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Peppermint Pops on its way

Olivia Grace Higgins shows some holiday spirit wearing a pink Santa hat as she sings along with her brownie troop in 2008 during the 17th annual Peppermint Pops Tuesday night at the Albany Civic Center.

Olivia Grace Higgins shows some holiday spirit wearing a pink Santa hat as she sings along with her brownie troop in 2008 during the 17th annual Peppermint Pops Tuesday night at the Albany Civic Center.

ALBANY -- Area high school choirs, the Albany Chorale and a popular soloist who is the dean of the Albany State University College of Arts and Humanities Department will be on stage with the Albany Symphony Orchestra for a pair of Peppermint Pops concerts Saturday.

The symphony is presenting the 20th annual holiday program at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Albany Municipal Auditorium.

The concerts will feature traditional Christmas favorites such as "O Holy Night," which will be sung by Leroy Bynum, an ASU dean and professor. There will be performances of "Hallelujah Chorus" from "Messiah," as well as Hanukkah musical selections.

Aside from Bynum and the Albany Chorale, there will be appearances by the choirs of Monroe Comprehensive High School, Lee County High School and Westover Comprehensive High School. The choirs of Southside Middle School and Robert Cross Middle Magnet School will also perform in the auditorium lobby leading up to the afternoon show.

Santa Claus is set to make an appearance as part of the event's traditional sing-along.

"We expect a great turnout this year," said Symphony Association Executive Director Karen Allen. "This seems to be the concert that people most look forward to.

"This is a tradition that involves many members of the community. It's a great partnership between the symphony and the community, and something people have been looking forward to for 20 years."

The concerts are being led by guest conductor David Hoose, music director for the Cantata Singers and Ensemble, the Collage New Music and a professor of music at Boston University School of Music. He has appeared as a guest conductor with ensembles including the Chicago Philharmonic, the Boston Symphony and Italy's Orchestra Regionale Toscana.

A welcome will be provided by Albany Mayor Willie Adams.

The auditorium is located at 200 N. Jackson St. General admission is free, but a canned food item donation is suggested to benefit the area food bank.

There is still preferred general admission seating available for $12, which is included in season subscriptions. The doors are expected to open at least 30 minutes before both shows for general admission.

There will be a Conductor's Circle reception held at the Carnegie Library, located adjacent to the auditorium ay 215 N. Jackson St., between the afternoon and evening shows. This segment of the program allows Conductor's Circle members to mingle with one another, as well as meet Hoose.

Admission to the reception is included in previously purchased Conductor's Circle season passes. Although, there will be a limited number of individual tickets being sold the day of the event for $15.

In addition to The Albany Herald, which provides the song books for the event, sponsors include the City of Albany; Albany Municipal Auditorium; Phoebe Community Visions; WALB-TV, which is televising the evening performance; Procter & Gamble; Leigh Brooks; HertiageBank of the South; Moore, Clarke, DuVall & Rodgers; MillerCoors; Watson Spence; SB&T; Courtyard by Marriott; Fairfield Inn and Suites; Albany Rotary Club; Lawn Barber Nursery and George "Smitty" Johnson.

For more information, contact the symphony at (229) 430-8933.