Ali Ewoldt shares some of her favorite Christmas music with us when she joins Steven Reineke and the Houston Symphony for Very Merry Pops, December 7, 8 and 9 at Jones Hall. Get to know this charming vocalist as she shares holiday memories from her childhood.
Broadway star Ali Ewoldt is renowned for her dramatic turns as Cosette in Les Misérables and Christine in The Phantom of the Opera. In anticipation of her appearance with the Houston Symphony in Very Merry Pops, we asked her to wax nostalgic and tell us what Christmas was like where she grew up.
“I grew up in Pleasantville, NY, a suburb of New York City,” she said, “so we always hoped for—and occasionally received—a white Christmas. We often celebrated with my mom’s side of the family (which is Filipino), so 20 family members would be considered a small gathering. Christmases were always filled with food and joy and play and excitement. Not enough sleep, but lots of togetherness. Sometimes Santa would visit, and we usually wore matching pajamas.
“We always celebrated on Christmas Eve,” she continued. “We’d usually go to church about 5:00 pm —growing up I would sing in the choir or lead the congregation in song…my first steady singing gig!—followed by an abundance of appetizers, cooking and games and catching up until dinner. And then the agony of waiting for midnight when we’d gather around the Christmas tree and hand out all of the presents one at a time. Then the opening frenzy would begin! We’d stay up late, wearing our matching pajamas, playing with our new toys, watching A Christmas Story or playing mahjong together.”
When asked if she has any favorite Christmas carols or anthems, Ali responded: “I’ve always loved the traditional ones: Silent Night, O Holy Night, Away in a Manger…particularly when sung in spontaneous harmony, even better when gathered around a piano!” —Eric Skelly
Don’t miss Very Merry Pops with Ali Ewoldt December 7, 8 and 9, 2018! Get tickets and more information at houstonsymphony.org.