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Vocal Ensemble

Boston Pops Holiday Singers


The Boston Pops Holiday Singers, which made its debut in the 2021 Holiday Pops season, is made up of accomplished vocalists with Boston connections. They perform in all seven of the 2023 Kids’ Matinees as well as the Sensory-Friendly Concert. The singers were prepared by Lisa Graham, music director of the Metropolitan Chorale.

Mason Bynes is a New York-based composer, vocalist, and multimedia artist who strives to bridge the gap between genre and sound to bring listeners together. Her musical curiosity has sparked a variety of commissions, including from Boston Lyric Opera, Emmanuel Music, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, The Westerlies, National Association of Teachers of Singing, Ex-Aequo, and the chamber orchestra Parlando. The Washington Master Chorale recently awarded Bynes’s choral work Dust Bowl the inaugural Florence Price Prize and premiered the piece. In fall 2023, she enjoyed the San Diego premiere of her music with Art of Elan for a new film directed by British-American visual artist Danielle Dean (full-length feature to come in 2025). Earlier in 2023, her brass quartet piece For Rosa was released on The Westerlies’ new album, Move. Her writing for voice won positive notice in the Boston Globe after the 2023 premiere of her operetta, The Wanderer’s Tethering. Bynes serves as a career coach at New York University after years of coaching emerging artists at Berklee College of Music in Boston. She loves returning to Boston during the holidays to sing with the Boston Pops Holiday Singers.

Jennifer Caraluzzi is a versatile vocalist and educator who serves on the voice faculty of the NEC Preparatory School and School of Continuing Education. She has performed with the Boston Pops, Opera Theatre Saint Louis, White Snake Projects, Boston Opera Collaborative, and many others. Known for her versatility across musical genres, Caraluzzi has sung the roles of Laurie in Oklahoma, Marty in Grease, Toffee in Zombie Prom, and Polly in The Boyfriend, as well as standard operatic favorites like Cunegonde in Candide, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. Jennifer also worked with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Michael Cristopher, and Terence Blanchard on the world premiere of Blanchard’s first opera, Champion. She has appeared locally with Boston Opera Collaborative as Stephanie in Jake Heggie’s To Hell and Back and Lisette in La Rondine. Caraluzzi is featured in the title role on the critically acclaimed recording of Seymor Barab’s children’s opera Little Red Riding Hood on Centaur Records. She holds a master’s in music degree from the New England Conservatory and an MBA in music business from Berklee College of Music and Southern New Hampshire University.

Latine-American tenor Josaphat Contreras is excited to be performing with the Boston Pops for the first time. He earned his M.M. in voice pedagogy from the New England Conservatory, where he was chosen as the commencement speaker for the class of 2022. Contreras’s recent awards and artistic feats include his National Opera Association first prize win for his Mariachi research, international debut as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni at the historic Teatro Ángela Peralta in Mazatlán, Mexico, a piano, voice, and guitar concert as part of the Concerts in the Courtyard series at the Boston Public Library, and his soloist debut with the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra. Recent and upcoming season highlights include his Mariachi research presentation at the Pan-American Vocology Association held in Miami, a solo recital for the St. Mary’s Concert Series in the Upper East Side entitled “El amor es todo: The diversity of Mexican song,” and recently finishing both fall productions of Madame Butterfly and La Cenerentola with Boston Lyric Opera. Following the Boston Pops, Josaphat will begin rehearsals as the tenor/narrator in Bach’s BWV 211 Coffee Cantata with On-Site Opera in New York City while continuing to serve as an associate voice instructor at the Eleonor England NYC Voice studio in midtown Manhattan. When Contreras is not performing, he enjoys spending time with his partner Amanda Contreras, his daughter Ava Michelle, and their two dogs Rufus and Delilah.

American soprano Caroline Corrales is an operatic star on the rise. She is thrilled to make her third appearances in Holiday Pops concerts in 2023. In January, Corrales will join San Francisco Opera as a resident artist of the esteemed Adler Fellowship. She looks forward to making her mainstage SFO debut in 2024. As a 2023 participant in the Merola Opera Program, her performances included works by Britten and Verdi. Corrales is a former apprentice singer of Santa Fe Opera, where she was featured in scenes as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, and on the mainstage as an ensemble member in Carmen, Falstaff, and the world premiere of Huang Ruo’s M. Butterfly. She has also been a young artist of the Boston University Opera Institute. Corrales is a three-time district winner and two-time region encouragement award winner of the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition and winner of numerous other awards. She holds a master of music degree from Boston University and a bachelor of music degree from Webster University.

James Dargan is a musician and writer from North Carolina. He is based in New York City, where he performs both as soloist and in ensembles, plays the violin, composes, writes, teaches, and translates poetry and prose from several languages. Dargan, a singer since he was a child, has shared his voice and carefully curated programs all over the US and Europe. He also teaches on spirituals and other Black music and is honored to walk in his family tradition of telling truthful stories. Dargan relishes writing for Black singers, and he is currently writing two operas. He is a founding member of the consortium Ring Shout.

Boston native Brandon Grimes sang the roles of Henry Ford, Lawrence Train Conductor, and New Rochelle Ensemble in Ragtime: The Symphonic Concert with the Boston Pops and Keith Lockhart in spring 2023 at Symphony Hall and again that summer at Tanglewood. He recently created the role of the Messerschmidt triplets in the world premiere of MacGyver: The Musical and can be heard on the album released in early 2023 on Spotify and Apple Music. National tours: Jekyll and Hyde, All is Calm. Off-Broadway: Calamity Jane (Musicals Tonight!). Regional: Cabaret (Cliff, Peterborough Players), Julius Caesar (Brutus, Hanover Theatre), The Greenbrier Ghost (Greenbrier Valley Theatre), Man of La Mancha (New Repertory Theatre), Hamlet (Laertes, Colonial Theatre), The Producers (Barnstormers Theatre), Sweeney Todd (Anthony, NextDoor Theatre), Company (Bobby, Texas Repertory Theatre), Pirates of Penzance (Ordway Center), 1776 (Cape Playhouse). TV: Titans of Hollywood (Curiosity Stream). Film: Abominable, A Voice, Strapped for Danger. Grimes is a proud teacher of singing and a composer/lyricist. He earned his master of music degree from University of Houston and a bachelor of music from University of Michigan.

Bass-baritone Nathan Halbur (December 9, 16, 17, 23, & 24) is a singer and composer based in Boston. His eclectic career has led him to perform semi-improvised opera with Grammy winner esperanza spalding in the world premiere of Wayne Shorter’s …(Iphigenia); to provide the speaking voice of Dr. Seuss’s Grinch for the Boston Pops; to be a soloist in the Carnegie Hall world premiere of Heidi Breyer’s Amor Aeternus: A Requiem for the Common Man; to embody an Infernal Spirit as a Pegasus Rising Young Artist in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo; to tour and record with ensembles including Skylark, Ensemble Altera, and Boston Baroque; and to give numerous solo performances with Emmanuel Music and Cantata Singers, especially in the music of J.S. Bach. He has led pioneering work with Nightingale Vocal Ensemble in the realm of choral free improvisation, producing the album Composition Sped Up. His band DREAMGLOW reimagines music from the classical canon with pop production, in a lo-fi aesthetic. He also enjoys playing percussion instruments, engraving musical notation, graphic design, and roller skating. Upcoming projects include the choral program “’Twas the Nightingale Before Christmas” with Nightingale Vocal Ensemble; the choral program “On Christmas Night” with Skylark; and improvisation-based multimedia program “Photoplay” with Nightingale Vocal Ensemble at the Brattle Theatre.

Renese King’s array of musical talents has taken her from spiritual and gospel singing at the church podium to timpani playing on the Carnegie Hall stage. Her soulful, moving voice garnered her a Boston Music Award as Gospel/Inspirational Artist of the Year. Often singing her own arrangements, King has performed with many ensembles in the New England area and across the nation. Her voice is featured on the soundtracks of three award-winning PBS documentary films (Emmy, Peabody, and Sundance awards): Freedom Riders (2011), Freedom Summer (2014), and Tell Them We Are Rising (2018). Making her seventh Holiday Pops appearance with this season’s concerts, King appears regularly with the Boston Pops, having been a featured and guest soloist in concerts at Symphony Hall and on the Esplanade, in television broadcasts, and on the 2004 CD Sleigh Ride, alongside the Boston Pops Orchestra, Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and Boston Pops Gospel Choir. Renese King holds a position in Student Affairs, Diversity and Inclusion at Berklee College of Music and serves as music director at the Waymark Seventh Day Adventist Church in Dorchester and also of the New England Gospel Ensemble in Boston. She remains committed to the unifying and uplifting message at the heart of gospel music.

Baritone Christopher Weigel (December 2 & 10) is a classical singer, teacher, composer, actor, and contemporary recording artist. Graduating with an M.M. from New England Conservatory in 2013, after earning a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance and music education from Ithaca College, Weigel has crafted a dynamic career in music. He currently serves as a choir director at Stoughton High School and a cantor at St. Brigid and Gate of Heaven Churches in South Boston. His time at NEC saw him starring in a traveling outreach opera for children in Greater Boston, taking a lead role in the U.S. premiere of Rossini’s La Gazzetta, and performing as a dueling pianist at the renowned Lansdowne Pub. He opened for Pentatonix in 2019 in a vocal quartet. For the past decade, Weigel has been an integral part of the Metropolitan Chorale and Boston Pops annual Holiday Tour, showcasing his vocal percussion skills and assuming understudy and cover roles for prominent solo performances. 2023 is his second year appearing with the Holiday Singers octet. Weigel also served as the baritone artist in residence for the Metropolitan Chorale from 2014 to 2019.

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