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Holiday Jams
Shows from now until New Year’s

11/27/14
By Michael Witthaus music@hippopress.com



 Along with traditional choir sings, Christmas Carol and Nutcracker productions, there are several holiday shows that lean toward music and comedy between now and New Year’s Eve. 

 
• Stories and music abound at Leftover Turkey on Friday, Nov. 28, at 8 p.m. at Rochester Opera House (31 Wakefield St., Rochester, 335-1992). Tim Sample, David Mallet and Noel Paul Stookey — all three legendary in their own right — come together for a warm, entertaining evening with a mix of music, humor, friendly storytelling and banter. Tickets are $28.
• Help a good cause at the Casual 6 Annual Santa Fund Benefit Concert on Friday, Nov. 28, 7:30 p.m. at Crowne Plaza Hotel (2 Somerset Parkway, Nashua, 508-1044). It’s a new venue for the venerable fundraiser supporting a charity that helps local families in need. Help them beat the record this year, and enjoy cover songs from popular combo Casual 6. Tickets are $15 and sell out fast for this 21-and-up event.
• It’s a prog-rock holiday with Trans-Siberian Orchestra on Saturday, Nov. 29, at 3:30 and 8 p.m. at Verizon Wireless Arena (555 Elm St., Manchester, 644-5500). This year, the band performs The Christmas Attic, a "majestic, sweeping" rock opera telling the story of a young girl's curiosity leading her to a Christmas Eve of mischief, magic and an unlikely adventure. Tickets are $31.50-$68.50 at ticketmaster.com.
• For fans of Imus in the Morning, Rob Bartlett's Holiday Extravaganza on Saturday, Nov. 29, at 8 p.m. at The Music Hall (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, 436-2400) will entertain. Bartlett brings his renowned Christmas Show to the Seacoast for the first time; it’s a unique and hilarious take on the holidays including all his famous characters. It’s his only area performance. Tickets are $40-$50.
• Get symphonic at Holiday Pops on Saturday, Nov. 29, at 7:30 p.m. at Stockbridge Theatre (5 Pinkerton St., Derry, 437-5210). Performing is the New Hampshire Philharmonic Orchestra with the choristers of Pinkerton Academy, who set a mood for the holidays with a program of holiday favorites and delightful new finds. Music Director Mark Latham conducts. Tickets are $12-$50.
• Enjoy Irish music at Celtic Tenors Christmas on Sunday, Nov. 30, at 7:30 p.m. at Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord, 225-1111). Billed as the only tenor group with a truly global audience, the three singers have appeared in neighborhood cathedrals and major concert halls in international cities, offering a professional, sparkling and good-humoured performance. Tickets are $28-$38 at ccanh.com.
• Stick with tradition at Family Holiday Pops on Tuesday, Dec. 2, or Wednesday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 p.m. at The Music Hall (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, 436-2400). The Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra with Benjamin Vickers presents a show packed with holiday favorites, sing-alongs and special guests the York Chamber Singers; it’s the perfect way to get in the holiday mood. Tickets are $12-$25.
• The Heather Pierson Quartet performs A Charlie Brown Christmas throughout the region, presenting the jazzy score for the show originally telecast in 1965. Multiple dates include Thursday, Dec. 4, at 8 p.m. at Pitman's Freight Room (94 New Salem St., Laconia, 527-0043, tickets $15, BYOB with free eggnog); Friday, Dec. 5, at 8 p.m. at Little White Church (Route 153, Bristol, 447-1881, ticket prices TBD); Sunday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. at Medallion Opera House (20 Park St., Gorham, 466-3322, $15, children under 12 free); Friday, Dec. 19, at 8 p.m. at Purple Pit (28 Central Square, Bristol, 744-7800, $15); Sunday, Dec. 21, at time TBD at The Press Room (77 Daniel St., Portsmouth, 431-5186, ticket prices TBD).
• Take stock with Twelve Months of Music on Thursday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m. at Stockbridge Theatre (5 Pinkerton St., Derry, 437-5210). From the cold January days to the warm July evenings and the beautiful fall colors to the December holidays, the ambience of the hall sparkles with a musical soundscape of colors. Noted composer Jerry Ascione performs a world premiere musical work and NHPR personality Laura Knoy reads ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Tickets are $15-$25.
• Experience Celtic moods with Danu - A Christmas Gathering on Friday, Dec. 5, at 8 p.m. at the Dana Center (100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester, 641-7700). Begin your holiday celebrations with the glorious, heart-lifting music of Ireland's acclaimed ensemble. Since 1995, Danu has performed on a thousand stages in Europe, India, and the U.S., garnering ardent fans and a fistful of awards. Tickets are $33.75.
• Guitar artistry and charity feature at the Ed Gerhard Holiday Concert & Food Drive on Saturday, Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m. at Belknap Mill (25 Beacon Street East, Laconia 664-7200). One of the country's finest acoustic guitarists, Gerhard will perform soulful arrangements of well-loved carols, as well as his own concert favorites. Fans of both guitar music and Christmas will enjoy this memorable show. Tickets are $22.
• Local lights shine at Holiday Pops on Saturday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. at Manchester Community Music School (2291 Elm St., Manchester, 644-4548). Celebrate the holidays with the sounds of the New Hampshire Youth Jazz Ensemble and the New Hampshire Youth Wind Ensemble. Enjoy complimentary desserts and hot beverages. Cash bar. Tickets are $35.
• Stories, laughter, poetry and song carry The Ragpicker's Dream on Saturday, Dec. 6, at The Music Hall (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, 436-2400). Kent Stephens’ Stage Force’s holiday celebration features new material and old favorites from a wide array of classic and contemporary sources, all performed with intimate feeling in this readers’ theater. Another performance happens Dec. 7. Tickets are $18.
• Old-time duo Hungrytown perform on Sunday, Dec. 7, at 2:30 p.m. at Bedford Public Library (3 Meetinghouse Road, Bedford, 472-2300). The holiday tunes and Wassail gathering is a free show, as the award-winning songwriting duo of Rebecca Hall and Ken Anderson perform a selection of original and traditional winter and holiday-themed material followed by food, drinks and conversation.
• Get classical for a Holiday Concert on Sunday, Dec. 7, at 4 p.m. at Little White Church (2371 Eaton Road, Eaton, 447-1881). Pianist Dana Cunningham and cellist Max Dyer perform some of the season's most evocative music, along with special guests. This concert weaves “music and words into a authentic experience of peace and joy.” Tickets are $30.
• Continue the Irish at Tomáseen Foley’s “A Celtic Christmas” on Sunday, Dec. 7, at 3 p.m. at Lowell Memorial Auditorium (50 E. Merrimack St., Lowell, Mass., 937-2299). The show is set the night before Christmas in a remote farmhouse in a west Ireland parish, as neighboring families gather to sing traditional Irish Christmas carols, share traditional dances and fill the night with stories and laughter. Tickets are $35 and up.
• Enjoy a glee club experience at the Pops Choir Concert on Sunday, Dec. 7, at 3 p.m. at Colonial Theatre (95 Main St., Keene, 357-1233). Join the Greater Keene Pops Choir for a concert that will enhance the holiday season through song, featuring the Keene State College Brass. Tickets are $12.
• A country star shares holiday cheer at LeAnn Rimes: One Christmas on Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m. at Rochester Opera House (31 Wakefield St., Rochester, 335-1992). "I made a Christmas record a long time ago, and this time, I decided I wanted to spread it out over three years so I didn’t have to stop making Christmas music,” explains Rimes. Tickets are $45-$75.
• Take in some orchestral holiday sounds with Piscataqua River Brass on Thursday, Dec. 11, at 7 p.m. at Discover Portsmouth Center (10 Middle St., Portsmouth, 436-8433). The orchestra has been bringing a unique musical voice to the Seacoast for more than five years with its combination of trumpets, French horns, trombones, euphonium, tuba and percussion. This time it performs a variety of Christmas classics. Tickets are $12.
• Celebrate the Holydays with Sweet Honey in the Rock on Friday, Dec. 12, at 8 p.m. at Colonial Theatre (95 Main St., Keene, 357-1233). Challenge and change are the themes underlying the revered female African-American a cappella ensemble. Their music is a compelling and potent blend of blues, African, jazz, gospel and R&B, woven with themes of political and social justice. Tickets are $35-$49.
• Christmas is played for laughs in Frost Heaves Holiday Hilarity on Friday, Dec. 12, and Saturday, Dec. 13, at 2 and 7:30 p.m. at Peterborough Players Theatre (55 Hadley Road, Peterborough, 525-3391). Joined by Fred Marple as well as the Speed Bumps band, the comedy troupe answers Christmas questions like why the whole string goes out when one bulb blows and why the wise men were a little late getting to Bethlehem. Tickets $18. 
• Oompa into the holidays with Tuba Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 13, at 2 p.m. at All Saint's Episcopal Church (258 S. Main St., Wolfeboro, 747-1703). The free regional event features holiday music and traditional carols performed by a low brass ensemble, with tuba, baritone and euphonium players from various community, university and high school bands plus active and retired professionals.
• Say “buon natale” at an Italian Christmas on Saturday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. at St. Katharine Drexel Church (Hidden Springs Road, Alton, 875-2548). The Clearlakes Chorale and Director Andy Campbell present Corelli's "Christmas Oratorio," Vivaldi's "Gloria" and selected Italian carols. The program features professional soloists and a full orchestra. 
• There are two chances to enjoy the Boston Pops Holiday Concert as Conductor Keith Lockhart and the Pops capture the magic of the Christmas season and the winter charms of New England, with their signature “Sleigh Ride,” other holiday classics and new arrangements of seasonal favorites: on Saturday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. at Verizon Wireless Arena (555 Elm St., Manchester, 644-5500, tickets $41-$76), and on Sunday, Dec. 14, at 2 p.m. at Lowell Memorial Auditorium (50 E. Merrimack St., Lowell, Mass., 978-937-2299, tickets $50+).
• It’s an Idol experience at Holiday Pops with Alex Preston on Saturday, Dec. 13, at 8 p.m. at Keefe Center for the Arts (117 Elm St., Nashua, 595-9156). 2014 American Idol finalist Alex Preston, backed by the Symphony New Hampshire Orchestra & Chorus, will ring in the holidays with a program of popular seasonal favorites. Tickets are $12-$48 at symphonynh.org. 
• An all-star band and a big lineup of comedians entertain at the Buzz Ball with Velvet Elves on Tuesday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m. at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St, Manchester, 668-5588). The annual benefit features the Greg and the Morning Buzz crew with support from area celebrities and musical guests. Expect surprises; it’s always fun. Tickets $30-$40 at palacetheatre.org. 
• Enjoy the traditional Christmas Revels on Thursday, Dec. 18, at 7 p.m., Friday, Dec. 19, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 20, at 2 & 7 p.m. at Spaulding Auditorium (4 E. Wheelock St., Hanover, 646-2422). Celebrate the holiday season as local performers romp through a festive mashup of music and traditions that spans seven centuries as the Hop is transformed into Haddon Hall, an historic English manor house with a wealth of interest and intrigue. Tickets are $11-$38.
• Go for a stringed evening with the Ed Gerhard Christmas Show on Friday, Dec. 19, at 7:30 p.m. at UU Church (292 State St., Portsmouth, 664-7200). It’s a very special evening with one of the country's finest acoustic guitarists, as Gerhard performs soulful arrangements of well-loved carols and his own concert favorites. Tickets are $26.
• Throw back to the 1940s with Sweet, Hot & Sassy on Friday, Dec. 19, at 8 p.m. at Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord, 225-1111). A seasonal favorite, the band returns to perform its delightful holiday repertoire filled with close harmonies, warmth and Swing. Joining are guitarist Jim Prendergast and esteemed percussionist Carol Chaplin. Tickets are $15 at ccanh.com.
• A Granite State rock showcase, Christmas with Rocking Horse Studio happens Saturday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m. at Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord, 225-1111). New Hampshire’s premier recording studio showcases holiday songs with Dusty Gray, Pat & the Hats, The Connection, Rachel Vogelzang, Chris Peters, Meg Josalen, Tristan Omand and many others. Tickets are $15 at ccanh.com.
• Ring in the season with Holiday Pops on Sunday, Dec. 21, at 4 p.m. at Concord City Auditorium (2 Prince St., Concord, 344-4747). Music Director Clayton "Skip" Poole leads the Capital Jazz Orchestra Small Group as they entertain, sing, evoke laughs and celebrate the Yuletide in a newly refashioned holiday variety show featuring seasonal musical chestnuts. Tickets are $25 and $35 at ccanh.com.
• The human voice is a power instrument with Rockapella on Sunday, Dec. 21, at 7 p.m. at Stockbridge Theatre (44 N. Main St., Derry, 437-5210). The five-man vocal powerhouse dips into its Christmas gift bag for tunes like "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" and the original "Hold Out For Christmas." The show’s become a holiday tradition at the Derry venue. Tickets $10-$30 at stockbridgetheatre.com. 
• A benefit for Lubavitch of New Hampshire, Chanukah at the Palace happens Sunday, Dec. 21, at 6:30 p.m. at Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester, 668-5588). Todd Oliver brings his Funnydog Talking Dogs. The ventriloquist takes a canine’s view of the world and infuses it with rock ’n’ roll. Learn about life straight from the dog’s mouth. Tickets are $15-$50 (VIP). at palacetheatre.org.
• New Age meets Feliz Navidad at Jim Brickman Magic of Christmas on Monday, Dec. 22, at 7:30 p.m. at Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester, 668-5588). Brickman will perform holiday favorites along with the hits that have made him a top-selling pianist. The show is named for Brickman’s latest album, the sixth holiday-themed disc he’s released. Tickets are $34.50-$64.50 (VIP) at palacetheatre.org. 
• Finally, beat the post-Christmas blues at Juston McKinney's Last Laugh 2014 on Saturday, Dec. 27, at 8 p.m. at the Music Hall (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, 436-2400). End 2014 with laughter as the reigning king of New England comedy riffs on life, marriage and other targets while looking back at the year that was. Tickets are $24.25 at themusichall.org. 
 
As seen in the November 27, 2014 issue of the Hippo.





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