- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Colored lights around the door and a wreath upon it can mean only one thing: A festive season of song and celebration returns to brighten winter’s dark, as area musicians roll out the red carpet and deck the halls with green.

Often dubbed the “choral capital of the world,” Washington boasts more choruses than you can shake a baton at, many with long-standing traditions of Christmas music. These include large groups such as the Washington Chorus, the Choral Arts Society and the Master Chorale as well as smaller ones such as the National Men’s Chorus, Circle Singers and the Washington Men’s Camerata. Newer ensembles such as Voices XXI are forging their own traditions, and visitors, including Chanticleer and the Boys Choir of Harlem, spice up the mix.

Pursuing ancient sounds, the Tallis Scholars arrive from England to sing sacred Renaissance music. Other early musicians, members of Washington’s own Folger Consort, offer Old World and New World Spanish compositions on period instruments.

A folk approach comes every year from the Barnes and Hampton Celtic Consort and the Washington Revels, which presents a solstice pageant of dance, song and story.

Newer entrants on the Washington seasonal scene are the Boys of the Lough, returning with a second Celtic offering, and Hesperus, which began performing crossover Christmas concerts locally a few years ago. Carols can be heard in Spanish from Coral Cantigas.

Canadian Brass, after a hiatus last year, returns to the roster of bands striking up for the holidays. Others include the U.S. Army Band, the U.S. Navy Band and the U.S. Marine Corps Band, the last leading a singalong at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center that 7,000 people are expected to attend. More than 100 tubas, sousaphones and euphoniums will blast away in the annual Merry TubaChristmas program in the Kennedy Center Foyer.

Lovers of perennial favorites such as Handel’s Messiah will find plenty of performances, including numerous singalongs welcoming their voices. The Nutcracker gets some novel treatments with hip-hop and puppet versions, while the Washington Ballet debuts a version set right here in town — the place to be this Christmas.

Choral

• Alexandria Choral Society: ” ‘Tis the Season: Annual Family Holiday Concert.” The ACS adult and children’s choruses are accompanied by harp, organ and piano. Aldersgate United Methodist Church, 1301 Collingwood Road, Alexandria. 5 p.m. Dec. 18. $15, families $25. 703/548-4734, www.alexchoralsociety.org.

• Boys Choir of Harlem: Classical music, show tunes, carols and hymns. Concert Hall, George Mason University, Braddock Road and state Route 123, Fairfax. 8 p.m. Dec. 10. $22-$44, children under 12 half price. 703/218-6500, www.tickets.com.

• Cathedral Choral Society: “The Joy of Christmas.” Seasonal music performed with the Washington Symphonic Brass and the Choirs of Washington National Cathedral. Washington National Cathedral, Massachusetts and Wisconsin avenues NW. 4 p.m. Dec. 11 and 12, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13. $20-$55. 202/537-5527, www.cathedralchoralsociety.org.

• Catholic University of America: Annual Christmas concert for charity. The CUA Chorus and Symphony join the Choir of the Basilica. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Ave. NE. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3. Free, charitable donations accepted. 202/319-4000, www.cua.edu.

• Chanticleer: “A Chanticleer Christmas.” Seasonal a cappella music from medieval to modern. Concert Hall, George Mason University, Braddock Road and state Route 123, Fairfax. 8 p.m. Dec. 3. $22-$44. 703/218-6500, www.tickets.com.

• Choral Arts Society of Washington: Chorus, soloists and the American Youth Philharmonic Orchestra perform Christmas music. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 7 p.m. Dec. 13, 8:30 p.m. Dec. 19, 1:30 p.m. Dec. 23. $17-$50. 202/467-4600, www.choralarts.org.

• Circle Singers: “A Spotless Rose: Music of the British Isles for Christmas.” St. David’s Episcopal Church, 5150 Macomb St. NW, 4 p.m. Dec. 5; St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, 4700 Whitehaven Parkway NW, 7:30 p.m. (pre-concert lecture 6:30 p.m.) Dec. 11. $20, free for children under 12. 202/882-3537.

• Maryland Chorus: Annual holiday concert. Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland at College Park. 8 p.m. Dec. 4, 3 p.m. Dec. 5. $20. 301/405-2787, http://claricesmithcenter.umd.edu.

• Master Chorale of Washington: “Christmas Candlelight Concert.” Holiday music, candlelight processional and recessional with organ, brass and percussion. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 5 p.m. Dec. 19, 8 p.m. Dec. 20. $21-$55. 202/467-4600, www.masterchorale.org.

• Metropolitan Chorus: The chorus joins the Northern Virginia Community College Choir and the Mount Vernon Orchestra in Camille Saint-Saens’ “Christmas Oratorio.” Church of the Epiphany, 13th and G streets NW. 7 p.m. Dec. 11. $20. 703/933- 2500, www.metchorus.org.

• National Men’s Chorus: A holiday concert with the chorus, accompanied by flute, piano and organ. Western Presbyterian Church, 24th and G streets NW. 4 p.m. Dec. 5. $15, $7.50 students/children. 202/244-7191, www.nationalmenschorus.org.

• Suspicious Cheese Lords: “Gaudete.” Male a cappella seasonal selections, along with organ solos. Franciscan Monastery, 14th and Quincy streets NE. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5. Free, donations accepted. 877/278-5973, www.cheeselords.org.

• Voices XXI: Christmas concert. Vocal music sacred and secular. 417 Auditorium, Asbury Methodist Village, Gaithersburg, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11; Chevy Chase United Methodist Church, 7001 Connecticut Ave. Chevy Chase, 4 p.m. Dec. 12. Free, donations accepted. 301/927-6133, Ext. 20; voicesxxi@aol.com.

• Washington Bach Consort: “Christmas With the Consort.” Includes baroque choral works and organ performances. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Ave. NE. 8 p.m. Dec. 4. $30-$47. 202/429-2270, www.bachconsort.org.

• Washington Chorus: “Music for Christmas.” With guest chamber singers from Watkins Mill High School in Gaithersburg and accompaniment on organ, brass and percussion. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 2 p.m. Dec. 18, 8 p.m. Dec 21 and 22. $19-$53. 202/342-6221, www.thewashingtonchorus.org.

• Washington Men’s Camerata: “Christmas With the Camerata.” St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 4000 Lorcum Lane, Arlington, 8 p.m. Dec. 4; Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, 6601 Bradley Blvd., Bethesda, 4 p.m. Dec. 5; Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G St. NW, 4 p.m. Dec. 12. $25. A separate seasonal program will be offered at the National Gallery of Art, Sixth Street and Constitution Avenue NW at 7 p.m. Dec. 19. Free. 202/364-1064, www.camerata.com.

• World Children’s Choir: Seasonal songs from around the world. St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 4250 N. Glebe Road, Arlington. 7 p.m. Dec. 18; St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 4900 Connecticut Ave. NW. $15; $10 seniors, students, children. 703/883-0920, www.worldchildrenschoir.org.

Early music

• Folger Consort: “Feliz Navidad.” Christmas music from old Spain and 17-century villancicos from Peru and Mexico. Lutheran Church of the Reformation, 212 E. Capitol St. SE. 8 p.m. Dec. 17 and 18, 5 p.m. Dec. 18 and 19, 2 p.m. Dec. 19. $38. 202/544-7077, www.folger.edu.

• Tallis Scholars: This British choral ensemble performs Renaissance and other seasonal sacred music. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12. $35. 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.org.

Folkways

• Barnes and Hampton Celtic Consort: “A Celtic Christmas.” Seasonal offerings on harp, guitar, flutes, pipes and bodhran, and a dramatic reading of Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.” Dumbarton Church, 3133 Dumbarton St. NW. 4 p.m. Dec. 6, 7 and 13; 8 p.m. Dec. 6, 12 and 13; 7 p.m. Dec. 11. $28. 202/965-2000, www.dumbartonconcerts.org.

• Boys of the Lough: “A Celtic Christmas.” Traditional seasonal music of Scotland, Ireland, North America and beyond. National Geographic’s Gilbert H. Grosvenor Auditorium, 1600 M St. NW. 6 and 8:30 p.m. Dec. 10. $26. 202/857-7700, www.nationalgeographic.com.

• Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer: For this annual family holiday concert, the duo is joined by John McCutcheon. Historic Takoma Theatre, 6833 4th St. NW. 1 and 3:30 p.m. Dec. 11. $8. 301/754-3611, www.imtfolk.org.

• Coral Cantigas: “Navidad! Carols and Parandas.” Seasonal music in Spanish. Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, 6601 Bradley Blvd., Bethesda. 5 p.m. Dec. 12. $18, $15 students and seniors, free for children 12 and under. 301/424-8296, www.cantigas.org.

• Hesperus: “A Crossover Christmas: An Enchanting, Festive Blend of Early and Traditional Music.” With singer Molly Andrews, the Arlington-based group blends European early music and American traditional tunes. St. Columba’s Episcopal Church, 4201 Albemarle St. NW, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18; Rosslyn Spectrum, Wilson Boulevard and North Kent Street, Rosslyn, 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 19. $20, $10 for students and those on a fixed income. 703/525-7550, www.hesperus.org.

• Washington Revels: “The Christmas Revels: The King and the Fool.” A seasonal celebration with dance, song and story from long ago, including the music of Hildegard von Bingen and performances by early-music ensemble Piffaro. George Washington University, Lisner Auditorium, 21st and H streets NW. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, 4, 10 and 11; 2 p.m. Dec. 4, 5, 11 and 12. $18-$38, $12-$20 children 18 and under. 202/432-SEAT, www.ticketmaster.com.

Bands

• Canadian Brass: Classical music, carols and jazzy renditions of seasonal songs. Concert Hall, George Mason University, Braddock Road and Virginia Route 123, Fairfax. 8 p.m. Dec. 11. $22-$44, children under 12 half price. 703/218-6500, www.tickets.com.

• City of Fairfax Band: Annual Holiday Concert, with a reading of ” ‘Twas the Night before Christmas.” 7 p.m. Dec. 18. Fairfax High School, 3500 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax. Free; tickets required and can be obtained by mailing a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Holiday Concert Tickets, P.O. Box 1306, Fairfax, VA 22038-1306. 703/757-0220, www.fairfaxband.org.

• Merry TubaChristmas: More than 100 tubas, sousaphones and euphoniums welcome the season in the Kennedy Center foyer. 6 p.m. Dec. 6. Free. 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.org.

• U.S. Army Band: “A Holiday Festival.” Special guest Kenny Loggins joins the band. DAR Constitution Hall, 18th and D streets NW. 8 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11, 3 p.m. Dec. 11 and 12. Free; tickets required, but no longer available. 703/696-3399, www.army.mil/armyband.

• U.S. Marine Corps Band: Holiday singalong. “The president’s own” joins community choral groups and an expected audience of more than 7,000 in Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs. Wolf Trap Filene Center, Vienna. 4 p.m. Dec. 5. Free, but charitable donations of canned goods accepted for the Capital Area Community Food Bank. First-come, first-served seating starts at 3 p.m. 703/255-1900, www.wolftrap.org.

• U.S. Navy Band: “Happy Holidays.” Constitution Hall, 18th and D streets NW. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18, 3 p.m. Dec. 19. Free; tickets required and may be ordered (limit four) by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Holiday Tickets (W), U.S. Navy Band, PMB 472, 2657 G Annapolis Road, Hanover, MD 21076 (Designate “A” for Saturday, “B” for Sunday). 202/433-2525, www.navy band.navy.mil.

Pop

• Fairfax Symphony Orchestra: “Holiday Pops!” Joint concert with the Fairfax Choral Society. Concert Hall, George Mason University, Braddock Road and state Route 123, Fairfax. 4 p.m. Dec. 4. $25, $15 children 17 and under. 703/642-3277, www.fairfaxchoralsociety.org.

• Kathy Mattea: “Songs and the Season.” Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 8 p.m. Dec. 26. $32-$47. 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.org.

• McLean Orchestra: “In from the Cold.” Oakcrest School for Girls, 850 Balls Hill Road, McLean. 8 p.m. Dec. 18. $23, $20 students and seniors. 703/893-8646, www.mclean-orchestra.org.

• National Symphony Orchestra Pops: “Happy Holidays.” Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 7 p.m. Dec. 9 and 12, 8 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11. $20-$80. 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.org.

• NPR’s A Jazz Piano Christmas: Jazz pianists perform their favorite seasonal music, recorded live for broadcast on National Public Radio. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 10. $30. 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.org.

‘Messiah’

• Cathedral Choral Society: Washington National Cathedral, Massachusetts and Wisconsin avenues NW. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, 4 p.m. Dec. 5. $20-$55. 202/537-5527, www.cathedralchoralsociety.org.

• National Philharmonic: Orchestra and chorus. F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, Rockville Civic Center, Baltimore Road and Edmonston Drive. 8 and 10 p.m. Dec. 17 and 18. $21-$41. 240/314-8690, www.rockvillemd.gov.

• National Symphony Orchestra: Joined by vocal soloists and the Master Chorale of Washington. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 7 p.m. Dec. 16, 8 p.m. Dec. 17 and 18, 1 p.m. Dec. 19. $20-$77. 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.org.

• New Dominion Chorale: Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall, 3001 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria. 4 p.m. Dec. 12. $22, $18 seniors, $15 students and children under 22. 703/442-9404, www.newdominion.org.

• Metropolitan Chorus: Singalong. First Presbyterian Church, 601 N. Vermont St., Arlington. 5 p.m. Dec. 4. Free. 703/933-2500, www.metchorus.org.

• Singalong with soloists: Fairlington United Methodist Church, 3900 King St., Alexandria. 4 p.m. Dec. 12. Free. Reception follows. 703/671-4057, www.fairlingtonumc.org.

• Singalong with members of the Opera House Orchestra, 200-voice chorus and professional soloists: Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 8 p.m. Dec. 23. Free; tickets required and may be obtained Dec. 11 starting at 10 a.m. in the Kennedy Center Hall of Nations; limit two per person. 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.org.

‘The Nutcracker’

• Momentum Dance Theatre: A jazz and hip-hop adaptation of Duke Ellington’s version of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” plus hip-hop tracks, break-dancing and rap. Historic Takoma Theatre, 6833 Fourth St. NW, 8 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11 and 3 p.m. Dec. 12; Stuart Hobson Middle School, 410 E St. NE, 3 p.m. Dec. 18 and 19 and 8 p.m. Dec. 18. $18, $12 students, $10 children under 10. 202/785-0035, www.momentumdancetheatre.com.

• Puppet Company: A puppet version. Puppet Company Playhouse, Glen Echo Park, MacArthur Boulevard and Goldsboro Road, Glen Echo. 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 31. $7. 301/320-6668, www.thepuppetco.org.

• Rockville Civic Ballet: F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, Rockville Civic Center, Baltimore Road and Edmonston Drive. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 4 and 11; 2 and 4 p.m. Dec. 5, 11 and 12. $10, $8 students and seniors. 240/314-8690, www.rockvillemd.gov.

• Washington Ballet: A brand-new version set in Washington and choreographed by Septime Webre. Warner Theatre, 1299 Pennsylvania Ave., NW. 7 p.m. Dec. 10, 11, 16-18 and 21-23; 2 p.m. Dec. 11, 18 and 22; 1 p.m. Dec. 12, 19, 24 and 26; 5 p.m. Dec. 19 and 26. $25-$69. (Special preview 7 p.m. Dec. 9. $20-$59.) 202/397-SEAT, www.washington bal let.org.

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