PCM + Pasadena Playhouse | Holiday Spectacular

A photo collage of young musicians at Pasadena Playhouse performing or posing.

PCM was excited and honored for students to participate in the Pasadena Playhouse’s Holiday Spectacular this holiday season. This brand-new variety show was developed from the minds of Tony nominee Sam Pinkleton and Randy Blair and included holiday classics with hilariously hummable harmonies, topsy-turvy choreo, a light dusting of improv, and more.

The Playhouse presented 14 shows, with PCM students performing at 7. We hope you enjoy some of the performance highlights below.

The JOE Trio kicked things off with a performance of Silent Night on December 16. Members include Josee Xiao (8), Olivia Hsu (7), and Ellen Bae (9); they were accompanied on the piano by Theresia Choi-Bae.

Josee studies violin with Megan Shung, piano and theory with Renee Gilormini, voice with Jennifer Weiss, and Suzuki with Brandon Encinas. Olivia studies violin with Aimée Kreston, theory and piano with Renee Gilormini, and String Ensemble with Brandon Encinas. Ellen studies violin with Megan Shung, piano and theory with Renee Gilormini, and Suzuki with Brandon Encinas.

Fourteen-year-old twins Mani and Mozhan Afagh performed Last Christmas by Wham for Holiday Spectacular audiences. Mani studies guitar with Dr. Brian Barany and Mozhan studies piano with Dr. Ruby Wang.

To young adults pose in front of a christmas tree

Nine-year-old Terence Lee first began at PCM in the Young Musicians 2 and, since 2018, has studied piano with Dr. Stephen Cook. In his performance, Terence entranced the audience with a dizzying performance of “Trepak” from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker.

Terence’s mom, Suzie, shared that “this was his first ‘paid’ gig (compensation: pringles, gummy bears and hot chocolate) and that he had the time of his life greeting over 500 audience members, taking pictures with different families, and even autographing playbills.”

Rio Navarro, age 14, studies cello with Niklas Bertani and is also an extremely accomplished accordion player. For his performance at the Playhouse, Rio brought down the house with Skater’s Waltz with a Twist.

Playhouse audiences enjoyed thirteen-year-old Haydn Schlinger’s performance of “Winter Nocturne” by Robert Vandall. A PCM student since 2021, Haydn currently studies piano with Dr. Kathryn Eames and violin with Natalie Brejcha.

Violinist Ashlee Sung, PCM’s 2022-2023 Roman Andrew Borek Scholar, performed Mother and Child by William Grant Still. Ashlee studies with Sharon Harman. Learn more about Ashlee and her website on music and mental health on the PCM blog.

a young woman with a violin poses in front of a christmas tree.

The GOAT Kids selected their name after they originally came together as post-show entertainment for PCM’s Wicked GOAT concerts. At the Holiday Spectacular, members Keilani Bolhuis (piano), Stella Bullock (vocals), and Ruby Bullock (electric bass) performed Marshmallow World. Enjoy The GOAT Kids’ pre-concert rehearsal for the Holiday Spectacular.