Arts » Classical Music

Review: 30th Annual IPL Yuletide Celebration



5 stars

Yuletide Celebration at the ISO once again sparkles with an audience anticipating the surprises of change and the delight of favorites returning.

The Dec. 6 audience applause for Yuletide Jukebox grew as host Sandi Patti and the Yuletide company of three dozen singers and dancers romped through decades of pop tunes set into the holiday mode.

For Yuletide’s 30th anniversary music director Jack Everly, executive producer Ty A. Johnson and choreographer and stage director Jennifer Ladner created a visually sumptuous sharing of fun. Sandi Patty treats the stage as an extension of her living room and the audience as friends and family who happened to stop by: And it’s that cozy comfort combined with the whirlwind change of costumes for each of the fourteen segments that makes for a memorable experience.


The 15th whirl of “costumery” comes from guest artists David & Dania, whose magic as quick change artists leaves everyone wondering “how do they do that?!” I gave up counting past ten for Dania’s newest makeover on stage right before our eyes in a 15-minute act. We figure there’s a crew of dressers backstage for the company performers to shed and one sparkling outfit and put on another to make it onstage on time with nothing falling off and hair and makeup in perfect order. Of course, we love the crew of Elves transforming into Tapping Santas within seconds of disappearing out of one door and reappearing from another — right on stage — to high kick a la Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. And then the larger than life Santa [is that a new head with sparkle glasses?] plops down the chimney for the 27th year when the moment before he was a puppet atop the chimney for another Night Before Christmas. And yes, the stage itself transforms into a Disney-like setting for the reappearance of a beautifully rendered Tribute to Frozen, including a special moment with aerialist Kristen Noonan and ISO violinist Sherry Hong pairing for the introspective depth of the story.

The most poignant quiet, tender interlude comes from a delicately muted celebration of "Away in a Manger" featuring the artistry of the ISO players. The most awesome has to be the Sandi Patty ‘blended’ family sharing. Joined by her husband Don and three of their eight children (Katie Peslis, Aly Peslis and Jon Helvering) Patty takes a moment to reflect on ‘mother pride.’

It comes down to family and friendship, reflection and laughter, joy and wonderment. The 12 days of Christmas are now upon us.

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Hilbert Circle Theatre
Continues through Dec. 23; tickets at 317-639-4300 or


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