- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Choral Arts Society of Washington will hold its annual holiday concert and benefit at the Kennedy Center on Monday. A highlight of the holiday social season, the black-tie concert and gala has been a Kennedy Center tradition for 29 years.

For the first time ever, the concert will be open to military hospitals and wounded troops. More than 100 troops and their families from Fisher House, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda and Fort Belvoir are expected to attend.

The society has enlisted the help of cybersecurity entrepreneur Tiffanny Gates as the benefit chairwoman.

The evening will begin at 7 and, in keeping with its “Joyeux Noel” theme, will feature French Christmas carols as well as festive American songs and religious anthems. French Ambassador Pierre Vimont has signed on to the event as honorary chairman.

After the performance, the Continental flair continues with dinner and dancing on the Kennedy Center’s Roof Terrace with decor inspired by the Paris Opera ceiling, a work of art by Marc Chagall.

Tickets start at $600, and proceeds benefit the society’s various educational and community outreach programs.

For more information, visit www.choralarts.org.

Tea with the nutcracker

The arts will come out to play following Sunday’s matinee performance of “The Nutcracker” at the Warner Theatre, thanks to the Washington Ballet under Artistic Director Septime Webre.

The company will host its 30th annual Nutcracker Tea Party at the Willard InterContinental Washington, sponsored by PNC Bank, the S&R; Foundation and Judy Bishop. Tickets start at $200 and include a ticket to the matinee performance.

“This fun and festive holiday tradition has become a quintessential part of the Washington, D.C., yuletide season,” say tea co-chairs Meredith Cymerman, Claire Dwoskin and Stacey Lubar in a news release. “We are so thankful to have the support of our sponsors and patrons that made this event possible, as well as Michelle Cross Fenty, who is graciously serving as the tea’s honorary chair.”

In addition to food and drink, the party allows pint-size dancers and aspiring performers to frolic with the iconic characters from Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece, including the Snow Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Proceeds from the tea party support the Washington School of Ballet and its community-engagement programs.

On Dec. 18, the Jete Society, the ballet’s young professionals organization, will host a post-performance reception at the Hotel George to recruit fellow performing-arts lovers and raise money for the ballet company.

For more information, visit www.washingtonballet.org.

Shop for a cause

As the shopping season kicks into high gear, the Greater Washington Catalogue for Philanthropy is offering gift cards on its Web site (www.cfp-dc.org). The nonprofit group connects area donors with local charitable organizations that have an annual operating budget of less than $3 million. Gift-card recipients visit the site to select a charitable group to receive the donation.

This year, a group of 90 “expert reviewers” chose the charities to be featured in the 2009-10 print catalog.

Fighting hunger

D.C. Central Kitchen, which has served more than 1 million meals to Washington’s hungry, is teaming up with the 9:30 Club on a special T-shirt to fight hunger. All of the profits from sales of the shirt will go to help the needy.

The limited-edition $20 “combat green” shirts can be purchased at the 9:30 Club on show nights, anytime at www.930.com or at the D.C. Central Kitchen on Second Street Northwest while supplies last.

“Both D.C. Central Kitchen and the 9:30 Club are local forces making D.C., our hometown, bolder, badder and better, so it’s only natural that we work together to create a [great] campaign to get folks involved,” Robert Egger, founder of D.C. Central Kitchen, explains in a news release.

For more information, visit www.dccentralkitchen.org or www.930.com.

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