A Festive Batch of Christmas-Related Classical Music Events to Catch This Week


  • Original 1951 NBC production of Amahl and the Night Visitors

Our picks this week are mostly on Christmas themes — big surprise — with one important exception.

Join the region’s shortest-lived mass chorus at Trinity Cathedral in downtown Cleveland on Wednesday, December 14 at noon, when Todd Wilson conducts the Trinity Chamber Orchestra, soloists, and you the chorus in the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah (plus the “Hallelujah” Chorus, which comes later in the oratorio). No audition necessary. Bring a score or borrow one from Trinity. A freewill offering covers the cost of the professional musicians.

On Friday, December 16 at 7:00 pm at Painesville United Methodist Church, Burning River Brass begins its annual series of holiday concerts around the region. Heather Zweifel directs this first-rate group of trumpet, horn, trombone, and tuba players. Catch later performances on the 17th in Wooster (1:30 pm), and on the 18th and 19th (7:00 pm) at Pilgrim Church in Tremont. All performances will have a freewill offering.

Christmas by Candlelight is an annual event for the Summit Choral Society Masterworks Chorale and Children’s Choirs. You can enjoy a festival of holiday music sung by many voices at St. Bernard’s Church in downtown Akron on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, December 16, 17, and 18 at 7:30 pm. Marie Bucoy-Calavan and her assistants conduct, and this year’s program will feature a newly commissioned carol by University of Akron music major Mickey McGroarty. Tickets can be reserved online.

There’s one last opportunity to catch pianist Roman Rabinovich in ChamberFest Cleveland’s Winter Mini Festival. Rabinovich will cap off his three-concert series with five of Joseph Haydn’s 45 piano sonatas at the Dunham Tavern Museum on Friday, December 16 at 7:30 pm. You can book tickets online.

Back in the day, television networks actually commissioned made-for-TV operas, as NBC did in 1951 when it ordered a Christmas-time work from American composer Gian Carlo Menotti. Cleveland Opera Theater will offer two performances of that opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors, at Holy Rosary Church in Little Italy on Saturday, December 17 at 2:00 and 7:00 pm. Admission is free with a monetary donation to the City Mission to benefit Laura’s Home, the Mission’s Crisis Center.

Looking for something a lot different from normal Christmas music? Director Samuel Gordon has cooked up an unusual program for Akron’s professional chorus, Singers Companye, on Saturday, December 17 at 4:00 pm at Faith Lutheran Church in Fairlawn. “The Skies Rejoice: Carols for the Season” will include Randall Stroope’s Hodie, Samuel Gordon’s The Skies Rejoice and Pastorale for the Season Born, and carol settings by Eric Whitacre, Abbie Betinis, Dale Warland, Dan Forrest, and jazz composer David von Kampen. The Paragon Brass Ensemble, organist Robert Mollard, and pianist Amy Sauriol will add to the fun. The concert is free.

For details of these and many other events, visit the ClevelandClassical.com Concert Listings page.

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