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Holiday Music Lead's This Week's Arts Picks

Artscape For Christmas

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OFF THE WALL

Bob Peck at AJ Rocco's Saturday, December 27

Imagine if you could break off a piece of the Red Line wall and hang it in your living room. That's not a bad way to think of what Bob Peck is doing in his abstract works on canvas. It's as if you took a picture frame, held it up to the vividly colored, graffiti-covered walls and then excerpted whatever fell within its borders to hang above your couch. Over these color fields, Peck scrawls dark lines that give his paintings a focus and an energy very much like quickly written tags. The artist who jumped from the world of graffiti to that of the exhibit opens a new show this week at A.J. Rocco's, a Gateway neighborhood coffee shop at 816 Huron Rd. Onward Upward: A Collection of Works by Bob Peck From the Last 730 or So Days opens with a reception from 7-10 p.m. Saturday. Call 216.544.2875.

NEW YEAR'S EVE ON PLAYHOUSESQUARE

PlayhouseSquare is kickin' it old-school for New Year's Eve with a trio of R&B vocal groups from the '60s and '70s. The odds of seeing chartreuse suits with matching hats will be quite high as Marshall Thompson and his Chicago-based Chi-Lites, famous for the 1972 hit "Oh Girl," take the stage. They'll be followed by the Dramatics ("Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get") and the Manhattans ("Kiss and Say Goodbye"). There have been personnel changes in all these groups, but the songs remain the same. It's at 7 p.m. at the Allen Theatre. Tickets: $70-75. Call 216. 241.6000 or go to playhousesquare.org.

CLEVELAND POPS

It is only right that three guys should come along calling themselves the 3 Redneck Tenors and start performing with pops orchestras. After those first three fat guys filled stadiums around the world for years singing "O Sole Mio," and after three Irish guys did something similar with "Danny Boy," it was perhaps inevitable that three guys - named Billy Joe, Billy Billee and Billy Bob - would join forces and voices. What direction they'd take, though, wasn't quite so predictable - like their vocal arrangement of Beethoven's Fifth, and their more or less successful laying over of Schubert's "Ave Maria" and other operatic staples with songs of Dixie. Leave it to the Cleveland Pops to take advantage of this. Conductor Carl Topilow and his band will be joined by the aforementioned posse for a New Year's Eve concert at Severance Hall (11001 Euclid Ave.). The concert is at 9 p.m., followed by dancing to two orchestras, starting at 11 p.m. Tickets: $42-99. Call 216.231.1111 or go to clevelandpops.com.

CORNELL UNIVERSITY GLEE CLUB

According to Michael Slon's book Songs From the Hill: A History of the Cornell University Glee Club, the singing group from Ithaca, New York dates its roots to just a few months after the university's founding in the fall of 1868. They've performed Bernstein on Malaysian TV and Shostakovich at the Moscow Conservatory. Their local alumni group brings the choir to town tonight at 7:30 for a concert at Trinity Cathedral (2230 Euclid Ave.). Suggested donation: $10-$20. Refreshments are provided. For reservations, go to ccneo.com.

Karel Paukert

It was fairly early in Olivier Messiaen's career that he wrote his cycle for organ, "La Nativité du Seigneur" ("The Nativity of Our Lord"). It was 1935 and he was just 27 years old. Just a few years earlier, he had taken the post of organist at Trinity Church in Paris, which he held until his death in 1992. Former curator of musical arts Karel Paukert brings the Cleveland Museum of Art's celebration of the centenniary of the birth of Messiaen to a close with a 2 p.m. performance of his first major cycle of music written for organ, his primary instrument. It's free but likely to sell out, and tickets are required. St. Paul's Episcopal Church (2747 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Heights).Call 216.421.7350 or go to clemusart. com.

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