First, the good news.

Almost 3,000 people are planning to attend the Savannah Philharmonic Orchestra's annual Holiday Pops evening and matinee concerts this year. That makes it far and away the most popular concert of the season in Savannah.

Now the bad news: If you don't already have tickets, don't bother, because all three concerts are sold out.

For the first time, the Philharmonic is offering a Family Holiday Pops concert with special guests, the Savannah Children's Choir. The orchestra will feature songs from the popular films "Frozen" and "The Polar Express," as well as traditional holiday classics.

The evening performances are Dec. 12 and 13 and the matinee is also Dec. 13. Tickets for the matinee were sold at the bargain price of $25 for two adults and two children.

"As a cultural arts organization, we feel it is important to give back to the community and generate interest in music and the arts," says David Pratt, the orchestra's executive director. "That is one reason we priced tickets for the Family Holiday Pops concert so reasonably, so everyone can enjoy the spectacular sensation of listening to beautiful music."

The orchestra has always done a popular Christmas concert, but this year added the matinee for families.

"It's kind of a reduced version of the evening concerts," says conductor and artistic director Peter Shannon.

"It's an hour's concert for families," he says. "It's stuff that kids can relate better to.

"It's also involves the Savannah Children's Choir so that children can hear other children making music together with the orchestra, so it's a great outreach for the Savannah Philharmonic to be able to put children on stage. It's just a lot of fun."

Although the matinee is geared toward families, it has the same high quality as the evening concerts.

"It's beautiful music," Shannon says. "This is a response to people who want to bring their children with them to a concert at Christmas."

Not only is the matinee more suitable for children with shorter attention spans, it's economically a good fit, as well.

"We are a professional city orchestra, so we need as many ticket sales as possible," Shannon says. "We need all the seats filled with paying adults at the evening concerts.

"At the matinee for $25, four people - two adults and two children - can get in. It's very, very affordable."

But still sadly out of reach for people without tickets.

"All three concerts are completely sold out," Shannon says. "No other concert in Savannah is going to draw those numbers on the weekend."

The Savannah Children's Choir has worked with the Philharmonic before.

"We did 'Carmina Burana' with the orchestra last year," SCC executive director Cuffy Sullivan says. "We got so much positive feedback after 'Carmina Burana.'

"It's a fantastic collaboration, so we tried to find another way to do it again," she says. "They have the regular Holiday Pops each year, and this one was created as a Family Holiday Pops."

There is something for everyone, Sullivan says.

"It's a really family-friendly program with traditional Christmas music and some recognizable music that everyone can enjoy," she says. "We started meeting with them earlier this summer.

"We were able to figure out what music was going to be in the program and get that going so that our children have been working on it all fall," Sullivan says. "We're also preparing for our holiday concert."

"I think what's so fun is that our kids really have no idea what an amazing opportunity this is," Sullivan says. "I've been a singer for years and I've never sung on stage with an orchestra. It's a fantastic opportunity to be up there, and to sing in the cathedral is such a treat."