Kick up your heels 'Big Easy' style at the Cincinnati Pops New Year's Eve concert and gala

CINCINNATI - What are you doing for New Year's Eve? WCPO contributor Laura Hobson suggests you dust off your dancing shoes and head to Music Hall.

Ring in the New Year with a favorite musical Cincinnati tradition: the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra’s concert, followed by a gala.

Every year, I attend the concert with friends and enjoy its light-hearted music and panapoly of sound. Held at 7:30 p.m., a great time for festive party-goers, the music always lifts me and spreads good cheer for the remainder of the evening and a fresh start for the next year.

Now, with the remodeling of Washington Park, I can walk by fully lit trees, enter the magic of historical 19th Century Music Hall and enjoy music programmed for a delightful night. (The streetcar project on Elm Street has been tidied up, so getting in and out will not require much fancy footwork).

As conductor of the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, John Morris Russell  (known as JMR among fans) regularly leads the New Year’s Eve concert to a full house.

“The Big Easy,” featuring the sounds of New Orleans, is this year’s concert theme. Highlighting the show is guest trumpeter Bryon Stripling backed by the big band and jazz program led by Cincinnati Pops conductor John Morris Russell. 

Stripling serves as artistic director of the Columbus Jazz Orchestra and is leader of his own quartet. He's known for developing programs featuring his musicianship, wit, showmanship and joyous spirit.

This New Year's Eve you can hear such familiar tunes as Bourbon Street Parade, Jambalya, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and When the Saints Go Marching In. Stripling will add his talents with a Louis Armstrong tribute medley, rounding out the lively and upbeat program setting the mood to ring in 2014 in "carnival style," according to Meghan Berneking, CSO communications manager.

The carnival spirit will continue at the gala after the concert in Music Hall Ballroom. Hosted by the Cincinnati Symphony Volunteer Association, the meal is an elegant seated affair. Then, kick up your heels to the music of Leroy Ellington and the E-Funk Band until midnight, when a champagne toast takes place.

WATCH: Leroy Ellington and the E-Funk Band video

In addition, you can participate in the silent auction including a Mercedes Benz sport sedan, designer handbags and a helicopter ride. Attendees often dress to the nines for this performance. I always choose a holiday and dressy outfit to wear; dressing to impress goes with the theme and spirit of the evening

If you go:

  • Music Hall, Cincinnati
  • Concert begins at 7:30 p.m.
  • Concert tickets start at $12.00
  • Gala tickets begin at $185 (which includes the concert ticket).
  • For more information: Calling (513) 381-3300 or to to
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