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Annual Rockefeller Christmas concert to have Celtic flavor
Friday, September 23, 2016

Annual Rockefeller Christmas concert to have Celtic flavor

The Highland Divas, a Celtic vocal trio, will be the featured guest artists when Rockefeller Arts Center presents “Poinsettia Pops."

Rockefeller Arts Center is pleased to continue a tradition that goes back more than 25 years with yet another festive holiday concert.

“Poinsettia Pops” will be presented on Thursday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in King Concert Hall as part of the DFT Communications Series.

The Highland Divas, a trio based in New York City, will bring their Celtic vocal stylings to some all-time Christmas classics.

Also featured will be the Western New York Chamber Orchestra. Fifty musicians will be performing lush arrangements under the baton of Glen Cortese.

Three of Fredonia’s own talented student vocalists will also perform - Lucia Helgren, Juliana Grabowksi and Mariami Bekauri. Ms. Helgren was featured in last season’s Commencement Eve Pops production of “The Music Man in Concert” and the 2016 Hillman Opera, and is a School of Music Concerto Competition winner.

The program includes favorite Christmas songs like “O Come Emmanuel,” “Let It Snow,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “The Little Drummer Boy” and selections from “The Nutcracker.”

Tickets are available online or in person through the Fredonia Campus Ticket Office in the Williams Center, or by phone at 673-3501.

This event is sponsored by DFT Communications and Bahgat and Laurito-Bahgat, CPAs as part of the Lake Shore Savings Season.

Featured guest artists The Highland Divas are comprised of two Scots — Georgia Johnson of Glasgow and Margaret Kelly of Falkirk — and one Kiwi — Marla Kavanaugh of Dunedin, New Zealand.

After performing in United States for more than a decade on their own, they came together to form The Highland Divas.

The trio has gone from singing for New York-based Scottish groups such as the American Scottish Foundation and the St. Andrew’s Society to performing at Madison Square Garden prior to New York Rangers hockey games.

The Highland Divas have also appeared multiple times on the “Hour of Power” television program, which airs internationally to an audience of millions.

They have been guest artists with the Greeley Philharmonic in Colorado and made their debut performance at Scotland’s Clyde Auditorium later year with the Glasgow Philharmonia. They also recently made their debut performance at Carnegie Hall.

One critic said of The Highland Divas, “The strengths and talents of these women are extremely apparent as individual performers, but it is their incredible blend as a trio that has audiences giving them standing ovations every night as they perform songs full of emotion and power. An incredible show and a must-see trio.”

Ms. Johnson is a graduate of Glasgow’s prestigious Musical Theatre Course at Knightswood Secondary School. An actress, singer and dancer, she came to the United States on a scholarship to The American Musical and Dramatic Academy. After graduating in 2006, she landed the role of Orange Girl, in the 2007 national tour of “Shout! The Mod Musical.” Following that, she was offered the role of Sharon in successful off Broadway show “Girls Night The Musical.”

Ms. Kelly has wowed audiences in her native Scotland and in the United States with her stirring powerhouse voice that has been described as “cathartic.” She received a scholarship to The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York and established herself immediately in performing the role of Grizabella in three productions of “Cats,” including the Broadway 25th Anniversary Tour.

Ms. Kavanaugh has captivated worldwide audiences with her angelic soprano. Originally from New Zealand, she is a critically acclaimed leading lady in opera and musical theatre. Kavanaugh sang in the Los Angeles Opera Gala welcoming Placido Domingo as artistic director. She starred in the post Broadway West Coast premiers of Terence MacNally’s “Masterclass” and Paul Gordon’s “Jane Eyre.”

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