Deck the halls with drag and holly!
The Actors Fund, a national human services organization for everyone in performing arts and entertainment, announced today the premiere of The American Pops Orchestra’s (APO) Drag Out the Holly: A Holiday Drag Extravaganza on Saturday, December 19, 2020 from 9:00PM – 10:00PM ET via a free private broadcast. The star-studded performance brings together celebrated LGBTQ+ performers and The American Pops Orchestra to spread holiday cheer through their renditions of classic holiday songs from “Santa Baby” to “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Filmed at Meridian International Center in front of a small, socially-distanced live audience and under strict COVID-19 mitigation procedures, Drag Out the Holly features performances by: RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants Alexis Michelle, Jujubee, and Peppermint, as well as NYC queen Lagoona Bloo. The four queens are joined by singer-songwriter Bright Light Bright Light and Pennsylvania Representative Brian Sims to perform their own spin on holiday classics with The American Pops Orchestra.
Included within the broadcast are various interviews with the featured artists highlighting their coming-out process and what support systems assisted them throughout their journeys. This broadcast can be viewed free of charge and donations are encouraged to support APO and The Actors Fund.
Use the donation code “ACTORSFUND” to allocate 50% of your donation to help those in need in performing arts and entertainment. To register for a private link, please visit: eventbrite.com/e/drag-out-the-holly-a-holiday-drag-extravaganza-tickets-129780433771.
THE ACTORS FUND
The Actors Fund is a national human services organization that fosters stability and resiliency and provides a safety net for performing arts and entertainment professionals over their lifespan. Through offices in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, The Fund serves everyone in film, theater, television, music, opera, radio and dance with programs including social services and emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, housing, and secondary employment and training services.
AMERICAN POPS ORCHESTRA (APO)
APO was founded in 2015 with a mission to build community through the preservation, promotion and reimagination of American popular music. Through live and virtual performances, educational initiatives and collaborations, APO makes the highest quality art accessible to the broadest audiences. Seeing an opportunity to challenge the status-quo of the repertoire an orchestra performs; Founder and Music Director Luke Frazier created The American Pops with the intent of breaking the mold of the traditional pops orchestra.
This new, distinctly “American” orchestra brings together versatile musicians and reimagined programming focused around the Great American Songbook, and presents it with an approachable, fresh spin in order to engage diverse audiences and make attending a live orchestral show fun again. Through non-traditional orchestral settings, APO aims to deliver popular American classics to those who already know and love them, while also introducing these timeless pieces to younger generations in approachable settings. To learn more, visit www.TheAmericanPops.org.
Luke Frazier (Conductor). Growing up in West Virginia and spending most of his career in New York City and Washington DC, Luke knows the breadth of audiences that can have their lives changed by music of all kinds. Luke, a classically trained pianist and conductor, spends every day focusing not only on musical excellence but also about using music as a tool to connect people from all walks of life. Gone are the days of programming and conducting in a vacuum – The arts today are about the communities we serve and the patrons both existing ones and those yet to be reached.
This philosophy has led Luke to be a pioneer in how, where and what orchestras perform. This commitment to innovation led Luke to start The American Pops Orchestra in 2015 to serve as an artistic model of this thinking. In Luke’s shows, it’s not uncommon to hear pop singers, classical musicians and television stars all in the same program. Each concert, whether it be with his own APO or another orchestra around the country, is a curated opportunity to highlight music, particularly American Popular Music. This music that we’ve created together can be used as a rallying point in our collective lives. Luke crafts each concert with a dramatic arc featuring both innovative and classic arrangements to keep both audiences and artists engaged at every measure.
Luke is lucky to call many of the world’s most acclaimed artists, friends and collaborators. These friendships include Renée Fleming, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Patti Labelle, Kelli O’Hara, Juanes, Wynton Marsalis, Rita Moreno, Morgan James, Joshua Bell and so many more have led to concerts all over the country both in iconic venues and to millions of viewers on television. Passionately committed to the next generation of musicians, Luke spends a significant amount of time and resources with all levels of aspiring musicians.
Each year APO hosts a free national collegiate vocal competition, hosts instrumental and vocal masterclasses for collegiate musicians, creates original children’s programming of the highest caliber and spends two weeks visiting schools free of charge in some of the poorest regions of our country. Luke believes in the power of music to open new doors for children. In fact, it was an elementary school gymnasium performance which included live musicians that inspired his own career.