- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Deck the hall — and while you’re at it, get set for three weeks of music, dance, song and story, a Christmas season steeped in sound. Christmas marks the high point in the calendar for many of Washington’s musicians, and from the children’s chorus to the singalong, the choices are many and the texture is rich.

Children’s choral concerts are so many, for example, that one could hop, skip and jump from one to the next on the way to the holiday. The Maryland Boy Choir enlivens the University of Maryland Men’s Chorus’ Dickens-style Christmas tomorrow night, while the Youth Chorus of the Fairfax Choral Society chimes in with the adults and the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra on Saturday in the society’s “Christmas Celebration.” On Sunday the Children’s Chorus of the Alexandria Choral Society joins in the performance of “‘Tis the Season.”

Skip to the weekend of Dec. 13 and 14 and the World Children’s Choir is ready with “The Peace of Christmas.” On Dec. 21, the Children’s Chorus of Washington offers its holiday concert, accompanied by the Classical Brass.

A highlight of any Christmas season are a cappella performances of medieval and Renaissance music, and this year Washington unrolls the welcome mat for not just two widely known groups — the female ensemble Anonymous 4 and the male Chanticleer — but also for the home-grown Suspicious Cheese Lords, a group of male singers whose name plays on a Thomas Tallis motet, Suscipe Quso Domine.

And if you’re looking for the Christmas story as told through America’s checkerboard of traditions, explore the several varieties of Celtic Christmas concerts — Irish, Scottish, Welsh — as well as the Folger Consort’s concert of German hymns and folk melodies, Coral Cantigas’ Latin-style “Navidad!” and the Washington Revels’ celebration of Gypsy culture.

Finally, note a definite trend: the sing-along. Seven thousand people are expected at the Filene Center Sunday for Wolf Trap’s 35th Anniversary Holiday Sing A Long with the U.S. Marine Band. And coming up: Four sing alongs devoted to Handel’s “Messiah” alone.

So strike the harp and join the chorus. It’s Christmas.

Choral

• Alexandria Choral Society: ” ‘Tis the Season.” For this family holiday concert, the ACS is joined by its Children’s Chorus, organ and brass. Mount Vernon United Methodist Church, 2006 Belle View Blvd., south of Alexandria. 5 p.m. December 7. $15-$25. 703/548-4734, www.alexchoralsociety.org.

• Cathedral Choral Society: “The Joy of Christmas.” Seasonal music performed with guest choir Heritage Signature Chorale. Washington National Cathedral, Massachusetts and Wisconsin avenues NW. 4 p.m. Dec. 13 and 14, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15. $15-$50. 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. 8 p.m. Dec. 5. Free, charitable donations accepted. 202/319-4000, www.cua.edu.

• Chanticleer: “A Chanticleer Christmas.” The male vocal ensemble performs seasonal a cappella music from medieval to modern. Concert Hall, George Mason University, Braddock Road and Route 123, Fairfax. 8 p.m. Dec. 5. $22-$44. 703/218-6500, www.tickets.com.

• Children’s Chorus of Washington: The chorus presents a holiday concert, accompanied by Classical Brass. National City Christian Church, 5 Thomas Circle NW. 4 p.m. Dec. 21. $15. 202/237-1005.

• Choral Arts Society of Washington: Chorus, soloists and orchestra perform Christmas music, featuring Metropolitan Opera tenor Carl Tanner. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 7 p.m. Dec. 15, 2 p.m. Dec. 20, 1:30 p.m. Dec. 22. $19-$52. 202/244-3669, www.choralarts.org.

• Circle Singers: The chamber chorale presents music for Christmas by contemporary American composers, several of them Washingtonians. First Christian Church, 6165 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5; St. Columba’s Episcopal Church, 4201 Albemarle St. NW, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6; St. David’s Episcopal Church, 5150 Macomb St. NW, 4 p.m. December 7. $18. 202/882-3537.

• Concert Artists of Baltimore: These chamber musicians and vocalists perform in a Baroque Christmas program. Strathmore Hall, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda. 7:30 p.m. December 7. $25. 301/530-0540, www.strathmore.org.

• Fairfax Choral Society: “A Christmas Celebration.” The FCS adult and youth choruses are accompanied by members of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra. Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall, 3001 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria. 8 p.m. Dec. 6. $23-$31. 703/642-3277, www.fairfaxchoralsociety.org.

• Master Chorale of Washington: “Christmas Candlelight Concert.” Holiday music, candlelight processional and recessional, with organ, brass and percussion. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 1:30 p.m. Dec. 19, 5 p.m. Dec. 21, 8:30 p.m. Dec. 22. $17-$52. 202/337-SING, www.masterchorale.org.

• National Men’s Chorus: “Home for the Holidays.” A soprano soloist joins the chorus, accompanied by piano and organ. Western Presbyterian Church, 24th and G streets NW. 4 p.m. December 7. $15. A separate seasonal program is offered at the National Gallery of Art, 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. 7 p.m. Dec. 21. Free. 202/244-7191, www.nationalmenschorus.org.

• New Dominion Chorale: “Christmas Oratorio” by Johann Sebastian Bach. Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall, 3001 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria. 4 p.m. Dec. 14. $22-$30. 703/442-9404, www.newdominion.org.

• Suspicious Cheese Lords: The male a cappella ensemble presents a Christmas concert. Franciscan Monastery, 14th and Quincy streets NE. 7:30 p.m. December 7. Free, donations accepted. 877/278-5973, www.cheeselords.org.

• University of Maryland Men’s Chorus: “A Dickensian Christmas.” The program, which also features the Maryland Boy Choir, includes a musical version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” titled “The Passion of Scrooge” and other seasonal selections. Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland, College Park. 8 p.m. Dec. 5. $16-$20 301/405-2787, www.claricesmithcenter.umd.edu.

• Voices XXI: Christmas Concert. First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville, 6201 Belcrest Road (East-West Highway and Queen’s Chapel Road), Hyattsville, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13; Crypt Church, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Ave. NE, 6 p.m. Dec 14. Free, donations accepted. 301/927-6133 (ext. 20), [email protected]

• Washington Bach Consort: Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio,” parts IV-VI. National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Ave. NW. 3 p.m. December 7. $30-$47. 202/429-2121, www.bachconsort.org.

• Washington Chorus: Music for Christmas: Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 8:30 p.m. Dec. 21, 5 p.m. Dec. 22, 1:30 p.m. Dec. 23. $17-$51. 202/342-6221, www.thewashingtonchorus.org.

• Washington Men’s Camerata: “Christmas with the Camerata.” Arlington Unitarian Church, 4444 Arlington Blvd., Arlington, 8 p.m. December 7; Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ, 1 Westmoreland Circle, Bethesda, 8 p.m. Dec. 13; Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G St., NW, 4 p.m. Dec. 14. $25. 202/364-1064, www.camerata.com.

• World Children’s Choir: “The Peace of Christmas.” Sacred and secular seasonal music to piano accompaniment. St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 4250 N. Glebe Road, Arlington. 7 p.m. Dec. 13 and 3 p.m. Dec. 14. $15. 703/883-0920, www.worldchildrenschoir.org.

Early Music

• Anonymous 4: “Wolcum Yule.” Joined by harpist Andrew Lawrence-King, the a cappella quartet presents early and modern seasonal vocal music from the British Isles. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12. $35. 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.org.

• Folger Consort: “Stille Nacht: A German Christmas.” Settings of German hymns and folk melodies from the 15th through the 17th centuries. Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 E. Capitol St. SE. 8 p.m. Dec. 17-20, 5 p.m. Dec. 20, 2 p.m. Dec. 21. $38. 202/544-7077, www.folger.edu.

Folkways

• Al Petteway, Amy White and Robin Bullock: The Fourth Annual Celtic Holiday Concert, a blend of ancient carols, wassails, and new compositions. The Institute of Musical Traditions at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Silver Spring, 10309 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring. 8 p.m. Dec. 8. $14 advance or $17 door. 301/754-3611, [email protected] or www.imtfolk.org.

• Barnes and Hampton Celtic Consort: “A Celtic Christmas.” Seasonal American folk music and a 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.

• Bonnie Rideout: “A Scottish Christmas.” This Scottish fiddler joins other Celtic musicians and dancers in traditional carols, wassail tunes and dances. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 8 p.m. Dec. 26. $32 to $47. 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.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 p.m. tonight. $26. 202/857-7700, www.nationalgeographic.com.

• Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer: For this annual family holiday concert, the duo is joined by Dinorock. The Institute of Musical Traditions at the Historic Takoma Theater, 6833 4th St. NW. 1 p.m. Dec. 6. $8. 301/587-4434, www.imtfolk.org.

• Coral Cantigas: “Navidad! A Christmas Tale.” Joined by the Children’s Chorus of Silver Spring, the chorale will recount the Christmas Story in traditional Latin American style. Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, 6601 Bradley Blvd., Bethesda. 5 p.m. Dec. 14. $15. 301/816-2314, www.cantigas.org.

• Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul: “Celtic Christmas.” Former Riverdance fiddler Ivers combines her Irish roots with African percussion and tap-dance rhythms. Concert Hall, George Mason University, Braddock Road and Route 123, Fairfax. 8 p.m. Dec. 13. $21-$42. 703/218-6500, www.tickets.com.

• Hesperus: “Winter Light.” Hesperus and friends celebrate the season with a cross-cultural blend of music and dance. Coolidge Auditorium, Madison Building, Library of Congress, 1st Street and Independence Avenue SE. 8 p.m. Dec. 12. Free (tickets required). 202/432-SEAT, www.ticketmaster.com.

• Washington Revels: “The Christmas Revels: Roads of the Roma.” Celebrating the season through the songs, dances and stories of the gypsies. George Washington University, Lisner Auditorium, 21st and H Sts. NW. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5, 6, 12 and 13; 2 p.m. Dec. 6, 7, 13 and 14. $18-$38. 202/432-SEAT, www.ticketmaster.com.

Bands

• City of Fairfax Band: Annual Holiday Concert, with the Fairfax Choral Society and a guest soloist. 7 p.m. Dec. 20. Fairfax High School, 3500 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax. Free (tickets required). 703/757-0220, www.fairfaxband.org.

• Merry Tuba Christmas: More than 100 tubas, sousaphones and euphoniums welcome the season in the Kennedy Center Foyer. 6 p.m., Dec. 8. Free. 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.org.

m U.S. Army Band: “A Holiday Festival.” Special guest Lou Rawls joins the band. DAR Constitution Hall, 18th and D streets NW. 8 p.m. Dec. 12 and 13, 3 p.m. Dec. 13 and 14. Free (tickets required). 703/696-3399, www.army.mil/armyband.

• U.S. Marine Band: Holiday Sing-along. “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. December 7. Free; no tickets, but charitable donations of canned goods accepted. First-come, first-served seating starts at 3 p.m. www.wolftrap.org.

m U.S. Navy Band: “Happy Holidays.” Constitution Hall, 18th and D streets NW. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20, 3 p.m. Dec. 21. Free; tickets required, and may be ordered by sending a self-addressed, stamped business 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.navyband.navy.mil.

Pop

• Judy Collins: “A Judy Collins Holiday Concert.” With the Georgetown Chorale. Birchmere, 3701 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10. $49.50. 703/549-7500, www.birchmere.com.

• McLean Orchestra: “A Sassy Brassy Holiday.” Langley High School, 6520 Georgetown Pike, McLean. 8 p.m. Dec. 13. $23. 703/893-8646, www.tmo.org.

• National Symphony Orchestra Pops: “Happy Holidays.” Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 7 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11, 8 p.m. Dec. 12 and 13. $20-$75. 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.org.

Dinner Theater

• ‘Holiday Opera Night’:# Dinner, soloists singing opera hits and leading singalongs in two locations:

— Trattoria da Franco, 305 S. Washington St., Alexandria. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 21. $40. Reservations required. 703/548-9338, [email protected]

— Cafe Mozart, 1331 H St. NW. 7 p.m. (arrive by 6:30 p.m.) Dec. 29. No cover charge with entree; all others pay $25 (no entertainment coupons). Reservations recommended. 202/347-5732.

‘Messiah’

• National Philharmonic Chorale: With soloists. F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, Rockville Civic Center, Baltimore Road and Edmonston Drive. 8 p.m. Dec. 19 and 20. $19-$39. 301/762-8580, www.ci.rockville.md.us/arts.

m National Symphony Orchestra:# With soloists and the University of Maryland Concert Choir. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 7 p.m. Dec. 18, 8 p.m. Dec. 19 and 20, 1 p.m. Dec. 21. $20-$75. 202/467- 4600, www.kennedy-center.org.

• Singalong with the Metropolitan Chorus: First Presbyterian Church, 601 N. Vermont St., Arlington. 5 p.m. Dec. 6. Free, but donations accepted for a community food program. 703/933-2500, www.metchorus.org.

• Singalong with the National Institutes of Health Community Orchestra and Chorus: Georgetown Preparatory School, Figge Theater, 10900 Rockville Pike, Rockville. 3 p.m. Dec. 7. Scores for rental. $10 adults, $5 students and seniors, free to children. 301/897-8184.

• Singalong with soloists and orchestra: Fairlington United Methodist Church, 3900 King St., Alexandria. 4 p.m. December 7. Free. 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; ticket giveaway, 10 a.m. Dec. 13, Kennedy Center Hall of Nations — limit two per person). 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.org.

‘The Nutcracker’

• Kirov Ballet: Kennedy Center Opera House. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 23, 25-28; 1:30 p.m. Dec. 27 and 28. $45-$110. 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.org.

• Puppet Co.: A puppet version. Puppet Co. 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. $6. 301/320-6668, www.thepuppetco.org.

• Rockville Civic Ballet: F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre, Rockville Civic Center, Baltimore Road and Edmonston Drive. 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6 and 13, 1 and 4:30 p.m. December 7 and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 14. $8. 240/314-8681, www.ci.rockville.md.us/arts.

• Washington Ballet: Warner Theatre, 1299 Pennsylvania Ave., NW. 7 p.m. Dec. 12, 13, 18-20, 23, 26 and 27; 2 p.m. Dec. 13, 20, 26 and 27; 1 p.m. Dec. 14, 21, 24 and 27; 5 p.m. Dec. 21. $24-$59. 202/783-4000, www.warnertheatre.com.

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