Gallery On Stage

Holidays Take Center Stage

A sampling of local holiday performances

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When you think of the holiday season, you may think of family and cultural traditions, baking, gift giving and family gatherings. For many, music, story and pageantry play a part in these traditions. This month offers a wealth of opportunities to experience carols, plays and much more.

New Bedford’s Zeiterion Theatre has a variety of holiday performances to choose from, including traditional music, rock ‘n roll and family concerts. “Jingle Bell Rock” kicks off the holiday season on Saturday, December 3, featuring some of rock ‘n roll’s best singers and songwriters. Eddie Money, Lou Gramm of Foreigner and Mickey Thomas of Starship will come together for a night of Grammy-winning hits such as “Rock this City,” “Sara,” and “Two Tickets to Paradise,” as well as holiday favorites.

Rock ‘n roll gives way to more traditional fare with the renowned A Celtic Sojourn Christmas on Sunday, December 11. This New England holiday favorite is heading to the Whaling City for the first time. It features a variety of performers steeped in the Celtic tradition with music that embodies the soul as well as the spirit of the season. Performers include Ruth Moody from the Wailin’ Jennys, Hanneke Cassel, Laura Cortese and many others. Rhode Island’s own Kevin Doyle is the Dance Director and is working with a group of younger dancers to create some toe-tapping on the stage. This edition is said to be one their most exciting shows yet.

Zeiterion will also play host to two performances by the New Bedford Symphony Orchestra on Saturday, December 17. Family Holiday Pops “Hear the Cheer” will feature special guest Steve March-Torme, son of legendary singer Mel Torme, along with the New Bedford Symphony Youth Orchestra and the South Coast Children’s Chorus for a one-hour performance of favorite holiday songs. The performance will also feature a visit from Santa, greeting children of all ages.

In addition to the music, Zeiterion will also welcome a musical production of A Christmas Carol with two performances on Saturday, December 10 at 2pm and 7pm. More info

For a more classical take on the holidays, the South Coast Community Chorale will perform Vivaldi’s “Gloria” along with other holiday favorites at Good Shepard Parish in Fall River. An annual holiday tradition on the South Coast, the performance is Sunday, December 18 at 2pm. More info

Also in Fall River, Little Theatre will offer the tale of Amahl and the Night Visitors, written by Gian Carlo Menotti, from December 1-4 at the Firebarn. More info

Blithewold mansion in Bristol will also share holiday music and performance throughout the month of December. From classical and traditional to family sing-alongs with Santa, “Christmas at Blithewold” has something for everyone. Tree Callanan, Director of Communications, notes, “The Van Wickle family [who originally owned Blithewold] was a great supporter of arts and culture. They would also return to Blithewold for the holidays.” So it’s not surprising to find the performing arts playing a big role in the mansion’s festivities. Performances are virtually daily and are free with admission. Some of the highlights include a “Reading of A Christmas Carol” with Paul Hayden and Bill McCarty on Thursday, December 15. The Strays, a group of eight women from the East Bay area who love to sing together, will perform favorite holiday songs on Sunday, December 18 and Thursday, December 29. Relax after the holidays with chamber and woodwind traditional music with the Classic Winds Woodwind Quintet. A complete list of holiday performances, as well as crafts and children’s story times, is available at the new Christmas at Blithewold blog. More info