sponsored concerts, including annual performances of Handel’s Messiah.

Recent collaborators include the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo-Niagara Concert Band, Buffalo Chamber Players, Buffalo United Community Choir, SUNY Fredonia School of Music, and many more. Recent performance venues include Kleinhans Music Hall, Chautauqua Institution, ArtPark, Temple Beth Zion, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Our Lady of Victory Basilica and Shrine, and Asbury Hall, a downtown Buffalo multi-arts venue in a repurposed 1870s Gothic Revival church, where the BPC is also a proud member of the Asbury Arts Collaborative. The BPC can be seen each year at events throughout the community, including Daemen University Commencement ceremonies, BPO Classics and Pops series performances, community sings, caroling events, and much more!


Thursday, December 14, 2023
10:30 am
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Kleinhans Music Hall
3 Symphony Circle
Buffalo, NY 14201 United States
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(716) 885-5000

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