Yuletide at the ISO

Experience the best holiday party in Indianapolis!

AES Indiana Yuletide Celebration Returns this December!

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra is thrilled for AES Indiana Yuletide Celebration to return to the stage this December! Your favorite holiday music will once again be brought to life with Broadway-style showstoppers, the famous tap-dancing Santas, and more.

AES Indiana Yuletide Celebration is more than an orchestra performance—it’s the best holiday party in Indianapolis!

Sandi Patty Returns

Grammy-award winner and beloved Indiana native Sandi Patty returns to the Yuletide stage with Jack Everly and the ISO. Known throughout the world as simply “The Voice,” this will be Sandi Patty’s 10th season as Yuletide host.

An Internet Sensation Joins the Celebration

The ISO is excited to be joined onstage by T.3! The incredible trio of tenors is currently wowing audiences on the TV show America’s Got Talent with their giant sound and pitch-perfect harmonies.

T.3 has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity on social media sites like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. You can listen to their music right now and then be blown away by what they bring to the stage with the ISO during AES Indiana Yuletide Celebration!

The real holiday magic of Yuletide is two, not very well-kept secrets: the musicians of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the community's love for this Holiday tradition. Neither could exist without the other. I am honored to be one of the representatives of something so special in the hearts, ears and traditions of Indiana."

Jack Everly

Music Director of AES Indiana Yuletide Celebration and ISO Principal Pops Conductor

History of Indiana's Favorite Tradition

A New Tradition

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra’s December calendar resembled many other orchestras in the nation, performing Handel’s Messiah, the Nutcracker, or even Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. From 1975 to 1985, the Orchestra accompanied the Butler Ballet holiday performances. However, in early fall of 1986 Butler engaged another group and left a large hole in the Symphony’s December performance calendar.

Fortunately, the ISO and Exxon Arts Endowment Conductor Steven Stein had already begun experimenting with new holiday performance with the help of the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir in 1984 and 1985, called “Yuletide Pops” and “Yuletide Joy!” respectively. When the gap in the 1986 calendar appeared, ISO management used these holiday experiments as a basis for a new community-driven event. The Orchestra continued its collaboration with the Indianapolis Symphonic Choir and invited the Indiana Repertory Theatre and Dance Kaleidoscope on the Hilbert Circle Theatre stage. Each organization co-produced a fourth of the show, with the grand finale performance of A Christmas Carol, featuring larger-than-life puppets.

A Yuletide Celebration ran for eight performances under the baton of guest conductor Joel Levine, and immediately became a new tradition for many.

A Change to the Celebration

Over the next four years, the number of performances rose from eight to a staggering twenty-one in December 1990. As the success for Yuletide grew and collaborating organizations started their own shows, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra shifted its vision for A Yuletide Celebration. Instead of four separate acts, the artistic team wanted a seamless production like a Broadway show. The new vision required a new view of casting to focus on a cast equally skilled at singinging, dancing, and acting.

After 1990, Joel Levine was unable to return because of his duties as the Oklahoma City Music Director. Levine was followed by James Caraher of the Indianapolis Opera in 1991 and Keith Lockhart, Music Director of the Utah Symphony in 1992 and 1993. Jack Everly conducted Yuletide in 1994 and conducted Yuletide each year since, becoming its official Music Director.

34 Years of Yuletide

The new format also required a central figure to act as host. A glittering array of stars have fulfilled that role since, including Frank Raiter, Judy Kaye, and Ted Keegan. Other recent hosts include Josh Kaufman, Angela Brown, Frankie Moreno, and Sandi Patty (who is set to return this season for her tenth year as Yuletide host). Yuletide Celebration continues to be an integral part of Hoosier holiday traditions. In a testament to the success of Yuletide Celebration, over 400 families have attended Yuletide at least 10 years in a row—and thousands more continue to make Yuletide an integral part of their holiday traditions. 

Single tickets are now on sale!

View the full calendar