Keith Lockhart, Pops conductor since 1995, will conduct the opening-night concert, which features "Joy to the World: Christmas Fanfare" (Randol Bass' arrangement of Handel's hymn from Messiah), Songs From the Hill Folk (an arrangement of Appalachian folk songs), among other works featured on the Pops' new recording, Sleigh Ride.
The Holiday Pops season runs through December 31, with at least one concert (and sometimes two or three) every day except Christmas. Lockhart will conduct 16 concerts (in addition to conducting the Pops Esplanade Orchestra on its New England tour); guest conductor Bruce Hangen conducts 13 (including New Year's Eve); James Orent leads two concerts on December 26.
Before Christmas, the ensemble is joined by the Tanglewood Festival Chorus. After Christmas, concerts feature the Boston Pops Holiday Chorus.
Teen vocalist Hayley Westenra and country music singer Collin Raye join Lockhart and the Pops on December 16. The concert will be taped, and broadcast locally in 2005.