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Kristen Hertzenberg returns for a holiday performance at the Smith Center

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Kristen Hertzenberg returns to Las Vegas to perform with pianist Philip Fortenberry at the Smith Center.

When Kristen Hertzenberg, known for her powerful soprano vocals on the Strip and off, moved away last summer, she promised she’d return—and this weekend she’s back, performing at the Smith Center with pianist Philip Fortenberry.

What have you been working on in Houston? For the first month I pretty much spent my time getting us settled, getting my little one acclimated to a new state and reconnecting with family. This will be my third trip back to Vegas to perform, so I’ve been preparing for these shows and planning future engagements.

Tell us a bit about this weekend’s Holidays From the Heart show. It will be a little classical, a little country, a little theater and a whole lot of beautiful playing by my brother-from-another-mother/pianist extraordinaire Philip Fortenberry. And several original songs by my dear friend Keith Thompson!

How does it feel to be away, and how would you sum up your cultural experience here? I miss my Vegas friends dearly. I’ve never been surrounded by so many artists in my life. I grew so much, not only because of the opportunities I had but because of the abundance of theater, dance, music, visual art and performance art I was able to take in. It was truly a gift.

Holidays from the Heart December 19, 2:30 & 7 p.m., $26-$36. Smith Center's Cabaret Jazz, 702-749-2000.

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