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There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Dress rehearsal with Ballet Arts for Picture House Regional Film Center's screening of "The Nutcracker", 12/13 (photo courtesy of Picture House Regional Film Center)
Dress rehearsal with Ballet Arts for Picture House Regional Film Center's screening of "The Nutcracker", 12/13 (photo courtesy of Picture House Regional Film Center)
Dress rehearsal with Ballet Arts for Picture House Regional Film Center's screening of "The Nutcracker", 12/13 (photo courtesy of Picture House Regional Film Center)

December 4

Rock the Halls! Holiday Hits

Families will be “rockin’ around the Christmas tree” at home during Irvington Theater’s virtual holiday concert on December 4. The Theater will stream a recording of last year’s sold-out Holiday Celebration concert for audiences to enjoy while they wrap stocking stuffers and decorate their homes. Musicians Parker Reilly and the Electric Stories, known for their lively renditions of songs from the 1960s and ‘70s, will perform lesser-known holiday rock tunes and classic seasonal songs from Chuck Berry, Darlene Love and more. 

December 5 through January 2 (Saturdays)

Holiday Readings by the Pandemic Players 

Leading into the new year, no matter which Saturday afternoon one tunes into Zoom, they’ll be entertained by classic stories told by consummate actors. The Pandemic Players, a group presented by Schoolhouse Theater, is dedicated to providing plays to audiences, even while theaters are closed. Afternoon readings this winter bring the joy of the holidays into listeners’ lives with selections that include The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry (December 5), A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (December 19), and even This Wonderful Life by Steve Murray, Frances Goodrich and Mark Setlock (January 2), for which the Theater’s artistic director, Bram Lewis, will read the parts of all the citizens of Bedford Falls.

December 11-13

Santa’s Holiday Extravaganza

This kid-friendly holiday event by White Plains Performing Arts Center will celebrate the holidays with a selection of pre-recorded songs, stories and traditions on Zoom, featuring performances by professional singers and dancers. It all culminates in a reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by none other than Mrs. Claus, followed by a special live appearance by Santa. Each screen will be permitted two minutes alone with Santa to get a screenshot with the guest of honor. 

December 13

Home for the Holidays!

The Westchester Chordsmen have cemented their place in Westchester with their serenades. This year, a virtual winter holiday concert will bring their lively spirit into the homes of those who want to channel the holiday spirit. The chorus, including some quartets, will sing everyone’s favorite holiday tunes, as well as some originals.  The live performance by up to 65 singers (depending on the song), will include Jingle Bells, Winter Wonderland, Ave Maria, and more. Though this is a free concert, there are several paid packages available, which include items like a CD, tickets to the group’s next live performance, and a custom video. 

The Nutcracker Virtual Matinee

Picture House Regional Film Center’s The Nutcracker Magical Matinee will bring the magic of the holiday season to families at home on December 13. This year, the Center has converted its annual in-person performance to a pre-recorded production by the ballerinas, instructors and professional dancers from the Ballet Arts dance company. Performers in full costume, and wearing masks to follow health regulations, will bring the timeless holiday ballet and Tchaikovsky’s beloved score to life.

Jitterbugs: Jazz for Kids (Holiday Edition)

On December 13, Jazz Forum Arts will host a holiday edition of its ongoing Jitterbugs: Jazz for Kids program for families with children aged two through seven. The Zoom class, led by early childhood educator and cellist Jody Redhage Ferber, will encourage children and their families to learn about jazz and its various styles through storytelling, movement, instruments and interactive music games. Ferber will also be joined by special guest and saxophonist Tia Fuller during the 30-minute class.

December 19

The Best Concordia Conservatory Christmas: The Movie 

Theaters may be closed for now due to COVID-19, but the Concordia Conservatory at Concordia College will bring the stage to audiences of all ages on December 19. The Conservatory will broadcast a new film version of its annual Community Holiday Musical production that will contain a timely, moving message. Viewers at home will follow current and past cast members of the Conservatory’s Community Musical as they sadly discover that there will be no performance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Reminiscing about past shows, the cast begins to uncover the “best” holiday production yet by performing their favorite musical numbers. 

Messiah in Your Living Room

Though Handel’s Messiah was initially written as an Easter song, the oratorio has since become synonymous with Christmas. For many, it is a symbolic gong that ushers in the holiday season, with its booming crescendos, passionate arias and the groundswell of joy it produces. It’s no wonder some choral groups and orchestra have taken to performing the work annually. This year, two groups will resurrect their annual performances of Messiah, albeit virtually, bringing joy to the living rooms of their listeners. 

December 4
Messiah (Part 1)
presented by New Choral Society

The New Choral Society will present its 27th annual Messiah (Part 1), which was recorded live in November, complete with the refined acoustics of the Hitchcock Presbyterian Church in Scarsdale. The recording will debut on December 4 and remain available for viewing throughout December.

December 6
Messiah Sing-Along
presented by Westchester Oratorio Society

Westchester Oratorio Society will present a free live-streamed “Scratch” Messiah, a performance in which the audience contributes as chorus members alongside the professionals.

A version of this article first appeared in the December-January issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNewsis distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.

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