I had my first experience with the holiday variety of the Boston Pops over the weekend, and it is an understatement to describe it as a frenzied assault of Christmas insanity.
Holiday Pops is a necessary evil that accompanies the opportunity to sing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on actual pieces of real music. You want to sing Stravinsky, Beethoven, Mozart and Mahler? Then you have to sing the Pops' "Sleigh Ride" 15 times, and put on Santa hats while swaying on stage to the Christmas Sing-a-long.
What's amazing about the whole affair is the frenzy the audience is whipped into over the course of an evening. They start off dressed in their nice little Christmas sweaters, sitting at their tables ordering a drink or two.
Then the insanity begins as inane arrangements of Christmas song after Christmas song (with repeats!) are blared into their faces by a stage full of musicians who could not look less excited. After a few more rounds of drinks, the audience reaches intermission, hungry for more...
After another few rounds of drinks, another 20 minutes of crappy music, and prodding from an overly enthusiastic conductor, Santa walks in mid-song. Symphony hall experiences a collective climax of screaming, flailing and pawing at ol' St. Nick. Even certain members of the chorus (who shall remain nameless) can't refrain from waving at Santa as he enters.
After Santa leaves, the entire audience is easily convinced to join in the sing-a-long as the conductor takes a wireless mic out into the crowd to be mauled by drunken women shrieking the chorus of "Jingle Bells". And once the sing-a-long is over and the audience has raucously demanded an encore or two, they finally walk out of Symphony Hall onto Mass Ave, strung out and wasted.
So there you have it. I just saved you between $50 and $200 by summarizing an experience at the Boston Holiday Pops complete with helpful visual aids.
An early Christmas from me to you!