Classical Music

'Ho-Ho-Holiday' Brings Joy To The Holiday Season

Holiday music will fill Jones Hall this weekend with Ho-Ho-Holiday.
Holiday music will fill Jones Hall this weekend with Ho-Ho-Holiday. Photo by Anthony Rathbun
Haul out the holly. Houston Symphony is invigorating the yuletide spirit with Ho-Ho-Holiday at Jones Hall on Saturday. The orchestra will welcome children from ages one to 92 to partake in a celebration of the season including songs from Disney’s Frozen, music from The Polar Express, “Sleigh Ride,” a holiday sing-along and more. Choirs from Cypress Falls and Jersey Village high schools will also participate.

Adding to the fun, Santa will make an appearance to coincide with kid-friendly activities, caroling stations and free hot chocolate. Activities will take place before the 10 a.m. concert and immediately after the 11:30 a.m. concert.

To make Ho-Ho-Holiday extra special, Chelsea Cymone will join as a guest vocalist.

“I'm always honored when Houston Symphony considers me to perform because it means they consider me as something special. I appreciate and that I take seriously. I'm always grateful to be considered,” she said.

And why not consider Cymone for the holiday concert? Her background certainly gives credence to her capability.

Cymone made her debut as a featured soloist with the Houston Symphony in 2018 in several POPS performances. This relationship has helped sustain her as a well-rounded vocalist. She has performed several times as the featured artist for Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Christmas and Thanksgiving parades. She has performed as a background vocalist for Motown Gospel’s artist Gene Moore, Chante’ Moore, Mya, Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child, Regina Belle, Kenny Latimore, and Ernest Walker entertainment. She is currently touring with Grammy-nominated artist Ella Mai.

For Cymone, music is something she grew up interested in, so it is only natural she pursued it into adulthood.

“I've been performing since I was three. I grew up in a family that were all the singers and musicians in the church, so there was always singing around my mother's house. My mom just kind of knew that I had something special,” Cymone said. “I attended Johnston Middle School, which is the performing arts school, and High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) here in Houston. My mom definitely hit the nail on the head with her instincts about my voice. It definitely enhanced my natural given talents so that I would be performing all of my life.”

Over the years, Johnston Middle School was renamed Meyerland Performing and Visual Arts Middle School, and through a name-making donation, HSPVA is now adorned with Kinder at the beginning of its title and has relocated to downtown Houston.

To prepare for the concert, Cymone mentions that it takes months to gear up for the one-day performance.

“I started learning the music around September. I'm kind of old school. I write the words on a notepad, and then the writing puts helps me to memorize the lyrics. It's like a mind trick,” she said. “But that's how I memorize the music, and I rehearse in my car because I can sing as loud as I want in my car without bothering anyone.”

Our advice? Sing out loud, Chelsea, as a vehicle vocalist - it will only make you an even better performer for when showtime comes.

Houston Symphony’s Ho-Ho-Holiday takes place at 10 and 11:30 a.m. Saturday December 17 at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana, with family friendly events before the first show and after the second show. Children of all ages, including infants, are welcome at Family Series performances. All patrons must have a ticket when entering the concert venue, and lap children are welcome for free with an adult ticket. For more information or tickets, call 713-224-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. $29 - $49.
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Sam Byrd is a freelance contributor to the Houston Press who loves to take in all of Houston’s sights, sounds, food and fun. He also loves helping others to discover Houston’s rich culture.
Contact: Sam Byrd