Peter Nero: Peter Nero (piano).
Additional personnel: Claire Martin , Philip A. Kates, Tony Posky, Elizabeth Kaderabek, Liliana Atanasiu, Martha Gale, Emma Kummrow, Olga Konopelsky (violin); Renard Edwards, Ellen Trainer, Davis A. Barnett (viola); Brooke Beazley-Cyzewski, George Atanasiu, Ulrich Boeckheler (cello); Joseph Rotella (flute, alto flute, piccolo, oboe, English horn, saxophone); Kaj Hansen, Ron Kerber (flute, alto flute, piccolo, saxophone); Edward Schultz (flute, alto flute, piccolo); Joseph A. Smith (clarinet, saxophone); Allison Herz (clarinet); Ed Golaszewski (bass clarinet, saxophone); David Schneider (oboe, English horn); Norma Spielberg (bassoon); Robert Gravener, John Thyhsen, Ken Brader (trumpet); Doug Lundeen, Michael Johns, Jane Richter, Adam Lesnick (French horn); Mike Purdy, Brian Pastor, Dave Cianci (trombone); Owen Metcalf, Sophie Bruno (tuba); Rebecca Edie (celesta, keyboards); Anne Peterson, Michael Barnett, Miles Davis (bass guitar); George Mazzeo (drums); Bill Kerrigan, Greg Giannascoli, Ken Miller (timpani, percussion); Ann Hampton Callaway.
After 25 years at the helm, conductor/pianist Peter Nero has finally found the time to make a record with the Philly Pops, his 67th album overall. It is not unlike a holiday concert by the Pops in Philadelphia, offering light orchestral arrangements of seasonal favorites such as "Jingle Bells" and "We Three Kings," piano solos by Nero on "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" and "White Christmas," and a guest star, singer Ann Hampton Callaway, who joins the Pops for five of the 11 selections, among them her own "Christmas Lullaby," previously recorded by Barbra Streisand. Callaway's voice recalls Streisand's here and there. She is at her best on the somewhat melancholy "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." The orchestra manages a good combination of orchestral and big-band styles, making this a varied and enjoyable Christmas album in an easy listening mode. ~ William Ruhlmann