Carmel Symphony Orchestra Presents: “Holiday Pops”

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The Palladium // Dec 4


October/November 2022

Experience the exceptional as Carmel Symphony Orchestra under Artistic Director Janna Hymes gives you not one but two opportunities to kick off your holiday celebrations with matinee and evening performances of CSO’s “Holiday Pops.” We’ve reimagined our musical gift to you by inviting some of your very favorite performers to the party: multi-genre vocalist Josh Kaufman, winner of NBC-TV’s The Voice Season Six; the wonderful vocalist Leah Crane; the sensational dance troupe NZtapz; and the beloved Indianapolis Children’s Choir! Along with the CSO, they’re guaranteed to get your holidays off to a rousing start. Don’t miss it! Make plans now to be with us on December 4 for one or both shows!

It is always a pleasure to highlight CSO’s “Holiday Pops,” and this year promises to be another exhilarating experience that will feature some of central Indiana’s celebrated talents Leah Crane and Josh Kaufman. So, buy your tickets and build your holiday memories in the heart of Carmel!

Purchase your tickets and learn more about how you can support CSO at

A Word From The Artistic Director

CSO opened their season with a phenomenal celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month in a concert featuring Pavel & Direct Contact. Hymes spoke about the energy that was created in the hall of the Palladium and her intentions to build from that [energy and diversity] throughout the current and future seasons.

Carmel Symphony Orchestra 2021–22

“Our first concert we did was so different and unique in the sense that we had all these people [attend] who had never come to our concerts before,” Hymes shared. “I loved it because some people think about orchestra, they think, ‘Oh, it’s not my thing,’ and then they come and they’re like, ‘Well, yes, it really is my thing,’ because we [CSO] don’t just play Beethoven and composers like that, even though we, of course, love that and are trained for that. But we also play the pops, and we play holiday [concerts] and children’s concerts. So, the message is: ‘We do it all!’”

Hymes and I spoke before the launch of the 2022–23 season about how she intentionally programmed this [season] to bring the community as a whole together and to expose both the audiences and musicians to music that is more diverse and unique.

“My whole message right now is that it’s all about bringing people together and reaching every facet of the community,” Hymes expressed. “We’re finding guest artists that are going to knock the socks off our audiences. It’s been two years of really hard and horrible stuff, and now, it’s our time to spread joy and to do it in unique ways. I am proud of our orchestra for stepping up and playing music that is so different for them and challenging in many ways.”

When asked about the state of the CSO organization — post-pandemic restrictions— and specifically about this year’s “Holiday Pops” concert, Hymes shared, “I’m excited because I see changes within our organization and eye-opening experiences that are just fun. And we’ve got this amazing ‘Holiday Pops’ [concert] coming up and other exciting things coming down the pike. I love collaborations with other arts organizations because we bring not only our audiences together, but we also create something that we probably wouldn’t do except for that time, and if you miss it, it’s done. We are continuing to look at bringing in different organizations, and I’m all about that. And I think audiences love it too.”

Featuring Exceptional Local Talent

Those who attended CSO’s season opener that featured Pavel & Direct Contact have already experienced the spectacular talent and charisma of Indianapolis vocalist Leah Crane.

Crane is well known to audiences in the Hoosier state, throughout the Midwest, and beyond. The versatile singer studied at the renowned IU Jacobs School of Music. Equally at home on the international concert stage, in commercial recording studios, and in faith communities, she is also the lead vocalist for Pavel & Direct Contact Latin Jazz and Salsa.

Carmel Symphony Orchestra Holiday

Leah is an accomplished studio session singer, and she can often be heard on national promotional recordings for various music publishers, including Walt Disney, Hal Leonard, Beckenhorst, Lorenz, Alfred, Carl Fischer, and Shawnee Press. She recently finished recording a solo album of jazz and Brazilian standards with Chicago-based producer/arranger Paul Langford, “Lucky to Be Me,” available on all platforms.

In addition to her many musical pursuits, she is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at IU Health’s Riley Hospital for Children, having earned a graduate degree in social work from Indiana University. She and her husband Jeff reside in Indianapolis with their two children, Karis and Carson.

Carmel Symphony Orchestra Holiday

Crane shared her thoughts on the importance of people coming together this holiday season in celebration of life and in practicing gratitude amid our challenges and daily stressors. She also shared her excitement for working with CSO again and performing for the audiences at this year’s “Holiday Pops” concerts.

“I work at Riley Hospital four days a week, and I get to see some of people’s best moments of their lives and some of the worst moments,” Crane said. “I have a unique window to see into some of the most challenging aspects of what’s going on from a medical perspective. And there are even more ways that our society is feeling stressed and anxious. All you have to do is turn on the news for a second or look at your social media — if you’re following too many negative people — and you just get a sense of feeling overwhelmed. If we practice gratitude and practice being able to celebrate everyday moments, I think that’s the only way to combat the stress, pressure and anxiety that we all feel just being in this world right now.”

Crane continued, “I’ve got friends and family already buying tickets [to ‘Holiday Pops’] and it’s definitely not too early to start getting your tickets! I’ve had the opportunity to work with ICC several times and Josh [Joshua] Pedde is another ball of energy and pure excitement. Having the Indianapolis Children’s Choir there bringing all of their families out is going to be a huge bonus. They have such a great following and perform at such a high level of excellence. And people just love watching kids sing! And Josh Kaufman is an incredible vocalist. Of course, everyone has followed his career from the time he was on ‘The Voice’ and won. I used to sing in the studio with him [Kaufman] doing publisher demos, and I also did some caroling gigs with him. He’s just a really amazing artist.”

Crane shared a couple of teasers about her upcoming performance and duets in CSO’s “Holiday Pops.”

“Josh [Kaufman] and I will be doing a couple of duets — one of the duets is ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside,’ a great holiday classic. And the other [duet] is a famous Stevie Wonder song, which I’ve loved listening to but have never actually sung before: ‘Someday at Christmas.’ I’ve never heard it done with an orchestra, so I think that’s going to be really awesome! And then I have two solos, arrangements by my friend Paul Langford, who does fabulous orchestral arrangements. One of my solos is a bossa nova arrangement and the other song is Paul’s arrangement of ‘O Holy Night,’ and it’s beautiful. It has the high B-flat at the end, which everybody loves. It’s going to be great!”

For more information about Leah Crane, visit