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Eileen Ivers. Courtesy of greenbergartists.com.




Cool Yule tunes
Rock the holiday, or jazz it up

11/24/16
By Michael Witthaus music@hippopress.com



 There’s more to holiday entertainment than bell-ringers, choirs and A Christmas Carol productions. Here are a few options with a more contemporary flavor happening between now and New Year’s Eve. 

 
Casual 6 Annual Santa Fund Benefit Concert is Friday, Nov. 25, at 8 p.m. at Crowne Plaza (2 Somerset Parkway, Nashua, 883-8781). Bring your dancing shoes to this ninth annual event. There will be 50/50 and raffle items. Tickets are $15; receive a meal discount at Speaker's Corner with tickets. All proceeds go directly to the Santa Fund.
Pinkerton Chorale Holiday Pops concert is Saturday, Nov. 26, at 7:30 p.m. at Stockbridge Theatre (44 N. Main St., Derry, 437-5210). Get into the holiday spirit by joining conductor Mark Latham and the orchestra in a sing-along of all-time favorites. Tickets are $12-$50. 
Trans-Siberian Orchestra performs on Saturday, Nov. 26, at 3:30 and 8 p.m. at SNHU Arena (555 Elm St., Manchester, 644-5000). The orchestral progressive rock ensemble reprises last year’s “The Ghosts of Christmas Eve,” a story conceived for TV and expressed live on stage, integrating segments of the TV show, including film of the late Ossie Davis, with state-of-the-art sound and light. This year’s show has new artists, new special effects and lots of surprises in store. Ticket prices range from $45 to $75.
Strafford Wind Symphony performs its second annual holiday concert on Sunday, Nov. 27, at 7 p.m. at Strand Theatre (20 Third St., Dover) following the Dover Christmas parade. Tickets are $22 at thestrandballroom.com until Nov. 27, $28 at the door.
Funky Divas of Gospel Holiday Concert features special guest Perfectly Mended on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m. at The Castle on Charles (19 Charles St., Rochester). Tickets are $7 at www.castlenh.com.
Manchester Community Music School presents its annual holiday pops concert on Friday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. at the school (2291 Elm St., Manchester, 644-4548) with performances by the New Hampshire Youth Jazz and Wind Ensembles, the Dino Anagnost Youth Symphony and Concert Orchestras, the Robbins Farley Honors Brass Ensemble, and the flute choir. There will be a holiday photo booth with props, and raffle prizes perfect for holiday gift giving. Santa might stop by if everyone has been really good. Tickets are $40, or $350 for a table of 10.
Festival of Trees happens Friday, Dec. 2, through Sunday, Dec. 4, at Franklin Opera House (934-1901). Admission is free to view the decorated trees and enjoy live music from the Franklin Footlight Carolers on Friday, Dec. 2, at 6:30 p.m., the Trip Center Line Dancers on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 1 p.m., The Keystrings on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 3 p.m. and multi-genre singer-songwriter Amanda McCarthy on Sunday, Dec. 4, at noon. The Scott Spradling Band performs Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 p.m.; tickets are $10. See franklinoperahouse.org.
Christmas at Canterbury happens Saturday, Dec. 3, and Saturday, Dec. 10, at 3 and 8 p.m. at Canterbury Shaker Village (288 Shaker Road, Canterbury, 783-9511). Take a candlelight stroll through the Village, ride in a horse-drawn sleigh or wagon, and enjoy hot cider and music performances, craft demonstrations, seasonal craft activities, cookie-decorating, the annual Village tree lighting and more. Tickets are $18 ($8 for children ages 6-17). 
• Renowned acoustic guitarist Ed Gerhard performs a mix of non-holiday tunes and Christmas favorites on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. at Historic Belknap Mill (25 Beacon St., Laconia, 664-7200). Tickets are $24. As always, contribute to the annual food drive for the Laconia Area Food Pantry at the concert.  
Gary Hoey’s Ho-Ho-Hoey Rockin' Holiday Show is on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m. at Blue Ocean Music Hall (4 Oceanfront North, Salisbury, Mass., 978-462-5888). Gary's annual holiday tour has become a tradition with radio stations and families coast-to-coast. His live show encompasses everything from his holiday music to older hits like “Hocus Pocus” and new songs from his latest album, Dust & Bones. Tickets are $30-$40. 
Strafford Wind Symphony performs a holiday pops concert on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. at Rochester Opera House (31 Wakefield St., Rochester, 335-1992). The concert features favorite tunes, old and new, a special narrated piece and the famous gift basket raffle. It’s great holiday entertainment for the whole family. Tickets are $12 (children $7).
The Mavericks: Sleigh Bells Ring Out! show is Saturday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m. at the Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord, 225-1111). The country-steeped garage band with a Cuban-American lead singer emerged from Miami in 1989 with a sultry debut that was equal parts innocence, intensity and vintage influences, and reunited in 2012 after an eight-year hiatus. Tickets are $38 and $48. 
• Well-known pianist and composer William Ogmundson will provide original and entertaining takes on many holiday favorites on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 3 p.m. at Madbury Union Congregational Church (18 Town Hall Road, Madbury). He has performed all over the world and written numerous musicals.
Wizards of Winter perform a holiday rock opera titled “Tales Beneath a Northern Star” on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 6:30 p.m. at Flying Monkey (39 Main St., Plymouth, 536-2551). Featuring former members of The Trans-Siberian Orchestra and some of the mid-Atlantic’s finest rock and progressive musicians, the Wizards of Winter base this show on the music of their self-titled CD and their new album The Magic of Winter. Tickets are $29 and up.
Greater Keene Pops Choir will sing music from around the world celebrating the holiday season on Sunday, Dec. 4, at 3 p.m. at Colonial Theatre (95 Main St., Keene, 352-2033), under the direction of Diane Cushing and accompanied by Walt Sayre. The choir is a unique performing ensemble that sings popular American music in all its many styles. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 day of show. 
Eric Mintel Quartet presents music from A Charlie Brown Christmas on Monday, Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m. at Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester, 668-5588). From the White House to the Kennedy Center and beyond, the Eric Mintel Quartet has been thrilling audiences with electrifying jazz performances. Tickets are $25.
Mannheim Steamroller performs on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m. at the Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord, 225-1111). Grammy Award winner Chip Davis has created a show that features beloved Christmas music given the Steamroller stamp with dazzling multimedia effects, performed in an intimate setting. Ticket prices range from $49 to $88. 
• Pemigewasset Choral Society sings on Thursday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. at Gilford Community Church (19 Potter Hill Road, Gilford, 524-6057). It’s “A Time For Celebration” with the nearly 100-voice Pemi and a brass and percussion ensemble of professional musicians with a children’s chorus. The show will include favorites like “The Little Drummer Boy” and “Silver Bells” and classic Glorias by Vivaldi. The Society also performs Friday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church (108 School St., Franklin, 934-5013). 
• International superstar Eileen Ivers & Her Amazing Celtic Band offer An Nollaig, An Irish Christmas, on Friday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m. at the Dana Center (100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester, 641-7700). Experience the violin as you’ve never heard it before in this repertoire of Irish, contemporary and Christmas favorites. Tickets are $33.75.
Slambovian Circus of Dreams will perform traditional Christmas songs with a twist on Friday, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. at Tupelo Music Hall (2 Young Road, Londonderry). With a sprinkling of original holiday tunes and a generous helping of non-traditional musical fare, “A Very Slambovian Christmas” has something for everyone. Tickets are $30.
• Break out your platform shoes, put on your best holiday polyester (prizes for best costume), and prepare to have a funky good time with friends and family at the Community Toolbox 1st Annual Holiday Disco Ball on Friday, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. at 3S Artspace (319 Vaughan St., Portsmouth, 766-3300). Motor Booty Affair, the ultimate disco tribute band, performs. Tickets are $25.
• Under the baton of Jonathan McPhee and featuring New World Chorale under the direction of Holly Krafka, Symphony NH performs an all-ages holiday pops concert on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. at Keefe Center for the Arts (117 Elm St., Nashua, 595-9156) Sing along to your favorite carols and tunes, and enjoy the spirit of the holidays. Ticket prices range from $15 to $45, free for those under 15 with an adult. 
• It’s the 13th season for the Bluegrass Christmas Concert on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m. at Pilgrim United Church (197 Route 111A, Brentwood, 778-3189). This one-of-a-kind show features traditional, contemporary and original Christmas music performed with acoustic instruments and vocals. To keep the shows fresh, each performing act introduces new material each season. Tickets are $10-$15.
• The Boston Pops Holiday Concert is on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2:30 p.m. at SNHU Arena (555 Elm St., Manchester 644-5000). Capturing the magic of the Christmas season and the winter charms of New England, the Boston Pops will perform their signature “Sleigh Ride” as well as other holiday classics and new arrangements of seasonal favorites. Santa Claus himself will make a guest appearance during the concert’s finale. Ticket prices range from $22 to $125. Also Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2:30 p.m. at Lowell Memorial Auditorium (50 Merrimack St., Lowell, Mass., 937-8688).
• Relish, Moon Colony and Some Kind of Sugar perform at the Seacoast Santa Jingle Bell Jam on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. at Red Hook Brewery (One Red Hook Way, Portsmouth, 343-4390) as part of a benefit for Seacoast Santa. Tickets cost $10. There is a contest for the ugliest Christmas sweater; light appetizers and cash bar will be provided. 
The Heather Pierson Quartet (Heather Pierson, piano and vocals; Joe Aliperti, alto and tenor saxes; Shawn Nadeau, bass; Craig Bryan, drums) performs music from A Charlie Brown Christmas, composed by Vince Guaraldi, plus other holiday favorites and classics on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 8 p.m. at Pitman's Freight Room (94 New Salem St., Laconia, 527-0043). Tickets are $15. 
• The Pemigewasset Choral Society will sing favorites like “The Little Drummer Boy,” “Silver Bells” and Vivaldi’s “Gloria” on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 3 p.m. at Silver Center for the Arts (17 High St., Plymouth, 535-2787). Tickets are $5-$12. 
• Jonathan McPhee conducts Symphony NH at an all-ages holiday pops show featuring New World Chorale under the direction of Holly Krafka on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. at Concord City Auditorium (2 Prince St., Concord, 595-9156). Tickets are $10-$49, under 15 free with adult. 
• Well-known pianist and composer William Ogmundson will provide original and entertaining takes on many holiday favorites on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2 p.m. at Congregational Church (43 Maple St., Henniker, 428-3747). He has performed all over the world and written numerous musicals.
• Harvey Reid & Joyce Anderson present their 22nd annual holiday concert on Thursday, Dec. 15, at 8 p.m. at Flying Goose Pub & Restaurant (40 Andover Road, New London, 526-6899). Reid’s guitars, autoharp and mandolins and Andersen’s violin and viola combine for an evening of warm and brilliant holiday music. Tickets are $10-$15. 
• The sixth annual Buzz Ball is an benefit concert featuring the Morning Buzz crew and Velvet Elves, an all-star band supporting area celebrities and musical guests, on Thursday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. at the Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord 225-1111). Tickets cost $30-$40.
• Enjoy Christmas Revels: A French-Canadian Celebration of the Winter Solstice on Thursday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.m. at Hopkins Center (2 E. Wheelock St., Hanover, 646-2422). In the story of The Flying Canoe (la chasse-galerie), a group of lonely voyageurs in the northern timberland of Quebec go to extraordinary (one might say devilish) lengths to meet up with their faraway sweethearts on New Year’s Eve. This classic French-Canadian tale gets the full Revels treatment. Ticket prices range from $8 to $44. Shows every day through Dec. 18.
• Hear about homecomings, holiday heroes and miracles in Kent Stephens' annual holiday play reading (no sets or costumes) of The Ragpicker’s Dream on Thursday, Dec. 15, at 1:30 p.m. at The Music Hall Loft (131 Congress St., Portsmouth, 436-2400). Tickets are $15. Also Tuesday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m. 
Ed Gerhard, one of the country’s finest acoustic guitarists, will perform soulful arrangements of well-loved carols as well as his own concert favorites on Friday, Dec. 16, and Saturday, Dec. 17, at 7:30 p.m. at Universalist Unitarian Church (292 State St., Portsmouth, 664-7200). Tickets are $30. The accompanying annual food drive will benefit the Seacoast Family Food Pantry.
• Five-man vocal group Rockapella sings on Friday, Dec. 16, at 7 p.m. at the Stockbridge Theatre (44 N. Main St., Derry, 437-5210). Ticket prices range from $10 to $32.
Christmas with Rocking Horse Studio is Friday, Dec. 16, and Saturday, Dec. 17, at 7 p.m. at the Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord, 225-1111). The popular event extends to two nights as the state’s premier music production and recording facility presents an evening of traditional and contemporary Christmas music done by some of New Hampshire’s finest singers and musicians. Performers this year include Dusty Gray, Anna Madsen, Justin Cohn, Stephanie Tonneson, Jack Polidoro, Steve Blunt and many others. Tickets cost $20.
Uncle Steve Band will perform holiday rock, soul and blues on Saturday, Dec. 17, at 7:30 p.m. at Back Room at the Mill (2 Central St., Bristol, 744-0405). This annual Christmas party benefit raises money for Bristol Community Services. Tickets cost $15.
• Enjoy the Ronan Tynan Christmas Concert on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester, 668-5588) as Ronan returns with a mixture of Christmas favorites, Irish songs and selections from the great American songbook. Tickets are $60.50.
• Big Band music drives the Holiday Pops with the Capital Jazz Orchestra on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 4 p.m. at the Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord, 225-1111), with special guests Ms. Patty Barkas, Ms. Laura Daigle and Mr. CJ Poole performing such chestnuts as “The Christmas Song,” “Let It Snow,” “Jingle Bells” and “Sleigh Ride.” Also, NHPR’s Laura Knoy gives her rendition of “The Night Before Christmas.” Ticket prices range from $20 to $45.
Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra brings special musical guests Taylor O’Donnell and Chris Klaxton to celebrate the season in a holiday pops concert on Tuesday, Dec. 20, and Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 7:30 p.m. at The Music Hall (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, 436-2400). Tickets are $12-$25. Tickets for these performances sell out, so get yours early. 
• The Alumni Band of the New Hampshire National Guard performs a Christmas concert on Wednesday, Dec. 21, at 7:30 p.m. at American Legion Post No. 79 (35 W. Brook St., Manchester, nhalumniband.org). This benefit show for Liberty House includes a selection of traditional songs like “Feliz Navidad,” “Sleigh Ride” and “Fantasy on a Bell Carol,” patriotic tunes and a Christmas sing-along to celebrate the season.
• Harvey Reid & Joyce Anderson perform their 19th annual holiday show on Friday, Dec. 23, at 7:30 p.m. at First Parish Church (218 Central Ave., Durham, 207-363-1886). The Seacoast acoustic music couple intertwine their voices, complemented by Reid's guitars, autoharp and mandolins and Andersen's violin and viola, for an evening of warm and brilliant holiday music. Tickets are $10-$15.
• Celebrate Chanukah at the Palace on Monday, Dec. 26, at 5:30 p.m. at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester, 668-5588). A cappella group Maccabeats perform; a capella holds a cherished place in the Jewish tradition, having been extensively employed in both the synagogue and the home over the millennia due to an ancient prohibition against playing instruments on Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath. Also appearing is Jay Mattiolo, magician and America’s Got Talent quarterfinalist. Tickets are $8.
• End the year with laughter at Juston McKinney's Last Laugh 2016 on Thursday, Dec. 29, at 8 p.m. at The Music Hall (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, 436-2400). The Seacoast’s own favorite comic performs one night only; the show has become a tradition and almost always sells out, as Juston as dishes on New England life and looks back at the year that was. Tickets are $24. 





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