Select music events, organized alphabetically
The St. Charles Singers kick off their twenty-eighth season with “Candlelight Carols.” The program will include traditional favorites and carols from other countries including Australia, Norway and Sweden as well as selections from their new CD From out of the Wood. They’ll also be featuring two new choral arrangements by Robert Boyd and Nate Adams. Baker Memorial Methodist Church, 307 Cedar, St. Charles (630)513-5272. December 3, 3pm (special Candlelight Carols Concert for Children) and 7pm; December 4, 3pm and 7pm. $30, $20 seniors and students (with ID).
Chicago Ukulele Cabaret Holiday Show
Chicago Ukulele Cabaret hosts their third annual Christmas (and Hannukah and Kwanzaa) open mic concert. What better way to get into the holiday spirit than by cheering on friends you’ve known forever and friends you haven’t met as they take the stage . And if you or someone you love wants to perform, make sure you contact Chicago Ukulele Cabaret (firstname.lastname@example.org). Silvie’s Lounge, 1902 W. Irving Park. December 17, 8pm, free.
A Clooney Christmas
Remembering one of the golden age of cinema’s most endearing personalities in this holiday tribute concert to Rosemary Clooney. Heather Moran will be reenacting some of the soulful alto’s most cherished songs. The Christmas tribute includes numbers like “White Christmas,” “Suzy Snowflake,” What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?,” “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” and “Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas.” Also sharing the stage are Damian Espinosa on piano, Marc Piane on bass and Ben Schotz on drums 12/9 and Jeffrey Lien on drums 12/10. Davenport’s Piano Bar, 1383 N. Milwaukee, (773)278-1830. December 10, 8pm, $25 plus 2-drink minimum.
A Depeche Mode Christmas
If the conformity of caroling makes you nauseous, if you find the Nativity to be a pathetic farce of religious syncretism, if you’ve ever worn thick, black eye shadow, “A Depeche Mode Christmas” might be for you. This live tribute concert, featuring Grammy winner Frank Delamora’s band Echonine, commemorates the darkly alluring New Wave synth stars. Also featuring DJ sets by Heaven Malone and Ryan Paradise. Debonair Social Club, 1575 N. Milwaukee, (773)227-7990. December 23, 10pm, RSVP@heavenmalone.com.
A Family Christmas Concert
The Combined Church Choir of Itasca presents its annual Christmas show, “A Family Christmas Concert” featuring the Combined Handbell Choir, and the Sinfonietta Bel Canto.This is a traditional Christmas concert, with sing-a-longs, choir, orchestra, handbell choir and special children’s’ selections. Hanmee Presbyterian Church, 1149 W. Bloomingdale, Itasca, (630)250-0102. December 3, 7:30pm. $9 adults, $5 children , charitable donation since the concert is a fundraising event for area charities.
First Saint Paul’s Choir Christmas Concert
Dr. Steven Wente, chair of the Music Department at Concordia University Chicago, directs the choir of First Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church with special guest soloists and instrumentalists for its annual Christmas concert. This year’s program, “Sing and Rejoice,” will include music by Pinkham and Praetorius: the popular “Christmas Cantata” by 20th century American composer Daniel Pinkham as well as Michael Praetorius’ “Puer natus in Bethlehem. Other highlights include James Rogner’s “Oh, How Joyfully” and a new piano and organ work by Chicago composer Jonathan Kohrs. First Saint Paul’s children will participate in the Quempas Celebration that is sung from the four corners of the church. Led by a brass quintet and organ, favorite carols will complete the program. First Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church, 1301 N. LaSalle, (312)642-7172, December 11, 3:30pm, free.
FitzGerald’s 31st Anniversary Bash and Honky-Tonk Holiday Weekend
Join the Fitzgerald family in celebrating thirty-one years of music and fun with a unique holiday performance. This benefits the Greater Chicago Food Depository and the Oak Park/River Forest Food Pantry with the Marcia Ball Band with Bill Kirchen and Too Much Fun. FitzGerald’s Nightclub, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn, (708)788-2118. December 2 and 3, 9pm, $20.
The University of Chicago’s Department of Music presents its annual holiday performance of Handel’s “Messiah.” The University’s Motet Choir, University Chorus and Rockefeller Chapel Orchestra will join special guests in a chorus of over 150 voices to perform this joyous work, the most celebrated in Handel’s oeuvre. Come take part in the tradition, an annual concert which reaches back to 1930. Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn, (773)702-9075. December 2, 8pm.
Holidays A Cappella
Acclaimed a cappella nonet Chicago a cappella presents Holidays a cappella. From cheerful and funny to sacred and meditative, Chicago a cappella brings every shade of the holiday season singing Renaissance treasures, Chanukah songs, carols from around the world, contemporary works, and familiar holiday favorites. Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago, Evanston, December 3, 8pm; Pilgrim Congregational Church, 460 Lake, Oak Park, December 4, 4pm; Fourth Presbyterian Church, Michigan Avenue at Delaware Place, December 9, 8pm; Wentz Concert Hall, 171 E. Chicago, Naperville, December 11, 4pm, (773)281-7820. $35 preferred seating, $28 general, $22 seniors, $12 students.
Holliday for the Holidays
Celebrate the holidays with Broadway’s original “Dreamgirl,” Jennifer Holliday with Walt Whitman’s Soul Children of Chicago. Possessing an extraordinary Soul voice, the Tony and Grammy Award-winner will bring audiences to their feet with her dynamite gospel ballad and show-stopping rendition of the defiant anthem “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”—the hallmark of the musical Dreamgirls. Harris Theater, 205 East Randolph, (312)334-7777. December 7, 7:30pm. $35-$55.
Holly Follies: Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday concert
Join the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus in their unique entertainment experience found nowhere else in the city as they sing songs for the holiday season. Enjoy the “unplugged” sound of CGMC’s 150 voices singing many selections never performed by CGMC: Aretha Franklin’s “Kissing by the Mistletoe”; Straight No Chaser’s “Who Spiked the Eggnog?” plus an “African Noel,” “The Christmas Samba,” and two brand-new Hanukkah pieces. They’re bringing back their sing-alongs to get you into the holiday spirit. Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 North Southport, December 2 and 3; Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st, Oak Brook, December 4; Rockefeller Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn, December 10, 8pm; First Congregational Church of Evanston, 1445 Hinman, Evanston, December 11. Visit cgmc.org for tickets.
The Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra Harris Bank Holiday Concerts
The Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra continues its thirty-fourth anniversary season with its annual Harris Bank Holiday Concerts. The orchestra, guest choruses, and soloists lead a program of classical holiday tunes and sing-alongs. Lincoln-Way East Performing Arts Center, 201 Colorado, Frankfort, (708)481-7774. December 17 and 18, 3pm. $30-$40.
Jamie O’Reilly Christmas Show
Returning to the Evanston SPACE stage with musical partner Michael Smith, Jamie O’Reilly presents a musical adaptation of famed O. Henry short “The Gift of the Magi,” with original music by Smith and Rick Kogan narrating O. Henry’s story. Smith’s compositions include waltzes, a fox trot, a soft shoe, love duets, and lavish instrumentals With Bob Weber, Peter Swenson, and Al Ehrich and Patrick Cannon, Nia O’Reilly Amandes as “Jim” and “Della.” SPACE, 1245 Chicago, Evanston, (847)492-8860. December 18, 2pm, $15-$25.
Sean Altman of Rockapella presents Jewmongous, a collection of unkosher songs riffing on the dilemmas of modern Jewish life. The show will feature compositions such as fractured Passover tale “They Tried to Kill Us (We Survived, Let’s Eat),” the scientifically accurate “Taller Than Jesus,” “Reuben the Hook-Nosed Reindeer,” and swing number “Blow, Murray Blow,” about a virtuoso shofar (ram’s horn) player so good he purges listeners of their sins. The Skokie Theater, 7924 Lincoln, Skokie, (773)362-4760. December 25, 8pm and 9:30pm, $18 advance, $25 door.
Get in the holiday spirit with the student musicians of Loyola University as they perform secular seasonal hits and jazz variations. Loyola University, Mundelein Center Auditorium, 1020 W. Sheridan (773)508-3847. December 8, 7:30pm. Suggested donation, $5. All donations go to “Harmony, Hope, and Healing,” a creative and therapeutic music program offering dignity and spiritual healing to homeless and underserved women, children, and men in the Chicago area.
The Lakeside Singers I Heard the Bells Holiday Concert
The Lakeside Singers, a choral and orchestral group of mixed classical and popular backgrounds, presents their annual holiday concert in two halves. The first half of the show will feature unusual holiday music spanning 500 years and eight different countries, while the second half features music from many genres of American popular music, including pieces first made famous by such artists as Faith Hill, Wham, Christine Chenoweth and Michael McDonald. Music Institute of Chicago, Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago, Evanston, (847)382-5085, December 2, 8pm. Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut, December 16, 8pm. $30 adults, $20 seniors & students, $10 children (under 12).
Join the oldest performing arts organization in the Fox Valley, The Elgin Choral Union, along with the Elgin Symphony Orchestra for their holiday concert, “Messiah.” An annual rite of the holiday season with its legendary “Hallelujah” chorus, Handel’s awe-inspiring “Messiah” is perhaps the most performed and beloved of all choral works. Elgin Community College, Blizzard Theatre, 1700 Spartan, Elgin (847)622-0300. December 17, 7:30pm, December 18, 3:30pm. $23 adults, $18 seniors, $15 students.
An Olde English Christmas
The Chicago Chamber Choir presents the third in its series of “Christmas Around the World” concerts with “An Olde English Christmas,” Spanning 400 years of English music, the program will feature many familiar carols in traditional and contemporary settings. The centerpiece of the program is the SATB version of Benjamin Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols” for chorus and harp, which includes the ancient carols “Wolcum Yole,” “There is No Rose,” and “Balulalow.” It also includes “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen,” “Coventry Carol,” “I Saw Three Ships,” and “What Child Is This?” St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 1509 Ridge, Evanston. December 17, 4pm. Unity Lutheran Church, 1212 W. Balmoral. December 18, 3pm. $18 advance, $20 door, $15 students.
One Incredible Hanukkah Jam
Hear the Grammy-award-winning Howard Levy amaze on harmonica and piano as his friend and fellow Chicagoan, world-renowned tenor Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi, applies his majestic voice to favorite music from the Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jewish traditions. Spertus, 610 South Michigan, (312)322-1773. December 18, 2pm. $15-$30.
Bach Christmas Oratorio, Cantatas I-III and the world première of Journey of Journeys by Robert Kyr, with mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley, and the Rockefeller Chapel Choir and instrumentalists, conducted by James Kallembach. Rockefeller Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn, (773)702-2100. December 4, 7:30pm. $25-$35.
The Tallis Scholars
The celebrated Tallis Scholars sing at Rockefeller Chapel as the Chicago stop on their North American tour. Their program features diverse settings of the Magnificat, the Song of Mary, and beloved seasonal music. Rockefeller Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn, (773)702-8068. December 9, 7:30pm. $20, $5 student.
Wicker Park Choral Singers Winter Concert
The grassroots founded Wicker Park Choral Singers turn their attention to the theme of feasting. To go along with they are participating in a food drive for the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Instead of a ticket for admission, bring a canned food or non-perishable food item. It’s not required that you do, but encouraged. The items must be unopened. Please, no food in glass containers, perishable, or homemade items. Wicker Park Lutheran Church, 1502 N. Hoyne, Dec 10, 3pm. Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, 126 E. Chestnut, Dec 16, noon, free.
Winter Pageant 2011
Celebrate the change of seasons with Redmoon Theater’s “Winter Pageant 2011.” The Teeny Lounge presents the Family Event of the Century starring Ricky, an ageless crooner with an irresistible appeal to the young and young at heart. In this immersive audience experience, parents will look on as kids sit in their own tiny lounge, complete with miniature tables, costumes, and a two drink minimum … milk of course. Redmoon Central, 1463 W. Hubbard, (312)850-8440 x 111. November 26 hrough January 8, Saturdays, 10:30am. 1pm, 3:30pm, Sundays 12:30pm, 2:30pm and 4:30pm, No shows December 24, 25 and January 1. $20 advance, $10 children (under 10), free for children under 3.