Holiday Happenings 2014

Holiday Happenings 2014

By Frederick Jerant

The performing arts scene in the Lehigh Valley is moving into high gear for the 2014 holiday season. Whether your taste runs to vaudevillian hijinks, classical music, cinematic chestnuts, swingin’ big bands or old time radio, you’re sure to find shows that will help you celebrate the most wonderful time of the year!

The music department of the Cathedral of St. Catherine of Siena, Allentown, presents its annual Christmas concert on November 30 at 3 p.m. in the church. The program mixes classical and contemporary sacred music, performed by the Cathedral Choir, the Living Word, the Vianney Voices (children), Angelorum (women), and the Diocesan Choir. Open to the public; free-will donations accepted.  Info: 610.439.1700.


The Bethlehem Bach Choir presents “My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord,” featuring J. S. Bach’s Cantata 147: Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben; Parsons’ Ave Maria; Stanford’s Magnificat in G; Gawthrop’s Mary Speaks; and C. P. E. Bach’s Magnificat in D. December 6,  8 p.m., First Presbyterian Church of Allentown. and December 7, 4 p.m., First Presbyterian Church of Bethlehem General admission: $35 (Allentown) and $36 (Bethlehem). All student tickets are $9. Order online: bach.org/buy_tickets.php


The Camerata Singers perform Handel’s Messiah on December 13 at 7:30 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, Allentown. Adult preferred seating, $30; seniors, $25. General admission $20, seniors, $15. Students $10, or free with accompanying paid adult. Order via the Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra’s office, 610.434.7811 (10 a.m. – 3 p.m., M-F).


Moravians founded Bethlehem, so it’s quite fitting that the Central Moravian Church offers some superb holiday treats. Music director/organist Rebecca Kleintop Owens begins the Advent season with a mixture of seasonal songs and Moravian hymns. November 29, at 2 p.m. in the sanctuary.  No tickets required; suggested donation is $10. Enjoy songs and hymns performed by guest vocalists, pipe organ and brass choir during the “Moravian Christmas Experience” on December 6 at 1:30 p.m. in the sanctuary. Feel free to sing along! Tickets (at the door only): $15; children 12 and under are free. Call 610.866.5661 for details and additional information about both programs.


The Lehigh Valley Italian American Band’s schedule is packed as full as Santa’s sack – a strolling performance in downtown Bethlehem; accompanying the tree-lighting services in Bethlehem and Milford, New Jersey; and concerts at B’nai B’rith apartments and Luther Crest, among others. The concert band mixes carols and secular music; all performances are free. Concert schedule available at
lvib.wordpress.com/schedule/.


Christmas music and organs go hand-in-hand; check out some of the finest of both at Allen Organ’s holiday shows on December 4, 5, and 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Octave Hall. Staff members perform seasonal favorites in styles ranging from classical to jazz; a local high school choir participates in each show. Tickets are $12, and sell very fast; order them via allenorgan.com/store/concertseries.html.


Touchstone Theatre’s unwraps its 15th new edition of “Christmas City Follies” from December 4-21. Directed by Jp Jordan, the fast-paced, family-friendly show mixes comedy and music, irreverence and sentimentality. Don’t miss the “Shopping Cart Ballet!” Tickets: $25; $15 for students and seniors. Thursdays are pay-as-you-wish at the door. Show times: Thursday – Saturday 8 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. (Special 2 p.m. matinee on December 20 only). Info: 610.867.1689 Tickets: vendini.com.


“Pip the Mouse” helps Santa complete his rounds in the perennial classic “The Mouse Before Christmas” in Allentown’s Liberty Bell Museum from November 28 to January 3. Show times: Monday – Saturday and Sunday, December 14, at 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. The museum also hosts a “Celebrate Like the Dickens” exhibit, in conjunction with Civic Theatre’s silver-anniversary “Christmas Carol.” One admission covers everything: adults, $2; children 5-17, $1; children 4 and under, and museum members are free. 610.435.4232.


ArtsQuest presents a sackful of goodies for Lehigh Valley cinephiles at Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas. Kick off the holiday season by singing along with The Sound of Music on November 15-16 at noon. Stay in the mood by attending Christmas Classic matinees at 1 p.m. – Miracle on 34th Street, November 29; Christmas in Connecticut, December 6; White Christmas, December 13; It’s a Wonderful Life, December 20-21. And get silly with “Holiday Quote-Alongs” at 7:30 p.m. – Planes, Trains and Automobiles, November 19; Elf, December 3; National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, December 10. Info: 610.297.7100 or visit artsquest.org.


Relive the golden age of radio drama with the Pennsylvania Playhouse’s presentation of It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, directed by Zane Bachert.  You’ll serve as the studio audience watching a troupe of actors (handling multiple roles), musicians and production crew assemble to “broadcast” the inspiring story of George Bailey and his guardian angel Clarence Oddbody, AS II. December 5-6; 12-14; 18-21. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m. Info: email [email protected] or call 570.590.7621.


Chug on over to America on Wheels to ooh and aah over many types of model trains (including some made from Legos!) in its multi-gallery “Holiday Train” exhibit from November 23 to January 3. There’s also a musical performance of “The Little Engine That Could” on December 7 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. (reservations suggested).  Bring a new, unwrapped toy for the “Toys for Tots” Mack truck. Museum/exhibit admission: $10, adults; $7, seniors. Ages 13-16, $6; 12 and under are free. Info: 610.432.4200, americaonwheels.org.


Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the Christmas Ghosts come to life in “A Christmas Carol 25,” the silver-anniversary production of the Civic Theatre’s beloved play. The Civic promises “special twists, tricks and surprises” this year… but telling you about them would be naughty! There are 12 performances between December 5 and December 20; visit civictheatre.com for a complete performance and pricing schedule, seating chart and order form.


The Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley presents “The Nutcracker,” accompanied by the South Side Sinfonietta, at Zoellner Arts Center. This is a rare chance to see Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece accompanied by a live orchestra. December 13 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.; December 14 at 2 p.m. For tickets and additional information, Call 610.758.2787, or visit zoellnerartscenter.org.


“Love for the Holidays,” starring the legendary Darlene Love, rocks the Center with a mix of classic Christmas tunes – of course, including “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” – and solid-gold songs from her hit-studded career. Saturday, December 20 at 8 p.m. in Zoellner’s Baker Hall. Tickets are $58 (pit)/$48/$38. Call 610.758.2787, or visit zoellnerartscenter.org.

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