Press Room

Very Merry Pops

Broadway Powerhouse Ali Edwoldt and the Houston Symphony Chorus Join the Orchestra for Holiday Classic Very Merry Pops

HOUSTON (Nov. 27, 2018) – The Houston Symphony is decking the halls with Principal POPS Conductor Steven Reineke as it welcomes Broadway star Ali Ewoldt this holiday season for the annual Very Merry Pops extravaganza at Jones Hall 8 p.m. Dec. 7-8, and 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9.

Having recently completed more than two years in her starring role as Christine Daaé in Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera, Ewoldt joins the Symphony in her debut performance in Houston with beloved holiday classics like “Jingle Bell Rock,” “A Winter Wonderland” and many more festive tunes. Ewoldt’s credits also include her Broadway debut performance as Cosette in Les Misérables.

The Houston Symphony Chorus under the direction of Betsy Cook Weber also joins Reineke and Ewodlt for unforgettable renditions of favorite holiday songs.

Very Merry Pops takes place at Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, 615 Louisiana Street, in Houston’s Theater District. For tickets and information, please call (713) 224-7575 or visit Tickets may also be purchased at the Houston Symphony Patron Services Center in Jones Hall (Monday–Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). All programs and artists are subject to change.

Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, at 8 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 8, 2018, at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, at 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.
Steven Reineke, conductor
Ali Ewoldt, vocalist
Houston Symphony Chorus
    Betsy Cook Weber, director

About Steven Reineke
Steven Reineke has established himself as one of North America’s leading conductors of popular music. In addition to being Principal POPS Conductor at the Houston Symphony, Steven is the music director of The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, principal pops conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and principal pops conductor of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. He previously held the posts of principal pops conductor of the Long Beach and Modesto Symphony Orchestras and associate conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.

Steven is a frequent guest conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra and has been on the podium with the Boston Pops Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia. His extensive North American conducting appearances include Atlanta, Cincinnati, Edmonton and San Francisco.

On stage, Steven has created programs and collaborated with a range of leading artists from the worlds of hip hop, Broadway, television and rock, including Common, Kendrick Lamar, Nas, Sutton Foster, Megan Hilty, Cheyenne Jackson, Wayne Brady, Peter Frampton and Ben Folds, among others. In 2017, he was featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered leading the National Symphony Orchestra—in a first for the show’s 45-year history—performing live music excerpts between news segments.

As the creator of more than 100 orchestral arrangements for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, Steven’s work has been performed worldwide and can be heard on numerous Cincinnati Pops Orchestra recordings on the Telarc label. His symphonic works Celebration Fanfare, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Casey at the Bat are performed frequently in North America, including performances by the New York Philharmonic and Los Angeles Philharmonic. His Sun Valley Festival Fanfare was used to commemorate the Sun Valley Summer Symphony’s pavilion, and his Festival Te Deum and Swan’s Island Sojourn were debuted by the Cincinnati Symphony and Cincinnati Pops Orchestras. His numerous wind ensemble compositions are published by the C.L. Barnhouse Company and are performed by concert bands worldwide.

A native of Ohio, Steven is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, where he earned Bachelor of Music degrees with honors in both trumpet performance and music composition. He currently resides in New York City with his husband, Eric Gabbard.

About Ali Ewoldt
Ali Ewoldt recently completed more than two years as Christine Daaé in Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera. She made her Broadway debut as Cosette in Les Misérables, a role she also played on the national tour, and appeared in Lincoln Center’s recent Tony Award-winning revival of The King and I. Ali has played Maria in numerous productions of West Side Story across the world, including in Houston on the 2009 Broadway Revival’s first national tour.

Other credits include: The Fantasticks (Luisa) off-Broadway, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Philia) at The Muny in St. Louis, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s The King and I (Tuptim) and McCarter Theatre’s A Christmas Carol (Fan/Mrs. Bonds).

Ali performed her solo concert at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York and has sung in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and The Town Hall. She made her The New York Pops Carnegie Hall debut with Matt Doyle and Maestro Steven Reinecke last year. She has sung with the American Pops Orchestra under the direction of Luke Frazier and with the Boston Pops Orchestra with Maestro Keith Lockhart. Her TV/film credits include The Michael J. Fox Show, Yield, Drama: The Web Series and the short film Mia. Ali has a BA in psychology from Yale University. Visit

About the Houston Symphony
During the 2018-19 season, the Houston Symphony celebrates its fifth season with Music Director Andrés Orozco- Estrada and continues its second century as one of America’s leading orchestras with a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. The Houston Symphony, one of the oldest performing arts organizations in Texas, held its inaugural performance at The Majestic Theater in downtown Houston June 21, 1913. Today, with an annual operating budget of $33.9 million, the full-time ensemble of 88 professional musicians presents nearly 170 concerts annually, making it the largest performing arts organization in Houston. Additionally, musicians of the orchestra and the Symphony’s four Community-Embedded Musicians offer over 900 community-based performances each year, reaching thousands of people in Greater Houston.

The Grammy Award-winning Houston Symphony has recorded under various prestigious labels, including Naxos, Koch International Classics, Telarc, RCA Red Seal, Virgin Classics and, most recently, Dutch recording label PENTATONE. In 2017, the Houston Symphony was awarded an ECHO Klassik award for the live recording of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck under the direction of former Music Director Hans Graf. The orchestra earned its first Grammy nomination and Grammy Award at the 60th annual ceremony for the same recording in the Best Opera Recording category.

Eric Skelly: (713) 337-8560,
Mireya Reyna: (713) 337-8557,


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