12 shows to countdown to Christmas

  • Ed Gerhard —Courtesy

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    Concord Dance Academy students perform "Carol of the Bells." Courtesy of Marcel Ledoux

  • Concord Dance Academy students perform their traditional kickline. Courtesy Marcel Ledoux

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    Concord Dance Academy's younger students dance a piece from "The Nutcracker." Courtesy of Marcel Ledoux

  • Concord Dance Academy students perform a tap routine at last year’s Holiday Spectacular at the Concord City Auditorium. Courtesy of Marcel Ledoux

  • Greg Hawkes from the Cars performing at last year's Christmas with Rocking Horse Studios show. —Rocking Horse Studios

  • Anna Madsen performing with the Rocking Horse band and Elie Rivillier at last year's Christmas with Rocking Horse Studios show. —Rocking Horse Studios

  • Holiday Pops with the Capital Jazz Orchestra will be held at the Capitol Center for the Arts on Dec. 18. Courtesy

  • Wizards of Winter —Courtesy

  • The Mavericks —Courtesy

  • The 12 Days of Christmas —Courtesy

  • Mannheim Steamroller will perform at the Capitol Center for the Arts. Courtesy of Matt Christine Photography

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    Michele Bossie as Sr. Robert Ann, Anna Proulx as Sr. Mary Leo, Betty Fortin as Mother Superior, Jocelyn Duford as Sr. Hubert, Kelsey Sweet as Mount St. Helen Student, Becky Rush as Sr. Amnesia, and Meghan Dolley as Mount St. Helen Student in "Nuncrackers." —Courtesy of A. Robert Dionne

  • Symphony NH —Courtesy

  • Clara's Cracked Christmas —Courtesy

  • Maggie Letsche-LaVagno reprises her role as the Rev. Mother in Interlakes Summer Theatre production of “Nuncrackers! The Christmas Nunsense Musical.” —Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 11/30/2016 10:00:36 PM

The countdown to Christmas has begun. For some, especially your wee ones, it started a while ago, but you can countdown starting this week with holiday entertainment.

The first of holiday shows, start the countdown with the Holiday Spectacular. About 300 Concord Dance Academy students will bring a Rockettes-like production to the Concord City Auditorium.

The opening – a kickline – and closing – elves and Santa with his reindeer stay the same each year, said Cindy Flanagan, Concord Dance Academy founder. The middle will be a different mix of styles and ages. Students at the academy are ages 2 to 18 and learn tap, ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, contemporary and hip hop styles.

The music is again a mix, with mostly traditional favorites, said Flanagan. More upbeat, contemporary versions of some songs will be used for hip hop pieces. This year the eldest pointe class will also do a dance with the youngest students.

“It’s absolutely phenomenal,” Flanagan said.

And while the format stays similar year to year, dancers within the school get to try new things each year. Flanagan said some younger students are excited to finally fit the snowman costumes and 14-year-old girls are old enough to join the kickline. For them, it’s a new experience.

Proceeds from the bake sale support the Concord City Auditorium seat project and the 50/50 and basket raffles support the Friendly Kitchen. This year, increased community donations created 17 baskets instead of nine.

Before the show, children can get their photo taken with Santa in exchange for donations to the St. Paul’s Food Pantry and Toys for Tots.

Shows will be held Saturday at 1 or 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Tickets are available at concorddanceacademy.com or at the door for $15.

For the second show of Christmas, the Capitol Center for the Arts gave to me the Mavericks performing Sleigh Bells Ring Out. With a variety of influences, the Mavericks will perform holiday songs with a post-modern country, vintage, Cuban flair. The show will be Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Cap Center. Tickets are $38 or $48, depending on seating. For information or to purchase tickets, call 225-1111 or visit ccanh.com.

For the third show of Christmas, you can give back. Guitarist Ed Gerhard will perform his 25th annual holiday concert Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Belknap Mill in Laconia. Gerhard will play soulful arrangements are well-loved carol and original songs from his Christmas and On a Cold Winter’s Night albums.

If you bring in a non-perishable food item for the Laconia Area Food Pantry, you can get a $1-off coupon for Gerhard’s CDs.

Tickets are $22 in advance or $25 at the door. For information or to purchase tickets, call 664-7200 or visit edgerhard.com.

Calling birds? Nope, next on the list is a rock orchestra ensemble coming to Plymouth. Wizards of Winter, anchored by three former Trans-Siberian Orchestra musicians, will jingle bells and rock your stockings Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at the Flying Monkey Performance Center.

Lead vocalist Guy LeMonnier, vocalist Peter Shaw and narrator Tony Gaynor lead the 12-member Wizards in songs blending metal, progressive rock and holiday favorites. Musical selections will come from its Tales Beneath a Northern Star and from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s greatest hits. It is holiday spectacle or vocals, music and theatrics.

Tickets are $29 or $39 for premier seating; for information or reservations call 536-2551 or visit flyingmonkeynh.com.

With that we’re rolling on to No. 5, Mannheim Steamroller Christmas will arrive at the Capitol Center for the Arts on Dec. 7 for a 7:30 p.m. show.

Grammy Award-winning Chip Davis has created a show based on 30 years of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas music. The group’s songs, a holiday tradition, have been pairing with multimedia effects for a magical Christmas show.

Tickets range from $49 to $88; call 225-1111 or visit ccanh.com to reserve.

On the sixth show of Christmas, see the 12 Days of Christmas. Performed by more than 100 dancers, this show features students from several dance schools and aerial dance artists.

Shows will be held Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. Ticket are $17.50 general admission or $13.50 for students, seniors, and Cap Center members. They can be purchased by calling 225-1111 or by visiting ccanh.com.

The seventh show of the season is the Holiday Pops concert put on by the Lakes Region Orchestra featuring vocalist Karen Jordan. On Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 11 at 3 p.m., the Inter-Lakes Community Auditorium in Meredith will be transformed into a winter wonderland of sound.

Musical selections include “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “A Mad Russian’s Christmas,” and “Jingle Bells Forever.”

“There’s something very special about holiday songs performed live like this – sometimes there are no words to describe the effect of a large orchestra playing songs that we’ve all known since childhood,” said symphony Director Benjamin Greene.

Jordan, the featured vocalist, is a Laconia singer experienced in styles such as opera and jazz. She is choral director at Inter-Lakes High School, the Lakes Region Singers, the Lakes Region Youth Chorus and the Wesley choir at First United Methodist Church.

Tickets to the shows are $15 or $8 for students in college or younger; purchase at lrso.org/tickets or at the door.

For the eighth show of Christmas, you get double the enjoyment.

The Concord City Auditorium will offer two different opportunities to view the classic Christmas tale, The Nutcracker.

On Dec. 10 at 2 p.m., Turning Pointe Center of Dance of Pembroke will present its 35th family-friendly show directed by Lisa Drouin Goff.

Then on Dec. 16 at 7 p.m. you can view the New Hampshire School of Ballet of Hooksett’s version, which will feature the full production of the classic ballet with the growing tree, falling snow, and 50 fine dancers directed by Jennifer Rienert.

The Nutcracker tells the story of young Clara who is given a nutcracker by her mystical uncle. After, the Christmas guests depart, the Mouse King attacks and the nutcracker saves the day. Then, Clara and her hero travel through a moonlight forest and see all sorts of magical beings.

Tickets to Turning Pointe’s show are $18 in advance or $20 at the door; for information, call 485-8710 or visit turningpointecenterofdance.com/performances.

Tickets to the New Hampshire School of Ballet’s show are $18 and available at Gibson’s Bookstore, at the studio and at the door. For information, call 668-5330.

This ninth show takes what you just watched with The Nutcracker and turns it on its head.

Nuncrackers is a comedic Nunsense Christmas musical by Dan Goggin. Songs include “ Twelve Days Prior to Christmas,” “Santa Ain’t Comin’ to Our House,” “We Three Kings of Orient Are Us” and “It’s Better to Give than to Receive.”

Performances will be held Dec. 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. at the Derry Opera House. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $12 for children; reserve by calling 669-7469 or visit majestictheatre.net.

The Interlakes Theatre will also perform the show Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. at Moultonborough Academy. Tickets are $25. To reserve, call 707-6035 or visit interlakestheatre.com.

Leap back to the Concord City Auditorium for this 10th show.

Symphony N.H. will perform its Holiday Pops concert on Dec. 11 at 3 p.m. at the Audi.

Sing along with your favorite carols with the symphony, the New World Chorale and the New England Tenors.

The show will feature a mix of classic Christmas music to get you into the holiday spirit.

Tickets range from $18 to $49, children under 15 are free, and senior, student and group discounts are available. For information or to reserve tickets, call 595-9156 or visit symphonynh.org.

We’re nearing the end now with the 11th show – Christmas with Rocking Horse Studio at the Capitol Center for the Arts.

Sold out in 2014 and 2015, this show will feature New Hampshire’s finest musicians and singers. Performers include Dusty Gray, Brooks Young, Anna Madsen, Trade, Eli Autry, Hank Osborne and Chas Mitchell, Steve Blunt, Justin Cohn, Ryan Williamson, Ashley Howard-White, Jack Polidoro, Elie Rivollier and Stephanie Tonneson.

“Our featured artists will perform their songs with the Rocking Horse Studio house band,” said Brian Coombes, producer at Rocking Horse Studio. “Many of them will also guest on other artists songs. For example, Anna Madsen will sing with Elie Rivillier and Ryan Williamson. Brooks Young will play with Steve Blunt, Dusty Gray may play with Eli Autry, and Scott Solsky from the band Trade will also join the Rocking Horse crew for a few songs.”

The evening will include a mix of traditional and contemporary Christmas music.

“After working with these talented performers in the studio throughout the year, I often have a good idea of which songs will work for which artists. And we try to find a balance between traditional and contemporary, spiritual and secular,” Coombes said. “Anna Madsen’s modern interpretation of the ancient hymn ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’ stunned the audience last year, and she’ll be performing that one again this year. John Lennon’s ‘Happy Christmas (War is Over)’ has become something of our anthem over the past few years, with many of the performers from the evening joining us on stage for the final number. And I’m really looking forward to seeing Steve Blunt and his guest singer Noelle Boc turning ‘Let it Snow’ into something fun and flirty duet.”

There will be two performances – Dec. 16 and 17 – both at 7 p.m. at the Cap Center. Tickets are $20 and available at ccanh.com.

You might as well camp out at the Cap Center because the 12th show of the season is there, too.

The much-acclaimed Capital Jazz Orchestra will perform Holiday Pops featuring Big Band sounds for the holiday season.

Musicians come from across the country and will arrive from as far away as Washington, D.C., and New York City to attend a rehearsal the day of the concert and present the show the same day, said orchestra manager and vocalist CJ Poole. For example, the pianist and arranger Jerry Ascione was one of the arrangers for this year’s Oscar ceremonies. Ascione wrote two original compositions for the Holiday Pops show.

The orchestra will be joined by Patty Barkas and Laura Daigle for renditions of “The Christmas Song,” “Let It Snow,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Sleigh Ride.”

The compositions will be in the flavor of 1940s and ’50s American pop music and most were written specifically for the Capital Jazz Orchestra by Ascione and Bob Freedman, Poole said.

Laura Knoy of NHPR will recite “The Night Before Christmas.”

There will be about 20 musicians involved.

There will be a chance for audience participation, too, in the form of a sing-along.

The show will be Dec. 18 at 4 p.m. Tickets ar $20 to $45, based on seating. For information or to purchase tickets, visit ccanh.com or call 225-1111.

Stocking stuffers

There’s still more holiday shows you can see, if you can fit them in.

“O Come, O Come: Why Not Christmas Now?” a Bach lunch program will be at the Concord Community Music School, will be today at 12:10 p.m. Info: ccmusicschool.org or 228-1196.

Clara’s Cracked Christmas with 80 dancers will be Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Claremont Opera House. Tickets $17 or $14 for children. Info: claremontoperahouse.org or 542-4433.

Clara’s Dream: A Nutcracker Story by City Center Ballet will be Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 1 and 4 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Lebanon Opera House. Tickets $8 to $32. Info: lebanonoperahouse.org or 448-0400.

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dicken’s classic play, will be performed Friday through Dec. 23 at the Player’s Ring Theater in Portsmouth. Shows are Thursdays at 7 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 and 8 p.m., Sundays at 3 and 7 p.m. and Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 or $10 for children. Info: playersring.org or 436-8123.

A Charlie Brown Christmas musical show will be Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Jean’s Playhouse in Lincoln. Tickets $20. Info: jeansplayhouse.com.

An a capella Noel sung by Amare Cantare will be Dec. 10 at 7;30 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Church, 98 Summer St., Portsmouth; Dec. 11 at 3 p.m. at Saint Joseph’s Church, 150 Central Ave., Dover; and Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at Christ Church, 43 Pine St., Exeter. Tickets are $15 at door and $12 in advance with discounts for students and seniors. Info: amarecantare.org.

Amahl and the Night Vistors opera will be Dec. 13 at 11 a.m. at the Capitol Center for the Arts. Tickets $7. Info: ccanh.com or 225-1111.

Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra’s Holiday Pops concert will be Dec. 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. at The Music Hall. Tickets are $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and $12 for students. Info: portsmouthsymphony.org.

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