- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Festively decked halls fill with music, dance and the holiday spirit over the next few weeks as the region celebrates a joyful season. From choruses singing hosannas to traditional fiddlers, brass bands and the “Nutcracker” prince, a cornucopia of performances and singalongs offers something for everyone.

Highlights this year include a wealth of Norwegian offerings to celebrate the country’s 100th anniversary of independence from Sweden. The Cathedral Choral Society presents Norwegian Christmas music, the three Norwegian sopranos of Trio Mediaeval sing songs old and new, and there’s a traditional “Gledelig Jul!” celebration especially for children.

Continuing the Nordic theme, the Washington Revels program “Journey to the Northlands” honors Scandinavian solstice traditions, and the Capitol Hill Chorale welcomes the return of light at the darkest time of the year.

A major new venue appears on the radar this year. It’s the Music Center at Strathmore, whose 2,000-seat concert hall opened in February and will feature diverse holiday fare, including a jazzy show by the Manhattan Transfer and Scottish fiddle champion Bonnie Rideout’s “Scottish Christmas.”

The center also will host the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Soulful Symphony in a gospel rendition of Handel’s “Messiah,” a perennial favorite that finds many more conventional performances, as well, including numerous singalongs.



Folk-themed programs include not only the return of Barnes and Hampton’s “A Celtic Christmas” but new arrivals. The Irish traditional band Teada brings “An Irish Christmas in America” to Washington for the first time. Also, Alison Brown unites genres as diverse as bluegrass, jazz and Celtic in debuting her “Winter’s Eve” concert here.

Choral favorites include the Master Chorale of Washington’s “Christmas Candlelight Concert,” as well as grandly scaled performances by the Choral Arts Society, the Washington Chorus, the Metropolitan Chorus, the Washington Bach Consort and the Washington Women’s Chorus, which also features handbell ringers.

Smaller groups include the National Men’s Chorus, the Washington Men’s Camerata, the Alexandria Choral Society, Voices XXI and the Suspicious Cheese Lords, among many others.

Nothing says Christmas quite like “The Nutcracker,” and this year’s sugar plum may be a performance by the American Ballet Theatre. There is also a jazz and hip-hop version by Momentum Dance Theatre, one danced by puppets of the Puppet Company, and a repeat by the Washington Ballet of the story set in the District, choreographed by company director Septime Webre and which debuted last year. It sounds like a new tradition may be starting, one welcome in a season brimming with those already cherished.

Choral

• Alexandria Choral Society: ” ‘Tis the Season: Annual Family Holiday Concert.” The ACS adult and children’s choruses are accompanied by the Metropolitan Brass Quintet, plus organ and piano. George Washington National Masonic Memorial, 101 Callahan Drive, Alexandria. 7 p.m. Dec. 10 and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 11. $20. 703/548-4734, www.alexchoralsociety.org

• Cantate Chamber Singers: Holiday music from many countries and centuries, including Benjamin Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols.” The Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, Bethesda. 3 (sold out) and 7 p.m. Dec. 11. $26. 301/986-1799, www.cantate.org

• Capitol Hill Chorale: “Lux Aeterna: A Celebration of Light.” Eighty voices united in song sacred and secular celebrate the return of light at the darkest time of the year. Lutheran Church of the Reformation, Second and East Capitol streets Northeast. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, 4 p.m. Dec. 4. $10-$20, free for children under 12. 202/547-6839, www.capitolhillchorale.org

• Cathedral Choral Society: “The Joy of Christmas: A Norwegian Festival.” Traditional and contemporary Norwegian Christmas music with the Washington Symphonic Brass, solo soprano, organ and carillon. Washington National Cathedral, Massachusetts and Wisconsin avenues Northwest. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, 4 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11. $20-$60. 202/537-5527, www.cathedralchoralsociety.org

• Catholic University of America: Annual Christmas Concert for Charity. The CUA Chorus and Symphony Orchestra join the Choir of the Basilica. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Ave. NE. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2. Free. Charitable donations accepted. 202/319-5416, www.cua.edu

• Choral Arts Society of Washington: “Christmas Music” presented with chorus, soloists and full orchestra, Kennedy Center Concert Hall, 1:30 p.m. Dec. 17 and 23, $17-$59; “Family Christmas Concerts” feature a visit from Santa, Kennedy Center Terrace Theater, 2 and 4 p.m. Dec. 18, $15-$25. 202/467-4600, www.choralarts.org

• Christmas Pageant of Peace: Performances of choral holiday music, mainly by local groups, will take place near the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse, located at the south end of the White House grounds between 15th and 17th streets Northwest, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 2 through 23. Free, no tickets required. 202-208-1631, www.nps.gov/whho/pageant

• Circle Singers: “O Holy Night.” Blend of familiar and contemporary choral music. St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, 4700 Whitehaven Parkway NW, 7:30 p.m. (pre-concert talk 6:30 p.m.) Dec. 3; St. David’s Episcopal Church, 5150 Macomb St. NW, 4 p.m. Dec. 4. (A complimentary reception follows each concert.) $15-$20, free for children 12 and under. 202/882-3537, www.circlesingers.com

• Maryland Chorus: Annual holiday concerts. Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, University of Maryland, College Park. 8 p.m. Dec. 3, 3 p.m. Dec. 4. $7-$20. 301/405-2787, www.claricesmithcenter.umd.edu.

• Master Chorale of Washington: Christmas Candlelight Concert. Holiday music, candlelight processional and recessional, with organ, harp, brass and percussion. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 8:30 p.m. Dec. 18, 8 p.m. Dec. 19 and 21. $21-$57. 202/467-4600, www.masterchorale.org

• Metropolitan Chorus: “The Many Moods of Christmas.” Favorite seasonal carols as popularized by Robert Shaw. Thomas Jefferson Theatre, 125 S. Old Glebe Road, Arlington. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17. $15-$18, free for children 16 and younger. 703/933-2500, www.metchorus.org

• National Men’s Chorus: A holiday program accompanied by piano. Western Presbyterian Church, 24th and G streets Northwest. 4 p.m. Dec. 11. $7.50-$15. 202/244-7191, www.nationalmenschorus.org

• New Dominion Chorale: “Gloria! Gloria!” Carols and other holiday music accompanied by orchestra and organ. Schlesinger Concert Hall, Northern Virginia Community College, 3001 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria. 4 p.m. Dec. 4. $15-$25. 703/442-9404, www.newdominion.org

• Voices XXI: Christmas music sung by chamber chorus. First Baptist Church of Hyattsville, 5701 42nd Ave., Hyattsville, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10; Chevy Chase United Methodist Church, 7001 Connecticut Ave., Chevy Chase, 3 p.m. Dec. 11. Free, donations accepted. 240/643-6563, www.voicesxxI.org

• Washington Bach Consort: “The Consort Sings Christmas.” Choral music from medieval to modern. National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Ave. NW. 3 p.m. Dec. 4. $35-$51. 202/429-2270, www.bachconsort.org

• Washington Chorus: “Music for Christmas.” With guest chorus H-B Woodlawn Chamber Singers and accompaniment on organ, brass and percussion. Kennedy Center Concert Hall, 5 p.m. Dec. 18 and 7 p.m. Dec. 22, $21-$57; Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, Bethesda, 8 p.m. Dec. 23, $19-$56. 202/342-6221, www.thewashingtonchorus.org

• Washington Men’s Camerata: “Christmas with the Camerata.” Fairlington United Methodist Church, 3900 King St., Alexandria, 8 p.m. Dec. 10; Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, 6601 Bradley Blvd., Bethesda, 8 p.m. Dec. 17; Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G St., NW, 3 p.m. Dec. 18. $25, $15-$40. 202/364-1064, www.camerata.com.

• Washington Women’s Chorus: “Songs and Stories of Christmas.” Handbell and choral ensembles from Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart join the WWC for seasonal songs, carols and readings. St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 4000 Lorcum Lane, Arlington, 7 p.m. Dec. 3; St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, 4700 Whitehaven Parkway, NW, 4 p.m. Dec. 4. $15-$20. 202/244-7367, www.washingtonwomenschorus.org

• World Children’s Choir: “The Peace of Christmas.” St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 4250 N. Glebe Road, Arlington. 7 p.m. Dec. 17 and 3 p.m. Dec. 18. $15-$20. 703/883-0920, www.worldchildrenschoir.org

Early Music

• Folger Consort: Soprano Rosa Lamoreaux and a chamber ensemble of period instruments perform baroque Christmas music from France and Italy. Folger Elizabethan Theatre, 201 E. Capitol St. SE. 8 p.m. Dec. 16, 17 and 23, 5 p.m. Dec. 17, 2 p.m. Dec. 18 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21 and 22. $40. 202/544-7077, www.folger.edu.

• Suspicious Cheese Lords: Renaissance and baroque music of the season for men’s voices. National Gallery of Art, West Building, Sixth Street and Constitution Avenue, Northwest, West Garden Court. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 18. Free. Admission first-come, first-seated beginning at 6 p.m. 202/842-6941, www.nga.gov

• Trio Mediaeval: Three Norwegian sopranos sing traditional songs to celebrate the season, as well as festive contemporary compositions. Kennedy Center Terrace Theater. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11. $34. 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.org

Folkways

• Alison Brown: “Winter’s Eve.” Singer-banjo player Brown and her ensemble draw on bluegrass, folk, jazz, Celtic and American influences to celebrate the season. Concert Hall, George Mason University, Braddock Road and Route 123, Fairfax. 8 p.m. Dec. 16. $18-$36, children 12 and under half price. 703/993-2787, www.gmu.edu/cfa

• 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. 3, 4 and 10, 7 p.m. Dec. 8, 8 p.m. Dec. 3, 9 and 10. $24-$28. 202/965-2000, www.dumbartonconcerts.org

• Bonnie Rideout: “Scottish Christmas.” The Scottish fiddle champion joins other musicians and Scottish dancers for traditional Celtic melodies and wassail tunes. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, Bethesda. 8 p.m. Dec. 22. $25-$55. 887/267-1444, www.BSOatStrathmore.org

• Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer: “20th Annual Holiday Family Concert.” The folk-music duo is joined by Tappers With Attitude. AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 3. Free, but tickets must be reserved in advance. 240/777-6820, www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec

• Coral Cantigas: “Navidad! Carols and Parrandas.” Latin American Christmas music. Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, 6601 Bradley Blvd., Bethesda. 7 p.m. Dec. 4. $16-$20, free for children 12 and under. 301/424-8296, www.cantigas.org

• “Gledelig Jul! A Norwegian Christmas Celebration”: Norwegian traditional musicians and dancers join singers from the Washington Revels to present songs, dances and fairy tales. Baird Auditorium, National Museum of National History, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue Northwest. 10 and 11:30 a.m. Dec. 14. $4-$6. 202/357-3030, www.si.edu

• Teada: “An Irish Christmas in America.” The Irish traditional band Teada, augmented by other musicians, dancers and a narrator, re-enact the “Wren Boys” ritual, in which costumed performers travel from house to house during yuletide in Ireland. National Geographic’s Grosvenor Auditorium, 1600 M St. NW. 6 and 8:30 p.m. Dec. 9. $26. 202/857-7700, www.nationalgeographic.com

• Washington Reflections Dance Company: “The Spirit of Kwanza.” Fabian Barnes and his dance company present their 10th annual multimedia dance celebration of the black American holiday. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 8 p.m. Dec. 28 and 29. $12-$25. 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.org

• Washington Revels: “The Christmas Revels: Journey to the Northlands.” A celebration of the winter solstice in traditional and ritual music, dance and drama highlighting Nordic Europe. George Washington University, Lisner Auditorium, 21st and H streets Northwest. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, 10, 16 and 17; 2 p.m. Dec. 10, 11, 17 and 18. $18-$40, $12-$22 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 Route 123, Fairfax. 8 p.m. Dec. 17. $22-$44, children 12 and under half price. 703/993-2787, www.gmu.edu/cfa

• City of Fairfax Band: “Christmas in Fairfax.” Soprano Daisy Jackson joins the band for traditional and popular Christmas classics. Santa greets kids in the lobby before the concert. 7 p.m. Dec. 17. Fairfax High School, 3500 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax. Free, advance tickets required, obtainable 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. 5. Free. 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.org

• U.S. Army Band: “A Stan Kenton Christmas,” Brucker Hall, Fort Myer, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 and Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, 6 p.m. Dec. 6 (both free, no tickets required); “A Holiday Festival” with guest artist Silvia McNair, DAR Constitution Hall, 18th and D streets, Northwest, 8 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10, 3 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11 (all free, tickets required and obtainable Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Brucker Hall, Fort Myer); “Holiday Serenades” featuring the U.S. Army Strings Chamber Ensemble, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, 6 p.m. Dec. 21 (free, no tickets required). 703/696-3399, www.usarmyband.com

• U.S. Marine 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. 4. Free. Organizers suggest bringing a bell to ring and a candle to light during performances, as well as a new unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots and to dress warmly for this open-air event. First-come, first-served seating starts at 3 p.m. 703/255-1900, www.wolftrap.org

• U.S. Navy Band: “Happy Holidays.” DAR Constitution Hall, 18th and D streets Northwest. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17, 3 p.m. Dec. 18. Free; tickets required and may be ordered (limit of 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), through Dec. 9. 202/433-2525, www.navyband.navy.mil

Pop

m Manhattan Transfer: Holiday favorites sung in jazzy renditions backed by a 20-piece band. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, Bethesda. 8 p.m. Dec. 13 and 14. $21-$60. 301/581-5100, www.strathmore.org

• National Symphony Orchestra Pops: “Happy Holidays.” Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 7 p.m. Dec. 8 and 11, 8 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10. $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. 9. $30. 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.org

Handel’s ‘Messiah’

m Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Soulful Symphony: A symphonic gospel version is presented on a program called “Soulful Celebration,” which also includes Duke Ellington’s interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite.” Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, Bethesda. 8 p.m. Dec. 10. $18-$55. 877-276-1444, www.BSOatStrathmore.org

• Combined choirs of Washington National Cathedral: The choirs of men, boys and girls blend their voices. Washington National Cathedral, Massachusetts and Wisconsin avenues Northwest. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, 4 p.m. Dec. 4. $20-$80. 202/537-5527.

• National Philharmonic: Orchestra, chorus and soloists. Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, Bethesda. 8 p.m. Dec. 3. $25-$80, free for children 7-17. 301/581-5100, www.strathmore.org

• National Symphony Orchestra: Joined by vocal soloists and the Washington Chorus. Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 7 p.m. Dec. 15, 8 p.m. Dec. 16 and 17, 1 p.m. Dec. 18. $20-$79. 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.org

• Metropolitan Chorus: “Annual Messiah-Sing.” Singalong. First Presbyterian Church, 601 N. Vermont St., Arlington. 5 p.m. Dec. 3. Free. 703/933-2500, www.metchorus.org

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

• Singalong with the Opera House Orchestra, soloists and a 200-voice chorus: Kennedy Center Concert Hall. 8 p.m. Dec. 23. Free; tickets required and may be obtained Dec. 10 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’

m American Ballet Theatre: Choreography by Kevin McKenzie. Kennedy Center Opera House. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7-11 and 1:30 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11. $47-$112. 202/467-4600, www.kennedy-center.org

• 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. Stuart Hobson Middle School, 410 E St. NE, 3 p.m. Dec. 10, 11, 17 and 18 and 8 p.m. Dec. 10 and 17. $10-$20. 202/672-0102, www.momentumdancetheatre.com

• Puppet Company: A puppet version. Puppet Company Playhouse, Glen Echo Park, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo. 10 and 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays-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. 2 and 4 p.m. Dec. 3, 4, 10 and 11 and 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 3 and 10. $8-$12. 240/314-8690, www.rockvillemd.gov

• Washington Ballet: A version set in Washington choreographed by company director Septime Webre. Warner Theatre, 1299 Pennsylvania Ave., NW. 7 p.m. Dec. 1 (preview), 2, 3, 9,10, 15-17 and 20-23; 2 p.m. Dec. 3, 10, 17 and 23; 1 p.m. Dec. 4, 11, 18 and 24; 5 p.m. Dec. 11 and 18. $29-$72. 202/397-SEAT, www.washingtonballet.org

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