Toledo Symphony wraps up series of seasonal concerts


For its final holiday concerts of this busy performance season, the Toledo Symphony will go to the movies on Friday and appear on a theater stage Saturday.

Tomorrow's concert, at 7:30 p.m. in the former Rave Cinemas complex at 1360 Conant St., Maumee, is part of its Neighborhood Concert series and will bring Christmas music and spirit to members of Calvary Assembly of God.

The 61-year-old church purchased the vacant multiplex for $2.58 million in December, 2010. Since then, the Pentecostal congregation has been transforming former theaters and the soaring lobby into a new home for worship, fellowship, education, and extended ministries.

No movie music seems to be on the program that resident conductor Jeffrey Pollock will conduct, although there is plenty of variety in style. Music ranges from works for dances written by Tchaikovsky and Rossini to contemporary arrangements of noels from various countries.

A holiday sing-along will enliven the second half.

Tickets are $20 at 419-381-0254.

Broadway-style glamour beckons the musicians who will present a Regional Concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Tiffin's historic Ritz Theatre, 30 S. Washington St.

Pollock and the symphony plan to perform a similar program, which begins with Carmen Dragon's arrangement of "The First Noel." Sylvania native and Mannheim Steamroller creator Chip Davis will get a musical nod as the orchestra plays his arrangement of the traditional English carol, Greensleeves.

Sean O'Boyle's setting of the Christmas Story will be a highlight of the second half, which will wrap up -- as every Toledo Symphony holiday concert has this season -- with Leroy Anderson's lively "Sleigh Ride."

Tickets for that event are $15-$50 at 419-448-8544 ext. 4 or

Many churches plan elaborate Christmas Eve musical programs, the better to celebrate this holiday of joy and hope. At Trinity Episcopal Church, the historic house of worship across from the Valentine Theatre, A Canterbury Christmas will begin at 10:30 p.m. Monday.

Minister of music Wayne Anthony, his Canterbury Choir, and area musicians from the SonoNovo Ensemble based at the church will offer a musical prelude to the Christ Mass, which begins at 11 p.m.

Epworth United Methodist Church, 4855 W. Central Ave., a busy venue for many community musical events, has several styles of music planned for services starting at 7 p.m. when contemporary music and a play are planned. At 9 p.m. comes the traditional Candlelight Service with classical and traditional music including carols.

Staying home a favored option for Monday? Toledo's public radio station is offering a wonderful gift of fine music, both locally produced and from around the world, to carol in Christmas.

The day will open with a performance of the Christmas portion of Handel's oratorio, Messiah, by the Dallas Bach Society, 9 a.m. Radio host Bill McGlaughlin will announce.

The traditional Festival of Lessons and Carols performed in King's College Chapel, Cambridge, will be broadcast at 10 a.m. and repeated at 8 p.m.

At 2 p.m., a recent performance by New York Polyphony, the fine a cappella vocal group from the Big Apple, at the Bowling Green State University Festival Series, will be broadcast on WGTE-91.3 FM.

And the San Francisco vocal group Chanticleer will sing out its holiday program in a broadcast to start at 7 p.m.

Another local performance will be highlighted at 2 p.m. on Christmas Day, when the Masterworks Chorale's recent holiday concert is to be aired.

For many, Friday is a very significant moment in the year as fall gives way to winter during the Winter Solstice. This natural watershed event often serves as a wonderfully simple yet profound counterpoint to elaborate religious celebrations of the season. Winter Solstice can be a time for reflection and resolve.

This year, the end of a millenia-long cycle in the Mayan calendar has added extra interest to the date, as some extremists call it an end-of-days event. In truth, the Mayan calendar is simply marking the earth's movement into a new period.

On Friday, Paul Winter again will present his Winter Solstice Celebration in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, New York City. Set to be aired on WGTE-TV at 8 p.m., the program will include gospel singer Theresa Thomason, the Paul Winter Consort, and music from the great church organ. A globe's worth of music is on the schedule, and John Schaefer will host it.

Another solstice event will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday in the Shafran Planetarium of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1 Wade Oval Dr. in University Circle.

The Almeda Trio -- violinist Cara Tweed, cellist Ica Mercer, pianist Robert Cassidy -- will perform an eclectic musical program with music by Vivaldi and Bach, Debussy, Brubeck, and Bolling, plus new music by Aaron Jay Kernis and W.F. Rayer.

Joining the trio will be guest artists cellist Nick Diodore and percussionist Bill Ransom.

Jason Davis, astronomy manager of the museum, will give a talk on the science of the solstice before the music takes place. The performance will be under the stars and imagery of the museum's astronomy exhibits.

Tickets for limited seating are $20-$25 at 216-231-1177 or visit

Thoughtfully anticipating the post-Christmas days when schools are on break, the relatives are in town, and there is much time to fill, the Toledo Museum of Art has again scheduled its Great Art Escape, with hands-on creative activities for all ages and a wealth of musical and dance performances.

Highlights of the latter include performances on the museum's historic Dutch organ in Gallery 24 by area musicians and concerts on its Wendell Castle Piano in Gallery 1.

Joan Holder McConnell, adjunct professor of organ at Heidelberg College and active in the Toledo Chapter, American Guild of Organists, will lead off with a 1 p.m. recital on Wednesday in the West Wing gallery.

Gladys Rudolph, one of Toledo's favorite accompanists, will perform there at 1 p.m. Dec. 28. Barbara Craig is to appear at 1 p.m. Dec. 29.

Castle piano performances are set for 1-2 p.m. Dec. 27.

Also appearing will be Ballet Folklorico de Imagenes Mexicanas, a traditional dance troupe based at the Perrysburg Heights Community Center, at 2 p.m. in the Great Gallery. Raquel and James Serda are founders and leaders of the group, with Aaronica Bivins, artistic director.

Items for News of Music should be sent to at least two weeks ahead of the performance date. Items mailed to The Blade must be sent at least three weeks early.