Six-time Dove Award winner Phil Keaggy will be the special guest artist at the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Pops concert Saturday at Powers Auditorium.
Keaggy, a Youngstown native, is one of the most admired guitarists today with a career spanning 40-plus years.
He rose to fame in 1970, when his band Glass Harp recorded its self-titled debut album and went on to gain regional acclaim.
Keaggy released his first solo album in 1972. He was voted one of the top finger-style guitarists by Guitar Player Magazine readers for three consecutive years. Keaggy will perform holiday favorites and original compositions during Saturday’s concert program.
Natalie Sprouse, winner of the 2011 Youngstown Symphony Orchestra Vocal Competition, also will join in the concert by singing “I Dreamed a Dream” from “Les Miserables” and “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” a hit single by Mariah Carey.
The Youngstown Connection, the city schools’ 12-member show choir, will return to the annual holiday show. It will perform with the orchestra in “Winter Wonderland,” “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” and “Christmas on Broadway.”
Fourth-grade students from West Boulevard and Stadium Drive elementary schools, under the direction of Dean Wilson, will be featured in “Do You Hear What I Hear” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
String students from the Christina Gant Sterling Strings Studio in Canfield will present a medley of seasonal melodies titled “Stompin’ on the Housetop.”
Joining the orchestra as conductor for Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” will be local industrialist Greg Smith, who won the opportunity to conduct at the recent Symphony Ball.
Smith will be the second member of his family to have won the opportunity. His father, Clarence R. Smith Jr., conducted several seasons ago.