Holiday Traditions with the Houston Symphony

Holiday Traditions with the Houston Symphony

When our musicians are not on the Jones Hall stage playing for the Houston community, they are making memories with their family and friends. Here's how some Houston Symphony orchestra and chorus members spend their holidays.

Brinton Averil Smith

Principal Cello
Janice and Thomas Barrow Chair

“For Thanksgiving, we always invite the ‘stray’ musicians without a family in town to join us—lots of music talk, lots of wine, and lots of fun! We also have a party for our cello section and their families every December—the least I can do for one of the best cello sections on the planet!”

Grace Roman

Chorus Member

“My husband, Jim, and I love to make traditional Italian cookies called pizzelles during the Christmas season. They’re thin, pressed cookies that look a little like snowflakes and are dusted with powdered sugar. All of our friends know to expect them as gifts during December!”

Mark Hughes

Principal Trumpet
George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Chair

“I love spending all day Christmas Eve at my church (St. Martin’s Episcopal) playing services.”

Ashley Sorenson

Chorus Member

“We like to sing at nursing homes Christmas morning, right after breakfast and before opening gifts at home. It makes the day a little bit more special. My disease has prevented us from participating in this some years, but that is the hope each Christmas morning.”

Colin Gatwood


“I love a Christmas tree with lots of lights. One of the last things is to put the abominable snowman from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on top of the tree. I always revert to about six-years-old and start screaming.”

Allison Arnold

Chorus Member

“My family loves to drive around and see beautiful holiday lights, bake my mom’s famous Christmas cookies, and watch classic holiday movies. And this year, we’ll add Very Merry Pops to the list!”

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