Merry, Merry Chicago: CSO holiday concert featuring The von Trapps

Merry, Merry Chicago: CSO holiday concert featuring The von Trapps
Voices Rising a talented group of young singers will perform as part of the CSO's Merry, Merry Chicago.

Chicago, are you ready for a brand new holiday tradition? The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) has put together an original holiday concert, Merry, Merry Chicago that seems destined to become a family favorite.

The show replaces the CSO’s popular Welcome, Yule! concert that gave its farewell performances last December after a 20-year run.

The new holiday concert, Merry, Merry Chicago offers a fresh slate of holiday entertainment presented in a festively decorated Orchestra Hall. The show opens tomorrow Friday, December 18 at 7 pm. and continues daily (except Sunday) at 3 pm. through Wednesday, December 23.

Orchestra Hall will be filled with the sounds of Christmas from The von Trapps, the outstanding Midwest Young Artists Voices Rising children’s choir, members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and, of course, that certain someone from the North Pole.

The von Trapps to perform at the CSO's Merry, Merry Chicago

The von Trapps will perform at Symphony Center in a new holiday program, Merry, Merry Chicago. Photo: Ben Moon

The von Trapps, the next generation, includes siblings Sofia (26), August (20), Melanie (24) and Amanda (23) the talented great-grandchildren of the Captain and Maria von Trapp depicted in The Sound of Music. They’ve been touring the world from Beijing’s Forbidden City to the Sydney Opera House for 14 years sparked by a homemade recording they gave their grandfather Werner von Trapp when he was ill to cheer him up.

The von Trapps will perform songs from The Sound of Music along with traditional and classic holiday favorites.

The Voices Rising children’s choir (pictured at the top of the post), directed by Stevi Marks, is an ensemble of 57 carefully selected percussionists, singers and dancers. The extremely talented young artists, ages 10 to 18, have performed throughout Chicago and the country–from Ravinia to the Kennedy Center with an upcoming engagement this June at Carnegie Hall. The Voices Rising choir has been part of the Welcome, Yule! concerts for the past nine years.

This year they will perform in the all-new Merry, Merry Chicago concert with the CSO for two selections: “This Christmastide,” a gorgeous carol originally written for opera star Jessye Norman, and an original energetically choreographed rendition of “Jingle Bell Rock,” that promises to rock the entire Hall. In addition, the choir will participate in four festive sing-alongs including an update of the original “Christmas in Chicago.”

A highlight of the concert promises to be their performance with The von Trapps when they join forces to sing the magnificent and emotional “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music.

Maestro Stuart Chafetz, who has conducted programs with The von Trapps as well as many other noted performers including Chris Botti, Roberta Flack, George Benson, Richard Chamberlain, The Chieftains, Jennifer Holliday, John Denver, Marvin Hamlisch, Thomas Hampson, Wynonna Judd will conduct.

The concert will feature “Deck The Halls,” “Carol of the Bells,” “The Little Drummer Boy” and “Jingle Bell Rock,” as well as treasured carols “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “Joy to the World,” and more–along with some surprise performances we will not reveal so as not to spoil the surprise.

Merry, Merry Chicago at the CSO.

Merry, Merry Chicago a new holiday show at the CSO

The all-new Merry, Merry Chicago is perfect for children (ages 5 and up) and adults of all ages


Tickets for Merry, Merry Chicago! with The von Trapps — December 18-23 can be purchased by phone at 800‑223‑7114 or 312-294‑3000; online at or at the Symphony Center box office: 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

Discounted student tickets for select concerts can be purchased, subject to availability, online in advance or at the box office on the day of the concert. For group rates, please call 312-294-3040.

Handel’s Messiah

You still have time to catch Handel’s Messiah led by Guest conductor Bernard Labadie in its final performance for 2015 on December 20, at 3 p.m.  Handel’s Messiah has been an important part of the CSO’s repertoire over its 125-year history, including a performance during the Orchestra’s very first season in 1891. Soloists Lydia Teuscher (soprano), Allyson McHardy (mezzo-soprano), Jeremy Ovenden (tenor) and Philippe Sly (bass-baritone) make their CSO debuts in these performances.

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