By Henry Adams

During December, The Florida Orchestra (TFO) has a wonderful mix of classical favorites at both the Masterworks and the morning Coffee Concerts, along with its annual Christmas pops, Home for the Holidays, with everyone’s favorite carols and Yuletide tunes. The orchestra also offers some great stocking stuffers, which include tickets to specific concerts, gift certificates to redeem for the concerts of one’s choice and the orchestra’s new CD “Holiday Pops Live!” with The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, the last of which is only $10.

At the next Tampa Bay Times Masterworks concert, TFO Principal Horn Robert Rearden is the soloist in Strauss’ Horn Concerto No. 2, a stellar showcase of the noble sound of the horn with flourishes, fanfares and gorgeous melodies. TFO Principal Guest Conductor Stuart Malina leads the orchestra in this program that also includes Ravel’s Le Tombeau de Couperin with its rich orchestral colors and Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, “From the New World,” interweaving a wealth of melodies saluting the New World while expressing longing for his Czech homeland. Concerts are Friday-Sunday, December 5, 6 and 7 in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater.

Enjoy complimentary coffee and doughnuts at the next morning Coffee Concert of the season with Stuart Malina leading The Florida Orchestra in a program called Symphony a la Carte. It’s a unique concert that will invite attendees to vote for works they wish to hear from a selection of pieces by Brahms, Dvorak, Pachelbel, Mozart, Grieg and Bizet, among others. In this relaxed concert setting, the conductor talks to the audience about the music and the composers during the performance on Thursday, December 11 at 11 a.m. at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg.

At the Raymond James Pops annual holiday pops concert, The Florida Orchestra teams up with the 150 voices of The Master Chorale for such festive seasonal musical chestnuts and carols.  Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik leads three evening concerts on Friday-Sunday, December 12, 13 and 14 in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday in St. Petersburg.

Concert tickets, holiday gift certificates and the new Holiday Pops Live! CD are all available at www.floridaorchestra.org  or by calling 727-892-3337 or 800-662-7286, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Most concerts offer affordable single-ticket prices of $15, $30 and $45.