November 21, 2018

Principal Organist and Curator of the Overture Concert Organ, Greg Zelek leads the Carol Sing on November 26, and John DeMain continues a Madison tradition with the Orchestra, guest singers and three choruses at three concerts on November 30th, December 1st and 2nd.

Madison, Wis. – Beginning with caroling in the lobby before the concert to the sing-along finale, where John DeMain and the Madison Symphony Orchestra don their Santa hats and more, “A Madison Symphony Christmas” is a joyous time for all. Christmas classics are interwoven with enchanting new holiday music featuring members of the Madison Symphony Chorus, the Madison Youth Choirs, and the Mount Zion Gospel Choir. This tradition marks the embrace and start of the holiday season for many people in Madison. Another holiday tradition, the “Community Carol Sing” with organist Greg Zelek, is free and open to the public, and sure to delight audiences of all ages. No tickets or reservations are needed for the Carol Sing.

”A Madison Symphony Christmas” performances will be held on Friday, November 30th at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, December 1st at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, December 2nd at 2:30 p.m. 45 minutes before each concert, audiences are invited to share the spirit of the holiday season singing carols along with the Madison Symphony Chorus. The free “Community Carol Sing” happens on Monday, November 26th at 7:00 p.m. and lasts 45 minutes to one hour. Both events take place in Overture Hall, at 201 State Street.

For the first time, “A Madison Symphony Christmas” can be experienced again in December — airing on Wisconsin Public Television, 12/17/18 at 8:00 p.m., and 12/25/18 at 9:30 p.m.

“Our annual Christmas concert has become a very meaningful experience for everyone involved — the choruses, Orchestra musicians, singers, and the audience,” John DeMain said. “With the Mt. Zion Gospel Choir, Madison Youth Choirs, and Madison Symphony Chorus joining our internationally-acclaimed opera singers, and climaxing with the entire audience participating in our Christmas carol sing along — one cannot help but leave the Hall with a feeling that the holiday season has begun. And hopefully, you will have a big glow in your heart.”

About Cecilia Violetta López

Celebrated soprano Cecilia Violetta López has been named one of opera’s “25 Rising Stars” by Opera News. Ms. Lopez has received accolades for her signature role of Violetta in La Traviata, which she has performed countless times throughout North America. Her début of the role was with Martina Arroyo Foundation’s prestigious summer festival, Prelude to Performance. She has also performed the role with Opera Tampa, Opera Idaho, Ash Lawn Opera, and in her company début with Virginia Opera. Ms. López also recently made her European début as Norina in Don Pasquale with Zomeropera in Belgium.

About Kyle Ketelsen 

Kyle Ketelsen, baritone, is in frequent demand by the world’s leading opera companies and orchestras for his vibrant and handsome stage presence and his distinctive vocalism. He has won first prize in several international vocal competitions, including the Metropolitan Opera National Council, the Richard Tucker Music Foundation (Career Grant), the George London Foundation, the Licia Albanese Puccini Foundation, the Sullivan Foundation, Opera Index, and the MacAllister Awards. Highlights of Mr. Ketelsen’s recent seasons include performances at the Opernhaus Zurich, Staatsoper Berlin, Minnesota Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Canadian Opera Company, and the Metropolitan Opera, as well as performances with the San Francisco Symphony, the National Symphony and performances at Carnegie Hall.

About the Madison Symphony Chorus 

The Madison Symphony Chorus gave its first public performance on February 23, 1928 and has performed regularly with the Madison Symphony Orchestra ever since. The Chorus is comprised of more than 150 volunteer musicians who come from all walks of life and enjoy combining their artistic talent under the direction of Beverly Taylor.

About the Madison Youth Choirs 

Recognized as an innovator in youth choral music education, Madison Youth Choirs (MYC) inspires enjoyment, learning and social development through the study and performance of high-quality and diverse choral literature. The oldest youth choir organization in Wisconsin, MYC serves more than 1,000 young people, ages 7-18, in a wide variety of choral programs. In addition to a public concert series, MYC conducts an annual spring tour of schools and retirement centers, performing for more than 7,000 students and senior citizens annually.

About the Mount Zion Gospel Choir 

Under the leadership of Leotha Stanley and his wife, Tamera Stanley, the Mount Zion Gospel Choir has been a part of the MSO Christmas concerts since 2005. The choir is primarily comprised of members from Mount Zion Baptist Church and includes representatives from other churches as well. The choir has traveled extensively throughout the Midwest and has journeyed to Europe, singing in France and Germany.

The Symphony recommends concert attendees arrive early for each performance to make sure they have time to pass through Overture Center’s security stations. The lobby opens 90 minutes prior to each concert. More information about A Madison Symphony Christmas is found here: https://madisonsymphony.org/event/a-madison-symphony-christmas/, and details about the free Community Carol Sing can be found here: https://madisonsymphony.org/event/free-community-carol-sing/.

Tickets for A Madison Symphony Christmas may be purchased in the following ways:

Discounted seats are subject to availability, and discounts may not be combined.


The Madison Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 93rd season in 2018–2019 and its 25th season under the leadership of Music Director John DeMain. The MSO has grown to be one of America’s leading regional orchestras, providing Madison and south-central Wisconsin with cultural and educational opportunities to interact with great masterworks and top-tier guest artists from around the world. Find more information at madisonsymphony.org

Major funding for the Christmas concert is provided by: American Printing, Fiore Companies, Inc., Nedrebo’s Formalwear, Maurice and Arlene Reese Family Foundation, BMO Harris Bank, Hooper Foundation/General Heating & Air Conditioning, Judith and Nick Topitzes, and An Anonymous Friend. Additional funding provided by Colony Brands, Inc., J.H. Findorff & Son Inc., Flad Architects, Forte Research Systems & Nimblify, Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c., and Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Community Carol Sing is presented in partnership with Overture Center for the Arts.

Peter Rodgers, Director of Marketing
Phone: (608) 257-3734 x226
Email: prodgers@madisonsymphony.org
Web: madisonsymphony.org
Photos: http://bit.ly/msochristmas2018

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