Atlanta Pops Orchestra to Perform Holiday Gala Concert at Atlanta’s Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, December 1, 2016

Atlanta Pops Orchestra to Perform Holiday Gala Concert at Atlanta’s Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, December 1, 2016

Christmas at Callanwolde Gala Concert To Feature John Driskell Hopkins, Michelle Malone and the VaudeVillains


Balsam Range Art of Music Festival at Lake Junaluska, NC; Ellijay, Greensboro,
Cartersville, and Atlanta, GA; Enterprise and Dothan, AL; and Newberry, SC

ATLANTA, GA — The Atlanta Pops Orchestra is back for another season of holiday music, including a Gala Concert at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center on Thursday, December 1, 2016, at 7:30 p.m., as part of its annual Christmas at Callanwolde, a spectacular Atlanta Christmas destination. Featured on the gala concert program, alongside the orchestra, will be John Driskell Hopkins (Zac Brown Band) and Michelle Malone (blues guitarist and vocalist), led by conductor Dr. Tom Gibson. Hopkins will sing various holiday classics with the orchestra — which are also featured on the Pops recording, In The Spirit: A Celebration of the Holidays — including “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “Christmas Time Is Here,” and “O, Holy Night.” Malone will also sing holiday songs with the orchestra including “Count Your Blessings,” “Jingle Bells,” “Blue Christmas,” and one of her own original songs, “Feels like Christmas.” Opening the evening will be the traditional country guitar trio, the VaudeVillains.

Tickets for the Christmas at Callanwolde Holiday Gala can be purchased online at

This year, Callanwolde has partnered with Illuminating Design Inc. to transform the exterior grounds and gardens of the historic Candler Estate into a spectacular wonderland for a new Christmas at Callanwolde Light Show November 21–December 29, from 6–10:00 p.m. The always popular Designer Show House will return November 28 – December 13, from 11:00 a.m. –6:00 p.m., where visitors of all ages will enjoy touring the 27,000 square-foot historic Candler mansion which will be elaborately decorated with professional holiday displays, an expansive artist market and themed events for all ages and offering a variety of opportunities to celebrate the season with daily events.

“Callanwolde is a beautiful facility and their Christmas season decorations are fantastic,” said John Driskell Hopkins. “It’s a wonderful setting for this concert with the Atlanta Pops, and the staff is always fabulous. I look forward to being a part of a performance that is quickly becoming a great Atlanta tradition.” “It is such a joy for Callanwolde Performing Fine Arts Center to partner with the Atlanta Pops Orchestra,” said Callanwolde Fine Arts Center Executive Director Peggy Still Johnson. “Their musicianship is at an excellent level, and we both share a rich history of music and arts in Atlanta. Our guests are in for a real treat this year.” “All of us at the Atlanta Pops Orchestra are thrilled to be part of the Christmas at Callanwolde tradition,” said Atlanta Pops Orchestra CEO Leonard Altieri. “Nothing impacts a person’s holiday spirit in the way traditional holiday music does. We look forward to another great holiday season of tremendous music.”

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In addition to the Christmas at Callanwolde Gala Concert, the Orchestra will continue to travel the southeast with performances throughout the holiday season, including:
• Sat, Nov 12 | Ellijay, GA | Ellijay Auditorium
• Thur, Nov 17 | Enterprise, AL | Coffee County Arts Alliance
• Fri, Dec 2 | Lake Junaluska, NC | Balsam Range Art of Music Festival
• Tue, Dec 6 | Dothan, AL | Music South with John Driskell Hopkins
• Wed, Dec 7 | Greensboro, GA | Oconee Performing Arts
• Sat, Dec 10 | Cartersville, GA | The Grand Theatre
• Sun, Dec 18 | Atlanta, GA | The Vista Room with John Driskell Hopkins
• Sat, Jan 7 | Newberry, SC | Newberry Opera House

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The Atlanta Pops Orchestra is a premier provider of live orchestral music programming for the state of Georgia, the Southeastern U.S. and beyond. With a rich history spanning more than seven decades, the orchestra has captivated audiences throughout the world. Equally adept performing pop, jazz, folk, hip-hop, light classical, country and more, the Atlanta Pops challenges the expectation of what an orchestra is capable of delivering.

The Atlanta Pops Orchestra has released a number of recordings over the years, the most recent being 2015’s In The Spirit: A Celebration of the Holidays, a collaborative effort with John Driskell Hopkins — a founding member of three-time GRAMMY-winning and multi-platinum group, Zac Brown Band. The Christmas recording showcases a sound firmly rooted in tradition, but distinctively modern. Featuring new arrangements by Wes Funderburk, the album also includes guest appearances by singer Laura Bell Bundy, legendary folk duo Indigo Girls and award-winning bluegrass group Balsam Range. The album continues to be well-received by fans and critics alike, serving to showcase the versatility of the orchestra in the recording studio.

To mark the orchestra’s 70th anniversary, efforts were made in 2015 to reconnect to the vibrant energy of the present-day, collaborative Atlanta music scene. A two-night engagement at Oglethorpe University brought together a diverse group of Atlanta superstars representing the diverse sounds of the city. Guest artists included former Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Henry Mancini trumpeter Cecil Welch, pianist Brent Runnels, blues guitarist Michelle Malone, hip-hop trailblazers Arrested Development, beatbox protégé HeaveN Beatbox, jazz trumpeter Joe Gransden, singer Chris Wright (performing a song written by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal), world-fusion duo Montana Skies and Americana singer-songwriter Levi Lowrey. Entitled Bringing Together the Past and the Present, the concerts have served as a springboard for the orchestra’s current-day endeavors. Under the direction of Conductor and Music Director Dr. Jason Altieri, the Atlanta Pops orchestra performs concerts throughout the Southeast for special events, performing arts center subscription series, concert associations, and colleges and universities. The orchestra also accompanies celebrity artists on tour and performs at national and international business conventions. Atlanta Pops Orchestra musicians perform as pit musicians for the Fabulous Fox Theatre Broadway Series as well as for other travelling productions, such as Celtic Woman, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Mannheim Steamroller. Dr. Altieri also serves as Associate Conductor of the Reno (NV) Philharmonic and as Director of the Orchestra Program at The University of Nevada, Reno.


Callanwolde Fine Arts Center is a 501c3 non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve the historic Candler Estate and offer fine arts and outreach to the community. The Estate is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was built in 1920 by the Candler family. Classes and workshops are offered for all ages in visual, literary and performing arts. Special performances, concerts, events gallery exhibits, outreach programs, rentals, and fundraising galas are presented and offered throughout the year.

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Atlanta Pops Orchestra media contact:
Melissa A.E. Sanders, Watkins McGowan
404.909.6726 |

Callanwolde Fine Arts Center media contact:
David Kresses
404.872.5338, ext. 228 |