Pittsburgh International Airport’s holiday concert series is older than the airport itself.
Local school choirs and bands have been performing holiday concerts since the days of the Greater Pittsburgh International Airport terminal, which opened in 1952 and closed in 1992.
Students once performed on the mezzanine level, above the large open rotunda area in the old airport. They now play and sing on the ticketing level of PIT’s Landside Terminal. The airport series has run concurrent with Allegheny County’s Holiday Music Program on the Grand Staircase of the County Courthouse, which began in 1967.
And while the airport has changed quite a bit since the start of the program, the concerts continue to brighten the spirits of travelers and employees alike.
“There’s something comforting about tradition and continuity,” said Richard Belotti, PIT’s Vice President of Planning. “The concert series has been going on for such a long time, and employees really look forward to it each year.”
Belotti, who began his airport career at Greater PIT, recalls locals visiting the airport to attend the holiday concerts, among other events and entertainment that included a movie theater, observation deck and a restaurant called the “Horizon Room.”
“The airport was the place to go,” Belotti said.
Along with launching the tradition of the concert series, Greater Pittsburgh International Airport featured a large Christmas tree in its rotunda area and other holiday decorations on display during the holiday season. Similarly, PIT places a 60-foot tree in its Airside Terminal Center Core, and decks the terminal halls with festive trees, wreaths and garlands throughout.
“Decorating the terminal and hosting the holiday concert series is a great way to engage the community during the holiday season,” said Elise Farris, manager of customer relations. “Passengers can enjoy the music while checking in for their flights and going through the security checkpoint.”
And for the students, singing and performing at the airport is a fun and memorable experience.
“I like that there’s a lot of people at the airport, and I get to sing with my friends,” said Zoey A., age 11, a local student who performed on Thursday morning at PIT.
This year’s holiday concert series began this week with performances by David E. Williams Middle School’s (5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade) choirs on Wednesday and Thursday morning. An additional 15 concerts will take place between now and Dec. 20. Other performances include Fort Couch Orchestra, Freeport Area High School Band, Obama Academy Steel Band and the Northgate Middle/Senior High School Choir.
The airport welcomes the public to attend the performances, offering free parking for one hour in its extended lot. Click here for the full schedule.