By Pat Ciarrocchi

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s the most wonderful time of the year…on stage at the Philly POPS.

Backstage, there’s a show to watch, too.

“You really have to know your part. We rehearse, rehearse, rehearse,” says Sidhant Nair, a member of the Boys Choir.

The sweatshirts and sneakers don’t diminish the sound that’s the signature of the Philadelphia Boys Choir.

This season, the Boys Choir joins 300 performers on stage, led by conductor David Charles Abell.

“The orchestra is about 70 or 80, with about a 12 voice Festival Chorus. We have a 45 voice Philly Boys Choir and a 70 voice Gospel choir,” Abell says. “I can promise you: It is spectacular.”

The Philadelphia Boys Choir and the Philly POPS gave us rare access to learn how great performances are built.

Yes, it takes rehearsing, and when you’re 13, a bit of seasonal sacrifice to be great.

“It’s hard to do homework after awhile. We have at least one concert a day,” says Christopher Houdeshel.

“My first performance was nerve-wracking, but then I decided I’m going to do this a lot, so I better buck up,” adds Nair.

For Maestro Abell, the Holiday POPS is a welcome home. He lived in Mount Airy between ages 5 and 12, singing in a boys choir, too.

“There is something very special about boys’ voices. There’s a purity to it, [they] can sing very high,” he says.

It’s sacred, Christmas, and with that POPS feeling, pure Philly.

The Holiday POPS Spectacular is on stage through Dec. 21st. For more information, visit:

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