Adventure Awaits with your Illinois Symphony Orchestra at Holiday Pops in the Heartland

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Contact Beth Wakefield
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Celebrate the holidays with festive music! Holiday Pops in the Heartland is truly a community affair as the ISO is joined by the Bloomington-Normal Youth Symphony, Illinois Symphony Youth Orchestras, Springfield Choral Society, and the Springfield Youth Performance Group. But that's not all! Soprano Megan Koch, IWU alumni, will dazzle us singing holiday favorites and more. It's fun for the entire family, young & old!

Megan Koch is an emerging artist praised by Theater Jones for her versatility and flexible technique. Megan, alumna of Illinois Wesleyan University, is an avid performer and teacher, currently based in Dallas Fort Worth (DFW). She is a founding member of Opera Arlington's Executive Board and has performed with organizations including Opera Arlington, Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Shreveport Opera, Lewisville Lake Symphony Chamber Recital Series, and Opera in Concert. A student of internationally renowned soprano Jennifer Rowley, Megan won 1st place in the Young Artist/Emerging Professional Division of the Classical Singer Voice Competition in 2022 and was a finalist in the Lewisville Lake Symphony International Voice Competition.

Taichi Fukumura is a rising Japanese-American conductor acclaimed for his dynamic stage presence and musical finesse. Currently serving as the Assistant Conductor of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra appointed by Music Director Robert Spano, Fukumura is the Second Prize Winner of The Mahler Competition 2023 with the Bamberg Symphony and a three-time recipient of the Solti Foundation U.S. Career Assistance Award in 2021, 2022, and 2023.

Fukumura is a Music Director Finalist of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and is engaged to guest conduct the ISO on two programs in the upcoming 2023-2024 season. Other recent highlights include guest conducting the Orquesta de Cámara de Bellas Artes in Mexico City and guest assisting the Houston Symphony and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He was also invited by the Berlin Philharmonic as one of 10 assistant conductor candidates for Kirill Petrenko.

Adventure Awaits at Holiday Pops in the Heartland on Friday, December 15, 2023 at 7:30 PM at the UIS Performing Arts Center in Springfield, Illinois and Saturday, December 16, 2023 at 7:30 PM at the ISU Center for the Performing Arts in Normal, Illinois. Family friendly activities will start at 6:30 PM in Springfield and an instrument playground for kids will start at 6:30 PM in Normal.

Are you ready to symphony? Get your tickets today! Tickets may be purchased in Springfield through the UIS Ticket Office at (217) 206-6160 or in Bloomington-Normal through the ISU Center for the Performing Arts Ticket Office at (309) 438-2535 and or online at Single tickets range from $10 for students (24 & Under) to $66 for premium seating. Senior and group discounts are also available.  

Holiday Pops in the Heartland is sponsored by season sponsors The Landmark Automotive Group and Debra & Daniel Brownstone, M.D., concert sponsors US Bank, HSHS St. John’s Children’s Hospital, and Roger Hunt.

The Illinois Symphony Orchestra is central Illinois’ largest professional orchestra serving over 35,000 patrons in the communities of Bloomington-Normal, Springfield and the surrounding region with symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra, and Concerts for Kids series in each community. In addition to concert performances, the Orchestra's music education and outreach programs serve pre-K and elementary schools through the Itsy Arts and Music Matters education programs and reach middle schools, high schools, universities, community organizations and senior centers through guest artist residencies and musician and ensemble performances. The ISO also has an active Around the Town Chamber Music Series and virtual Sunday at Six Recital Series. The Illinois Symphony Orchestra has a budget of approximately $1.4 million.

In July 2020, the ISO acquired the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony (SVYS) organization that was started in the early 1970s by parents, music teachers and musicians to keep string programs and youth orchestra in Springfield and surrounding communities following the elimination of all school orchestra programs. Now, the Illinois Symphony Youth Orchestras (ISYO) programs consist of Starter and Junior Strings, Preparatory Orchestra, Concert Orchestra and Symphony Orchestra serving over 150 students. The ISO also has a partnership in education and community engagement (PEACE) with the UIS-School of Music and Illinois State University’s Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts and School of Music.

Additional information about the Illinois Symphony Orchestra is available at

The ISO is partially funded by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.


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