From left: Toledo Symphony brass players Garth Simmons, trombone; Charles Slater, trombone; Daniel Harris, bass trombone, and David Saltzman, tuba, perform at Carnegie Hall in 2011.
Mary Pencheff Photography
Do you hear what I hear?
(If you don’t, try removing the earbuds. We are talking live music.)
Advent is just one week old, but the Christmas music season already is in full swing. If it’s not “Silver Bells,” it’s “The Little Drummer Boy.”
Although the Toledo Symphony roams its northwest Ohio concert zone in big buses, audiences might assume they travel otherwise, so prevalent is “Sleigh Ride” on their dozens of programs.
Choirs big and small, young and old, are preparing to sing out seasons’ greetings. Brass quintets are polished and ready, as are orchestras, soloists, and organists. No other holiday has such a wealth of music to herald it in each year. No other songs have such deep and entwined historical roots.
From the mighty Messiah — one production starts at 2 today in the Peristyle — to cozy instrumental ensembles, caroler groups, and rock bands, holiday music is ready for the people to hear. A wonderful new twist for many of the annual concerts is their transformation into benefits for the needy. Often, admission is free with a collection taken — canned food and/or money always helps.
So hang the wreaths, light the candles, tune the piano, and let’s ring in the season.
● The Toledo Symphony, Toledo Choral Society, and the Bowling Green State University Chorus will mass on the Peristyle stage at the Toledo Museum of Art to perform Handel’s massive oratorio, Messiah. Originally written for Eastertide, the 18th-century Messiah has become a staple of Advent.
For many, it’s not really Christmas without the Hallelujah Chorus, although the work has 38 different movements — from vocal solos or ensembles to the all-sing choruses. Richard Napierala will conduct, with soloists Cheryl Babb, Katie Calcamuggio, Kevin Foos, and Richard Mathey handling the challenging solos.
Tickets are $35 at the box office for the 2 p.m. concert.
● Owens Community College Holiday Band Concert will begin at 2:30 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Theater. This multicultural program planned to benefit St. Paul’s Community Center will be led by William Dais.
Special guest Ragtime Rick will narrate Clement Moore’s beloved Christmas Eve poem Twas the Night Before Christmas and entertain pre-concert in the lobby during the freewill collection. Parking is free across from the arts center entrance.
● Masterworks Chorale repeats its seasonal program, Mary and the Angels, at 4 p.m. in Epworth United Methodist Church, 4855 W. Central Ave. New artistic director Timothy Cloeter will lead the group in a program featuring compositions by Poulenc, Victoria, and Lauridsen. Tickets are $20-$25 at the door.
● University of Michigan Choral Union will sing its Messiah at 4 p.m. in Hill Auditorium in Ann Arbor. Jerry Blackstone will conduct with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra accompanying singers. For tickets and information: 734-764-2538 and www.ums.org.
● Lourdes University will offer Carols for Christmas, its annual holiday concert, at 7:30 p.m. in the Franciscan Center on its Sylvania campus. On the program planned by music director and conductor Karen T. Biscay will be carols by many composers performed in varied styles by the University Chorus, Good Company Ensemble, and Sonic 5, a new student vocal ensemble. Pianist Olga Topuzova Meade will accompany and the Maumee Community Band led by Kevin Heidbreder will play holiday carols.
A holiday carol singalong will wrap up this free seasonal program.
● The Pride of Toledo Chorus, Sweet Adelines, will sing out their love of the holiday barbershop style at 3 p.m., with a 6 p.m. reprise, both concerts at Living Hope Church, 4620 Glendale Ave. The concert, O, Holy Night, will comprise 18 pieces for 84-voice chorus or small ensemble. Tickets are $5 at the door, with refreshments provided.
● Tecumseh Pops and Community Chorus present Christmas . . . and All That Jazz at 4 p.m. in the Tecumseh Center for the Arts, 400 Maumee St., Tecumseh. The Tecumseh High School Chamber Orchestra will open for the main event starting at 3:30 p.m. For information and tickets call 517-423-6617 or visit www.theTCA.org.
● The Tower Brass will perform their holiday show, Spirit of Christmas Brassed, at 7 p.m. in community of Christ Lutheran Church, 6517 Finzel Rd., Whitehouse. Admission is free.
● St. Tim’s Discovers, the concert series, continues with a Festival of Lessons and Carols concert at 7 p.m. in St. Timothy Episcopal Church, 781 E. Boundary St., Perrysburg. Joining the Canterbury Singers will be harpist Nancy Lendrim, organist Lyle Hecklinger, and soloist Cheryl Babb. Admission is free.
● The Toledo Symphony performs at 7 p.m. at Westgate Chapel, 2500 Wilford Dr., in Sylvania Township. Resident conductor Jeffrey Pollock will lead the orchestra through a holiday mix titled Hope, Harmony, and the Holidays. Tim Lake will narrate in this performance of Twas the Night Before Christmas. Tickets are $6-$8 and are available at 419-841-8077 extension 234.
● The Tower Brass will perform at Trinity United Methodist Church at 200 N. Summit St. in Bowling Green, its 14th appearance there. The free concert begins at 7 p.m.
● Toledo Symphony is in concert at 7 p.m. at Clay High School, 5665 Seaman Rd., Oregon. On the program will be Mary’s AT Little Boy Chile, Winter Wonderland, and Mother Ginger’s music from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. Lake will narrate Twas The Night Before Christmas. Tickets and information:419-693-0665.
● The African Children’s Choir will perform at 7:30 p.m. in Cornerstone Church, 1520 Reynolds Rd. Young singers from Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa travel frequently, performing their irresistible music to bring people in touch with a part of the world often far from our awareness in this season. Their program of spirituals, children’s songs, and gospel favorites is free.
A freewill offering collected will benefit others in their homelands through the parent organization, Music for Life.
● Bowling Green State University’s choir will present a Holiday Happiness benefit concert at 7 p.m. in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union, grand ballroom. A suggested donation of $5 will go to Wood Lane Residential Services.
● Toledo Symphony delivers its rousing holiday program at 7 p.m. in St. Patrick Church, 610 S. Portland St., Bryan, with narrator Lake and soprano Melissa Marie Baughman. Pollock conducts. Tickets and information:419-475-3496.
● The Christian Festival Choir and Orchestra will present their benefit Christmas Concert at 7 p.m. in Assembly Church of God, 1360 Conant St., Maumee. Donations will go to the Toledo Gospel Rescue Mission.
● Tecumseh Center for the Arts presents its biannual production of The Nutcracker in four shows: 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday plus a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday in the historic hall, 400 N. Maumee St., Tecumseh. Four nearby studios share in the production. Tickets are $12-$14 at the door, at 517-423-6617, or www.theTCA.org.
Perrysburg Symphony Orchestra will perform its Christmas concert at 7 p.m. in Zoar Lutheran Church, 314 E. Indiana Ave., Perrysburg. Music director Robert Mirakian will lead a program of seasonal works.
● Adrian College presents Handel in Holy Rosary, a 7 p.m. program featuring music from Messiah plus Albinoni Adagio. Performers include Michael Gartz, Leann Schuering Kristin Eder, Jesse Donner, and Ben Sieverding with Adrian College Chamber Choir.
● Pianist Corey Pappas and violinist Adam Murphy will perform at 7 p.m. in the Manor House of Wildwood Preserve Metropark.
● The Toledo Symphony presses on its merry way with a 7 p.m. concert in the YMCA West, 2100 Tremainsville Rd. Lake will tell Clement Moore’s beloved Christmas Eve tale with orchestra accompaniment. Tickets and information:419-475-3496.
● Clarence Smith Community Chorus presents its A Community Celebration of Christmas at 6 p.m. in Mount Pilgrim Church, 1401 Hoag St. Founder/director Clarence Smith, Jr., will lead a varied and spirited program of holiday works. The choir will be joined by Ushering, the Cottonwood Jam String Band, and dancers Shawanda Johnson and Tyree Bell.
A carol sing is also on the program, which is free with an offering collected. Food items may be donated to Toledo Seagate Food Bank of Northwest Ohio.
● It’s Christmastime in Ireland at River Raisin Center for the Arts, 114 S. Monroe St., Monroe. Tony Kenny’s charming package of singers and Dublin Trinity Band, plus Dublin City Dancers, brings the charm of the auld sod to the United States. Star is Kathy Durkin, Irish recording star. Tickets are $18-$32 at 734-242-7722 or www.riverraisincentre.org.
● Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., Grammy Award-winning singers from the former 5th Dimension, will bring their Holiday Celebration to the Ritz Theatre, 30 S. Washington St., Tiffin, in a 7:30 p.m. show. Tickets are $20-$50 at 419-448-8544 or www.ritztheatre.org.
● Cathedral Concerts presents a Candlelight Christmas Carol Sing at 3 p.m. in Our Lady, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Cathedral, 2535 Collingwood Blvd. The Cathedral choir and men’s chorus from St. John Jesuit High School plus Cathedral brass ensemble and string quartet will perform works by Willan, Praetorius, Vivaldi, and other composers.
Paul Monachino and Luke Rosen will share conducting duties with Neil Kraft accompanying on the Skinner organ. Admission is free for this benefit concert but donations at the door will benefit Catholic Charities.
● Children’s Choir of Northwest Ohio presents Alleluia, Rejoice! at 4 p.m. in Corpus Christi University Parish, 2955 Dorr St. Joining the young singers and their leader, Lisa Alleman, will be Denise and Michael Grupp-Verbon of Tapestry. Admission is free with an offering taken.
● Monroe Street United Methodist Church presents Choral Vespers for Advent, a concert featuring the church choirs and Young Voices of Greater Toledo. Music starts at 4 p.m. in the sanctuary, 3613 Monroe St. Admission is free.
● Masterworks Chorale will begin its annual Messiah SingAlong at 4 p.m. in Olivet Lutheran Church in Sylvania.
● Tecumseh Center for the Arts presents the Big Band and VocalAires Holiday Concert at 4 p.m. in the hall, 400 Maumee St., Tecumseh. Holiday favorites from popular music’s swing era will be on the program. Tickets and information are at 517-423-6617 or www.theTCA.org.
● Rockapella will sing its holiday concert at 7 p.m. in Heminger Auditorium. Findlay’s own vocal group, First Edition, will open for the main show. Tickets are $30 at the door and $20-$25 in advance at 419-422-4624 or www.artspartnership.com.
● Waterville Playshop and Friends will present their fourth annual Christmas concert, Let It Snow, in Zion Lutheran Church, 22 N. Second St., Waterville. Perishable food donations will be collected for the Anthony Wayne Food Bank. Refreshments will be served following the show.
● The Toledo Symphony will perform a 7 p.m. concert at St. Joseph Church, 104 W. Broadway, Maumee. Tickets and information: 419-893-4848.
The Toledo Symphony on the road will stop at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Q515 County Rd. 17 in Napoleon to perform its lively program of holiday music at 7:30 p.m. Pollock will conduct. Tickets and information:419-758-3522.
● A Toledo Symphony concert will herald the holidays at 7 p.m. in St. Wendelin Church, 313 N. Wood St., Fostoria. Lake will narrate in this penultimate musical celebration. Tickets and information: 419-435-6692.
● The Oak Ridge Boys will bring Toledo audiences along on their 24th anniversary tour, which includes a lavish Christmas show starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Stranahan Theater. For tickets and information call 419-381-7469.
● The Toledo Symphony and Pollock plus Lake will perform at 3 p.m. in First Congregational Church, 2315 Collingwood Blvd. Tickets and information: XXX
● The Nutcracker produced by the Chicago Festival Ballet will go up for a 7:30 p.m. show at the Ritz Theater, 30 S. Washington St., Tiffin. Joining the 16 professional twinkletoes in the Von Heidecke company will be more than 35 children from the Tiffin area.
For tickets and information contact the Ritz at 419-448-8544 or www.ritztheatre.org.
● The Toledo Symphony will conclude its holiday concert season with a 4 p.m. performance at All Saints Church, 628 Lime City Rd., Rossford. Soloists will be mezzo Katie Calcamuggio and baritone Jesse Donner, with Lake narrating. Pollock will conduct. Tickets and information: 419-666-1393.
Contact Sally Vallongo at: firstname.lastname@example.org.