December 2009 Issue
Sounds of the Season
Ohio’s seasonal shows are music to the ears. Throughout the state there are musical performances to get you in the mood.
Ah, the musical sounds of the season: the jingle of sleigh bells, the angelic choirs, the oom-pah-pah of 500 tubas performing “Silent Night.”
The end of Thanksgiving leftovers and the beginning of December means there’s a wealth of holiday concert offerings in Ohio — well worth hopping in the car to enjoy an evening or weekend musical getaway. And there are performances for every taste and every budget (including free!).
Kenny G: The Holiday Show
Grammy-winning Kenny G’s soulful soprano saxophone defines the sound of the season — and for good reason. His 1994 compilation “Miracles” is the most successful holiday album in history, selling more than 13 million copies.
Kenny G returns to the Queen City after a sold-out 2007 holiday show. Appearing Dec. 9 at the state-of-the-art Aronoff Center for the Arts in downtown Cincinnati, Kenny G will wrap his smooth jazz sound around seasonal favorites like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Joy to the World.”
For show information, contact the Cincinnati Arts Association at 513/621-ARTS or visit cincinnatiarts.org. Tickets begin at $45.
This season marks the 30th anniversary of a most unusual and beloved holiday tradition: TubaChristmas.
Founded and conducted by University of Akron music professor Tucker Jolly (Could there be a more perfect name for a tuba orchestra conductor?), this year’s show offers performances at noon and 2:30 p.m. on Dec. 19 at Akron’s E.J. Thomas Hall. The concerts will feature all the holiday favorites, including audience sing-alongs.
And hey, if you’ve got a tuba, a Santa hat and you’re interested in joining several hundred fellow tubists for a good time, you’re invited to take part. Simply contact Jolly at 330/972-6641. There’s a $5 fee for performers, but for audience members, the concerts are free. Tinsel-decorated tubas are optional, but encouraged.
For information on attending Akron’s TubaChristmas 2009, call E.J. Thomas Hall at 330/972-7570 or visit ejthomashall.com.
And if you can’t make it to Akron, there may be another TubaChristmas performance near you. Check online at tubachristmas.com to find out.
Trans-Siberian Orchestra Winter Tour
A Trans-Siberian Orchestra performance isn’t so much a concert as it is a sensory experience — combining elements of contemporary and classical music in a way few others can match. Think of it as rock opera meets “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” Throw in tender lyrics that touch all the themes of Christmas, add a jaw-dropping light show, and you’ve got the makings of a memorable holiday event.
TSO performs Dec. 18 at Cincinnati’s U.S. Bank Arena and settles in for four shows Dec. 19–20 at Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena. Free musical downloads at trans-siberian.com will give you a taste of what words can’t accurately describe.
For concert information, contact U.S. Bank Arena at 513/421-4111 or visit usbankarena.com, and Quicken Loans Arena at 888/894-9424 or theqarena.com. Ticket prices start at $25 to $38.50.
The Irish Tenors Christmas Show
If you’re looking for something that’s off the beaten path but still captures the best of the holiday spirit, consider The Irish Tenors — Finbar Wright, Anthony Kearns and Karl Scully — who will perform traditional carols and ballads of the Green Isle at Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center for the Arts on Dec. 12. This trio is one of the most successful Irish acts ever to tour the globe — second only to the rock group U2.
For tickets, call 513/621-ARTS or visit cincinnatiarts.org. Tickets start at $35.
Handel’s “Messiah” — The Cleveland Orchestra
To many hearts and ears, there is no more meaningful expression of the holiday season than Handel’s 1741 work, “Messiah” — especially its jubilant movement, the “Hallelujah” chorus. The voices of the Cleveland Orchestra Chamber Chorus will join the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Robert Porco, for two performances, commemorating the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death.
Cleveland’s grand Severance Hall will be the setting for performances of “Messiah” Dec. 10 and 12, both at 8 p.m. Tickets begin at $31. For more information, call the Severance Hall ticket office at 800/686-1141 or visit clevelandorchestra.com.
“Messiah” is only one in a series of December Cleveland Orchestra events geared for listeners of all ages and interests. The annual Christmas Concerts, featuring both the orchestra and chorus, include holiday favorites and even some sing-alongs; there are eight concerts scheduled Dec. 11–20 and tickets start at $33. This year’s Holiday Musical Rainbow Series — appropriate for kids through age 9 — includes “The Music of Chanukah,” a “Christmas Brass Quintet” and “All About Kwanzaa.” Shows last 40 minutes and tickets are just $7.
Skaggs Family Christmas, The Oak Ridge Boys Christmas and Gaither Homecoming Christmas Tour
If you’re a little more country and little less rock ‘n’ roll, there is a trio of household names who will add some down-home flavor to Ohio’s holiday concert line-up.
Virtuoso bluegrass picker and 14-time Grammy Award winner Ricky Skaggs brings his Family Christmas show to the Palace Theatre in Columbus on Dec. 11. Playing multiple instruments, Skaggs and friends will perform a variety of new and old seasonal gems. For tickets, visit capa.com or call 614/469-0939. Prices start at $22.50.
The line-up of singers has evolved since the group was founded in 1943, but the pure Gospel-country harmonies of The Oak Ridge Boys have been a constant. The legends will be busy in Ohio this holiday season, performing Christmas favorites in Portsmouth on Dec. 10, in Toledo on Dec. 14 and in Lima on Dec. 15. Find all the details at oakridgeboys.com. Ticket prices start at $32.50 to $39.50.
When it comes to writers and performers of contemporary Christian and southern gospel music, there are few names that have had a more profound influence on American sacred music than the Gaither Vocal Band. Bill Gaither and his group bring their celebration of the season to Nationwide Arena in Columbus on Dec. 18. For ticket information, visit Ticketmaster at ticketmaster.com or call 800/745-3000. Tickets start at $31.50.