Published on November 13th, 2023


Tacoma, WA—Symphony Tacoma will continue its tradition of celebrating the holidays with two concerts in December. From cherished holiday songs from diverse traditions to Handel’s Messiah, the programs capture the themes, spirit and “sounds of the season.”



Winter Wonderland

Sunday, December 3 | 2:30 pm

Pantages Theater

Geoffrey Boers, conductor

Symphony Tacoma Voices (Geoffrey Boers, director)

Tacoma Youth Chorus (Judith Herrington, director)


On Sunday, December 3, the Pantages Theater stage will be teeming with singers and musicians as Symphony Tacoma presents Winter Wonderland, its annual collage of seasonal delights for the whole family. This year’s program features choral masterpieces and festive arrangements from various traditions that evoke the holiday spirit. Selections include classic works from Rimsky-Korsakov, Handel and Grieg as well as contemporary favorites such as Sleigh Ride and The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Joining the orchestra are a multitude of talented voices. The 80-member Symphony Tacoma Voices (STV) is a diverse chorus comprising gifted amateurs and professional musicians. Under the direction of Geoffrey Boers, they perform regularly with Symphony Tacoma and in stand-alone engagements.

Tacoma Youth Chorus (TYC) will also join the orchestra on stage for several selections of their own as well as joining the STV for a number of songs. TYC is Tacoma’s educational choral program for children in kindergarten through high school directed by Judith Herrington. Additionally, members of Tacoma Youth Symphony’s Brass Choir will entertain patrons as they arrive at the venue.

Winter Wonderland is sponsored by Tacoma Creates, Umpqua Bank, Compass Rose, Eliseo, Stadium Thriftway and Showcase Magazine. Tickets range from $24 to $87 and are on sale through the Symphony Tacoma Box Office at 253-272-7264 ext. 1 or online at symphonytacoma.org.


HALLELUJAH! (Handel’s Messiah)

Friday, December 15 | 7:30 pm

St. Charles Borromeo Church

Sarah Ioannides, conductor

Symphony Tacoma Voices (Geoffrey Boers, director)

Allison Pohl, soprano; José Luis Muñoz, countertenor; John Marzano, tenor; Elijah Blaisdell, bass

Tickets: $31 general admission | $49 reserved


Handel’s Messiah holds a unique place in the classical music canon. It is the most famous oratorio ever written, thanks in part to the tradition of annual performances that began during Handel’s lifetime and continue today, a testament to the power of the music to reach diverse audiences across generations. Messiah tells the story of Jesus not as a linear narrative, but rather as reflections of his life and its symbolic significance. It has become a Christmas season classic.

This year’s performance will be conducted by Sarah Ioannides and performed by Symphony Tacoma musicians and vocalists of Symphony Tacoma Voices. Featured soloists include Allison Pohl, soprano; José Luis Muñoz, countertenor; John Marzano, tenor; and Elijah Blaisdell, bass.

Messiah is sponsored by Tacoma Creates, Connelly Law, Tacoma Community College, Franke Tobey Jones and Applebaum Violin Shop. Tickets ($31 for general admission and $49 for reserved seating) are available through the Symphony Tacoma Box Office at 253-272-7264 ext. 1 or online at symphonytacoma.org.




Allison Pohl, soprano

Allison Pohl’s work has drawn positive reviews for her “sparkling voice” (outerstage.com) and “exuberant” performances (Opera News). Of her performance in L’elisir d’amore at Virginia Opera, The Washington Post wrote: “Allison Pohl stood out with a ripe, flavorful soprano and ample character.” Ms. Pohl performed the role of Adinain Tacoma Opera’s 2019 production of L’elisir d’amore. In 2023, she performed the role of Eva in the world premiere of 21st Century Romance at Town Hall Seattle. Ms. Pohl has performed chamber music and new compositions across North America in Soprello, a musical collaboration with her husband, Symphony Tacoma Principal Cellist Alistair MacRae.



José Luis Muñoz, countertenor

José Luis Muñoz has been described as “a fabulous countertenor” with “amazing, powerful expression.” A versatile performer, he is often heard premiering and creating new works and principal roles in such works as Bless Me, Ultima (Albuquerque), Kakitsubata (Cologne, Germany), and Don Quijote in the U.S. premiere of Mauricio Sotelo’s opera Dulcinea. Along with an artist diploma in early music studies from Cornish College of the Arts, Mr. Muñoz holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in both vocal and piano performance. He resides in Seattle.




John Marzano, tenor

Praised for his “light lyric tenor voice” and “fine musicality” (Boston Musical Intelligencer), John Marzano is a repeated performer with PLU Opera, Vashon Opera, Seattle Opera and Symphony Tacoma. Opera roles from recent seasons include Giuseppe in Verdi’s La Traviata, Hermosa in Offenbach’s L’ile de Tulipatan and Gherardo in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi. Mr. Marzano holds a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Pacific Lutheran University, where he studied under baritone Barry Johnson, and he also studied at the New England Conservatory.




Elijah Blaisdell, bass

An early and new music specialist, Elijah Blaisdell performs with ensembles across the country as both a soloist and chorister. He is the featured soloist on the 2019 Grammy Award winning album “Zealot Canticles” with The Crossing.

Additional highlights include performances of the new choral-theater work Aniara in Philadelphia, at the Haarlem Choral Biennale, and at the Helsinki National Opera; St. John Passion with Bach Society of St. Louis; and the Adams Fellowship with the Carmel Bach Festival. Mr. Blaisdell obtained his Bachelor

of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Central Washington University and his Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the New England Conservatory.



Building community through music. Inspiring audiences with live musical experiences that transcend tradition, Symphony Tacoma has been a vital part of Tacoma’s cultural landscape for 77 years. Today’s Symphony Tacoma is a metropolitan professional symphony orchestra with more than 80 orchestral musicians and a volunteer chorus of 80. Music Director Sarah Ioannides is renowned for her passionate conducting, creativity, arts collaboration, and commitment to innovation and diversity. Keeping live musical performance rooted in the heart of the region, Symphony Tacoma concertizes for an annual audience of nearly 20,000 citizens throughout Pierce County and the Greater Puget Sound area.