In this week’s Sound Advice we’re previewing some of the most anticipated concerts of the holiday season. Capital Public Radio’s Arts and Theater Critic Jeff Hudson joins us with music ranging from the traditional Ave Maria to a polka rendition of Jingle Bells
"An Irish Christmas" – Nov. 28-29-30 at Harris Center
The Harris Center is bringing back the touring production known as “An Irish Christmas,” which proved popular last year. This year there will be four performances -- the show includes fiddles and pipes, and a lot of jigs and reels and stepdancing.
Cantus – "All Is Calm" - Dec. 5 at Mondavi Center
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I – and in December 1914, there was a very unusual “Christmas Truce,” when the British and German soldiers spontaneously put down their guns for a day, came out of their trenches, and sang carols together. This Christmas Truce is subject of “All Is Calm,” a concert/theater piece by the Minnesota choral group Cantus. Featured are letters and recollections from the soldiers themselves, and music that was popular at the time. Here’s a snippet describing how the truce began, when one of the German soldiers stood up on Christmas Eve and started singing “Silent Night”
Modesto Symphony with Tony DeSare – Dec. 5 and 6 at Gallo Center
The Modesto Symphony is bringing back jazz pianist and musical impersonator Tony DeSare, who brings a lighthearted smirk to his cover versions of “Jingle Bells” in a variety of styles.
American Bach Soloists – “Messiah” – Dec. 14 at Mondavi Center
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the American Bach Soloist’s recording of “Messiah” in the Mondavi Center’s Jackson Hall, back in December 2004.
“A Chanticleer Christmas” – Dec. 17 at Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament
Year after year, this professional 12-voice ensemble from San Francisco puts on one of the classiest Christmas concerts you will find. And every year, they perform Franz Biebl’s setting of “Ave Maria,” which has become the centerpiece of the program.