Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra
In a country that still takes many of its classical cues from its European counterparts, few institutions feel as distinctly American as the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra. Though founded on the model of the Viennese garden orchestras of the late 1800s, which offered informal summer concerts featuring light musical fare, the Pops quickly evolved into a platform for promoting the works of American composers, a tradition that has continued to flourish over the course of the ensemble’s 117 years. Currently under the direction of Keith Lockhart, who succeeded conductor and film composer John Williams in 1995, the Boston Pops continues to spread the word thanks to a steady schedule of concert events held across the United States, an ever-growing catalog of recordings and the award-winning PBS series An Evening at Pops. Its current Holiday Pops tour is marked by the orchestra’s Kansas City debut, an event that will feature soprano Kathleen Brett and a special musical arrangement of “The Night Before Christmas,” to be narrated by area arts philanthropist Julia Irene Kauffman.