Local Classical Music Organizations Present Festive Holiday Programs

Dec 3, 2020

Even in the midst of a pandemic surge, central Ohio classical music organizations are getting into the holiday spirit with creative programs offered in-person and online to keep you feeling festive.

The Columbus Symphony Holiday Spectacular

This year, you don’t have to go Downtown to hear the Columbus Symphony Orchestra’s beloved annual Holiday Pops concert. Instead, the orchestra will come to you in a special televised production, The Columbus Symphony Holiday Spectacular.

CSO Principal Pops Conductor Stuart Chafetz leads the orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Chorus, the Columbus Children’s Choir and guest vocalist N’Kenge in classic carols and holiday pops songs. The one-hour program will air Sat., Dec 12 at 7 p.m. on WBNS-TV CBS 10 and Christmas Day at 7 p.m. on WCMH-TV NBC 4.

“We would never normally buy an hour’s worth of air time on major networks, but that’s what we did this year for Holiday Pops, so that we could take it into people’s homes and make it free to them and give them something to celebrate,” said Columbus Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Denise Rehg on WOSU 89.7’s All Sides with Ann Fisher recently.

The Columbus Symphony Holiday Spectacular will also be available to view free of charge on the CSO’s website Christmas Day starting at 8 p.m. until Dec. 31 at midnight.

A Virtual Messiah with the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra

What holiday season would be complete without a Handel’s Messiah sing-along? The Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra presents A Virtual Messiah, and the entire community is invited to join in the production.

Streaming on the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra’s website Dec. 13 at 7 p.m., the program will feature the orchestra’s musicians, vocal soloists and a chorus of singers from the community in a video performance of favorite numbers from Handel’s masterwork Messiah. 

“We knew we wanted to do something for the holidays and had no idea of what December would hold,” said Susan Larson, executive director of the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra. “So we recorded the orchestra and soloists in August.”

Now, the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra is inviting everyone to record homemade videos singing chorus numbers from Messiah and to submit those videos by the Dec. 3 through the orchestra’s website for inclusion in the finished Virtual Messiah video production.

Video recording information is available on the Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra’s web site.

The New Albany Symphony's Santa and the Symphony and Holiday Spectacular

The New Albany Symphony brings merry music to the holidays in three performances.

Santa and the Symphony, Sat., Dec. 19 at 11:30 a.m. at New Albany’s McCoy Center for the Arts, will be an in-person concert featuring holiday favorites presented with accommodations for individuals on the Autism spectrum, in the Alzheimer’s/dementia community or who crave a relaxed concert experience. Dimmed lights, family restrooms and designated “chill-out zones” in the lobby support holiday merriment in comfort.

The New Albany Symphony also performs Holiday Spectacular Sun., Dec. 20 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.  Tickets are available for the livestream of the 3 p.m. performance. Individual tickets to the in-person Holiday Spectacular performance at 7 p.m. at the McCoy Center for the Arts are available through Nov. 30 with the purchase of a New Albany Symphony Evening Subscription. Individual ticket sales for the 7 p.m. Holiday Spectacular performance open Dec. 1.

The Early Interval’s Twelfth Night Celebration: Cakes and Ale

Long a Columbus holiday tradition celebrating the festive season after Christmas Day, the Early Interval’s Twelfth Night Celebration: Cakes and Ale is going virtual this year in a video production that takes early music to the silver screen.

Filmed at the Ohio Village, Twelfth Night Celebration: Cakes and Ale presents musicians of Columbus’ resident early music ensemble, The Early Interval, in collaboration with Actors’ Theatre Columbus as they paint a picture of the taverns, theaters and churches of London in the 1600s.

“The production will feel more like a mini-movie than a recorded music concert,” said Sarah Hixon, program director of Early Music in Columbus, which presents Twelfth Night Celebration: Cakes and Ale. “The focus is on holiday revelries ... for both Christmas and Twelfth Night.”

Directed by Actors’ Theatre Columbus Artistic Director Philip Hickman, the actors will give dramatic readings of selections from the colorful diaries of Samuel Pepys and perform a scene from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.  Throughout the production, the musicians will play tunes, carols and dances by English composers of the era, including William Byrd, John Playford, Matthew Locke and Thomas Arne.

Twelfth Night Celebration: Cakes and Ale will be available to view starting Wed., Jan. 6 at 8 p.m. and will remain online until Mon., Jan. 11 at 11:59 p.m. With the purchase of a ticket, patrons receive a link that gives them on-demand access to the video.

Local Musical Organizations Perform Holiday Music on Classical 101

And while you're checking out these holiday music offerings, be sure to listen to all the wonderful holiday programs on Classcial 101 featuring performances by the Columbus Gay Men's Chorus, the Schola of St. Joseph Cathedral in Downtown Columbus, the orchestras and choruses of Capital University and the Ohio State University, LancasterChorale, the award-winning New World Singers of the Columbus Children's Choir and other great central Ohio musical oganizations.