Poinsettia Pops – A Magical Holiday Musical Experience

For Immediate Release: November 20th, 2018

Nick Kenny, Executive Director
(970) 356-6406 | nick@greeleyphil.org

Greeley, CO – The Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra (GPO), under the direction of Glen Cortese, will present its annual Poinsettia Pops concert on Saturday, December 1st, at the Union Colony Civic Center (UCCC), 701 10th Ave. The popular holiday program showcases local soloist Katherine Runkel, The Greeley Children’s Chorale, and the Greeley Chorale in the poinsettia-adorned Monfort Concert Hall. The concert begins at 7:30 pm. Poinsettia Pops is proudly presented by The Tointon Family Foundation with additional support by Ehrlich Toyota. 

The GPO’s 108th concert season, sponsored by UCHealth, has kicked off in grand fashion, earning praise for its collaboration with deaf singer/songwriter Mandy Harvey and a unique adaptation of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which included audience participation on kazoos. Poinsettia Pops wraps up the highly-anticipated Festival of Trees, presented by the Greeley Philharmonic Guild and the City of Greeley. The holiday spirit is contagious after this week-long event, culminating in the sounds of the season sung and performed from the stage.

Two post-concert celebrations will take place after Poinsettia Pops. The first, hosted by the Greeley Philharmonic Guild, will take place on the second floor of the UCCC, toasting the conclusion of the Festival of Trees. The second reception is hosted at Tower 56 Distilling and includes live music and entertainment, with a portion of the day’s sales donated back to the GPO.

About Katherine Runkel

Starting young with her success, Katherine made her Los Angeles debut at the age of 17 while performing in the Los Angeles Spotlight Awards at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. She was a Grand Prize Finalist earning 2nd place and full tuition to the Aspen Music Festival. The performance was broadcast on national television and hosted by celebrity, John Lithgow.

Katherine is a Masters of Music Graduate from The Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University (2013). While at Peabody, Katherine had the privilege of studying with internationally known Baritone, William Sharp. She is a Magna Cum Laude Graduate of Chapman University’s Conservatory of Music (2011) with a degree in Vocal Performance and a minor in Italian. While completing her undergraduate degree, she studied with soprano and Chair of the Vocal Department, Margaret Dehning. Katherine has had the privilege and pleasure of attending such prestigious summer programs as Aspen Music Festival, OperaWorks Emerging Artists Summer Program, The University of Miami Music Program in Salzburg, Austria, and Teaching Sopranos to Sing at Indiana University.

Katherine began her musical training studying under her own mother, soprano Lori Ascani. Katie holds a private vocal studio in Thornton, Co since 2013. She works as the Director of Music at Summit of Peace Lutheran Church, and the Music Retention Coordinator at University of Northern Colorado School of Music, advising and implementing curriculum for nearly 700 music students. Katherine, alongside her husband David, and their two puppies reside in Thornton, Co.

About the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra

Founded in 1911, the GPO is the oldest continually operated professional orchestra west of the Mississippi River. The organization is dedicated to providing the highest degree of music and cultural enrichment in Northern Colorado. Education initiatives continue to engage and inspire youth, promoting an interest in classical music. All musicians have auditioned and been contracted by the GPO. Over 70% of the GPO’s orchestra members hold a Master’s Degree or higher, and many have made successful careers performing for the GPO and other professional orchestras throughout the Front Range and beyond.

Concerts feature repertoire spanning hundreds of years, showcasing composers from across the globe. The GPO is invested in the future of classical music and its relevance in its community, presenting annual Fifth Grade concerts, outreach to schools, side-by-side coaching sessions, and a Junior Ambassador program.

About the Music Director

Glen Cortese begins his twelfth season as music director of the Greeley Philharmonic. His recent guest engagements have included the Eugene Opera, Madison Lyric Stage, The Three Tenors Concert in Tirana Albania to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the independence of Kososvo, RTSH Radio Orchestra (Albania) Emerald City Opera, Opera Fort Collins, Wolftrap Opera, The Charleston Symphony, the Sapporo Festival Orchestra, the Slovak Radio Orchestra the Sofia Philharmonic, the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, the Mexico City Philharmonic, Colorado Springs Philharmonic, the Paducah Symphony Orchestra, the Lafayette Symphony, the Billings Symphony, the Lyric Opera of Cleveland, and the Annapolis Symphony. He was resident con­ductor of the Florida Philharmonic for the 2001–2002 season and completed twelve seasons at the Manhattan School of Music where he was principal conductor from 1988 to 2000. He has appeared as guest conductor both in the United States and abroad with the Symphonies of New Jersey, Florida Philhar­monic, Austin, Mexico City Philharmonic, North Carolina, Colorado Springs, Bangor, Meridian, Queens, New Amster­dam, The New Orleans Philharmonic, the International Chamber Orchestra, the Belarus Sate Philharmonic, Sofia Phil­harmonic National Romanian Radio Orchestra, Noorhollands Philharmonisch, Orquesta Sinfonica Carlos Chavez, San Francisco Conservatory, Cleveland Institute, and the Altenburg Landeskappele Orchestra. Mr. Cortese covered as assis­tant conductor to the New York Philharmonic in 1990–92 for Zubin Mehta, Leonard Slatkin, Charles Dutoit, Yuri Temiri­kanov, Erich Leinsdorf, Zdenek Macal and Cristof Perick. In July of 1993, he was invited by Kurt Masur to guest conduct a reading with the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall.


Single tickets to the 2018-19 concert season are on sale now at the UCCC Box Office, 970.356.5000. More information may be found at www.greeleyphil.org.

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