Sounds of the season
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and that means everyone and their cousin is practiced up and presenting some must-see concerts in the region. Here’s a look at just a few of the holiday concerts planned this season with national and regionally touring acts.
Nat King Cole chestnuts roasting with a symphonic fire at the Keith-Albee
What’s better than two-time Grammy winner Gregory Porter firing up some of those tasty and unforgettable Nat King Cole classics? Porter doing all that with a 60-piece orchestra.
The Marshall Artists Series, which has reeled in everyone from Kathy Mattea to Wynton Marsalis to usher in the holidays, brings in another internationally-renowned performer as soulful jazz singer-songwriter, Gregory Porter brings his tribute to Nat King Cole at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center stage at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4 alongside a 60-piece orchestra.
Porter kicks off the holiday season by paying tribute to one of the all-time greats, Nat King Cole. Through his most recent album Nat King Cole & Me, Porter revisits some of Cole’s most cherished classics such as “Smile,” “L-O-V-E,” “Nature Boy,” and “The Christmas Song.” Porter will also perform some holiday favorites as well.
Tickets for Gregory Porter are $76. $57 and 38. Contact the Marshall Artists Series Box Office at 304-696-6656 or order tickets online at Ticketmaster.com. You may also visit the box office in the Joan C. Edwards Playhouse from noon to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
A Symphonic Christmas in historic Gallipolis
The Ohio Valley Symphony will celebrate its Christmas concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 at the historic Ariel Opera House. Under the direction of Guest Conductor Steven Huang The Christmas Show will be a lovely mix of holiday classics and songs of the season to warm your heart and fill your senses.
The evening begins with a pre-concert chat at 6:45 led by Huang, who is also director of orchestras at Ohio University. His casual style of presenting the background of the music played is entertaining, informative and fun.
Traditional music such as Winter (from the Seasons) and the Pas de Deux from the Nutcracker will be transition into more popular tunes such as Merry Christmas Darling, The Twelve Gifts of Christmas and Let it Go from Frozen. Mel Kali-kimaka, made famous by Bing Crosby is also on the program.
Vocalists Melissa Brobeck and Kelly Burns Ohio University colleagues of Maestro Steven Huang, join the OVS for some of the popular songs of the season.
There’s also a post concert reception to meet the musicians, have some grog (punch) and some tasty seasonal treats.
Tickets are $24, $22 seniors and $12 for students. The price includes the pre-concert chat, the concert and the reception immediately following. Tickets are available on the website at ohiovalleysymphony.org or at the box office.
A honky Tonk Holidays
Black Sheep Stage hosts The Honky Tonk Heroes annual Honky Tonk Holidays fund-raising toy drive.
That concert is set for 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 with a host of regionally traveling country and Americana acts including: Laid Back Country Picker, Flat Tracker, The Local Honeys, Sean Whiting, James Scott Bullard and Westwood Troubadours.
Go online at https://www.facebook.com/realhonkytonk/ to find out more about the Honky Tonk Heroes who are also doing Christmas fundraising concerts in Lexington, and in Missouri.
Celebrate Christmas with Grant and Gokey
Now in its third year, Dove Award winning and Grammy nominated contemporary Christian artists Natalie Grant and Danny Gokey will ring in the holiday season together for the third year in a row as they co-bill their popular Celebrate Christmas Tour, presented by Compassion International.
Following a successful run of Christmas dates in 2016 and 2017 where they performed for multiple sell-out crowds, Grant and Gokey will once again share the stage each night in a fully integrated set.
Launching Nov. 29, the Celebrate Christmas Tour is hitting 12 cities across the U.S., including stops in Minnesota, Maryland, Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia and more, wrapping up on Dec. 15. The concert tour stops by the Paramount Arts Center on Saturday, Dec. 8.
Under the musical direction of Grammy-winning songwriter/producer Bernie Herms (Josh Groban, Barbra Streisand, Casting Crowns, Natalie Grant, Danny Gokey) the Celebrate Christmas Tour features Grant and Gokey in a collaborative setting as they perform a combination of Christmas classics along with selections from Grant’s critically-acclaimed, soulful-tinged Christmas project “Believe,” and Gokey’s Dove Award-winning album, “Christmas Is Here.”
Early pre-sale tickets are available in some markets at CelebrateChristmasTour.com.
Huntington orchestra shares a bluegrass holiday concert
In years past, the Huntington Symphony Orchestra has celebrated the holidays with musical flavors that have ranged from Broadway and Motown to Hollywood.
This year, the HSO is celebrating the holidays with the original American music of Bluegrass, as they welcome in the globe-trotting Berea, Ky.-based, McLain Family Band for its holiday concert.
Tickets are on sale now for the holiday concert set for Saturday, Dec. 15 at the historic Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center with HSO, the 55-member-strong symphony under the direction of Kimo Furumoto.
Tickets for A Bluegrass Holiday Concert are $45, $35, $20 and $15 and are now on sale at the HSO office at 763 Third Ave., by calling 304-781-8343 or by going online at http://huntingtonsymphony.org/.
The McLain Family Band has carried the tradition of bluegrass music around the world for the past 50 years. During the years 1968-1990, they performed in all 50 states and 62 countries during 14 international concert tours, some as musical ambassadors of the U.S. Department of State. The McLain Family Band played at the Grand Ole Opry, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Lincoln Center and the Carter Fold.
Go online at https://www.mclainfamilyband.com/ to find out more about the McLain Family Band and go online at http://huntington-symphony.org/ to find out more about the Huntington Symphony Orchestra.
Rhythm and blues on the river
Up river, the Point Pleasant River Museum, which suffered a damaging July 1 fire, is teaming up with “America’s Got Talent” winner and West Virginia native Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. for a Home for the Holidays Fundraising concert at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20 at the Point Pleasant High School. Tickets are on sale now by calling Ruth or Martha Fout at 304-674-0144.
Proceeds from the concert will benefit the river museum. All seats will be reserved seats so call today to get your seat.
The sounds of Christmas
The Bellefonte Country Club in Ashland is hosting the 16th annual Sounds of Christmas benefit dinner and silent auction on Saturday, Dec. 15.
The event starts with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m., a gourmet dinner at 7 p.m., and followed by live music of the season with Larry Pancake, followed by dancing and fun.
Since 2003, the Sounds of Christmas event has helped distribute more than $250,000 to area non-profit agencies including Hope’s Place, Ironton City Mission, Ashland Alliance Backpack program, Shelter of Hope, Lily’s Place and others.
Tickets are $100 and there are also event sponsorships available. Call 606-923-0670 or 606-329-1007.
Kentucky Opry Christmas
The 2018 Season for Billie Jean Osborne’s Kentucky Opry Christmas kicks off with its premier performance on Saturday, Dec. 1 in the Willard and Lucy Kinzer Theater of the Mountain Arts Center (MAC), the Prestonsburg venue that has been home to the Opry since the facility opened in 1996.
The cast and crew have already been busy working on themes, songs, and medleys for this year’s holiday production. Wayne County vocalist Rachel Messer, who recently had a run on NBC’s “The Voice,” will be back for her second Christmas season. Fans will also see all of their favorites and even the antics of comedian “Munroe.”
Kentucky Opry producer and emcee Clayton Case notes that the cast is eager to get back on stage.
“I get so excited when our creative team comes together to build and create a new show,” Case remarks. “This cast, band, and crew never cease to amaze with the pure talent, work ethic, and creativity they exhibit year after year.”
Opening night for Billie Jean Osborne’s Kentucky Opry Christmas will be Saturday, Dec. 1. Other performances are: Dec. 7 (two shows on Dec. 8, Dec. 9 and Dec. 14-15.
Tickets range from $12 to $16 and can be purchased by visiting www.macarts.com, by phone at 1-888-M AC ARTS, or the MAC Box Office.
David Phelps anniversary tour
Renowned contemporary Christian artist David Phelps is known the world over as a solo artist as well as a member of the Gaither Vocal Band.
Phelps, who has a vocal range of more than three octaves, has been bringing his Christmas tour to the Paramount Arts Center by popular demand. This year’s concert is set for 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21. Tickets are $25 (balcony), $35 main floor, $40 box seat and $45 for table seats.
For more than 15 years, David served as a member of the popular and prestigious Gaither Vocal Band, and during that time received numerous Dove Awards, Grammy Awards, and multiple platinum-selling recording projects. As a solo artist, he received 2009 Dove Award nominations for Male Vocalist of the Year and Long Form Video for the Christmas DVD, O Holy Night to add to his many awards and honors.
Go online at http://para-mountartscenter.com/ or call 606-324-0007 for tickets.
Harry Connick Jr. holiday edition at the Clay Center
Head over to the Clay Center in Charleston where the sweet sounds of New Orleans come blowing in from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2 as Harry Connick performs.
Harry Connick Jr.’s career has exemplified excellence across multiple platforms in the entertainment world. He has received Grammy and Emmy awards as well as Tony nominations for his live and recorded musical performances, his achievements in film and television and his appearances on Broadway as both an actor and a composer.
The foundation of Connick’s art is the music of his native New Orleans, where he began performing as a pianist and vocalist at the age of 5. To honor his beloved hometown, which turns 300 this year, Connick and his band have been performing in the US on his “A New Orleans Tricentennial Celebration” tour.
Tickets are $62 to $118. Go online at https://www.theclay-center.org/event/harry-con-nick-jr-a-new-orleans-tri-centennial-celebration-holi-day-edition/
Bob Thompson’s Joy to the World
West Virginia Music Hall of Fame Pianist Bob Thompson returns with 26th edition of Joy to the World, featuring guest-vocalist Paula Cole with two shows, at 8 p.m. Thursday Dec. 13 and 8 p.m. Friday Dec. 14, featuring special guest Paula Cole. Produced by West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Joy to the World is heard nationally on radio stations across the country, and seen on the television networks of WVPB. The concerts will once again emanate from the Culture Center Theater on the state capitol grounds in Charleston.
Advance tickets are $25 and $30 day of show if not sold out. They are available online, by calling 877-987-6487 or locally at Taylor Books, 226 Capitol St. in Charleston.