7 Merry Musical Events
It’s time to get out your fa-la-las. Those looking for a classical take on holiday music should check out the Taghkanic Chorale’s Messiah on December 12 at the Valhalla United Methodist Church, or listen to either the Moscow Boys Choir, which will take on seasonal choral favorites on December 19 at the Paramount Center for the Arts, or the Charis Chamber Ensemble, which will throw carols from Scandinavia in with the holiday favorites by Mendelssohn, Holst, Handel, and Villette on December 5 at Chappaqua’s Church of St. Mary the Virgin. If you’re in more of a jazz-and-pop holiday mood, Barbara Cook headlines the Westchester Philharmonic Winter Pops Concert on December 20 at the Performing Arts Center, or visit the Music Conservatory of Westchester for its faculty Holiday Jazz Concert. If that’s not enough, Grammy Award-winner Al Jarreau performs songs from his most recent holiday album on December 5 at the Paramount. Finally, on December 13 at the School of the Holy Child, A Westchester Christmas throws in a little of everything: traditional Christmas music, jazzy favorites, classical songs, and a seasonal singing of carols—and it’s free.
6 Beautiful Ballets
What would the holiday season be without The Nutcracker? Lucky for us, if we wanted to, we could see a version of the famous Tchaikovsky ballet every weekend in December. From December 4 to 6, watch more than 250 local children pirouetting on stage with the Purchase Dance Corps at the Performing Arts Center. If you’re pressed for time—and, during the holidays, who isn’t?—the New York Theatre Ballet does a one-hour version of the show on December 6 at the Paramount. Both the Westchester Ballet Company’s production on December 18 to 20 at the Westchester County Center, and the Ballet du Monde version on December 22 to 23 at the Tarrytown Music Hall, borrow expert dancers from professional companies across the country, and the Yorktown Stage mounts a production with all local dancers from Dance Theatre in Westchester on December 19 and 20. For something completely different, on December 11 and 12 at the Irvington Town Hall Theater, the Sleepy Hollow Performing Artists updates the ballet by putting its own hip-hop spin on the classic story.
5 Bountiful Boutiques
Where can you find that perfect, one-of-a-kind gift? Everywhere. Pick up fine pottery and ceramic sculptures at the Clay Holiday Studio Tour and Sale December 3 to 20 at the Clay Art Center, or at the Hudson River Potters Show and Sale at the Eastchester Public Library from December 4 to 6. For other unique objets d’art, try the Pelham Art Center’s Goods & Objects Sale and Exhibition on December 5, or the Mamaroneck Artists Guild’s A Gift of Art sale, which runs through January 2. Or, pick up a little of everything, from table linens to soaps to jewelry, at Stone Barns’s Holiday Vendor Fair.
Sunnyside shows what Christmas was like in 1850.
Photo by Bryan Haffele
4 Historic Houses
Nothing will put you in a holiday mood faster than a candlelight tour of a historic house, with its halls all decked out with
period decorations. On December 12, 19, and 26, both Van Cortlandt Manor and Washington Irving’s Sunnyside show how Christmas was celebrated in the Hudson Valley in the 17th and 18th centuries. Just over the border in Greenwich, the Bush-Holley House has a candlelight tour on December 13 to show off its 1730s-style decorations. The most magical experience just might be the holiday tour at Lyndhurst, at which each room is opulently decorated, inspired by a different fairy tale. Tours run from December 5 to 27.
3 Kids’ Classics
When your kids are climbing the walls from holiday excitement, channel their energies at these events. Let them dance and sing away the extra energy at Groove’s Jingle Jams on December 19, 21, and 22, where they can belt out their favorite holiday songs. On December 5 at the Westchester Italian Cultural Center’s Culinary Workshop for Children, kids can learn how to make yummy stuffoli—and you can make it a yearly tradition. To give them a real sense of accomplishment, let them help break a world record on December 13 when the Chabad of the Rivertowns attempts to build the world’s largest Lego menorah. That should keep them quiet and happy—for a few hours.
2 Dynamic Displays
No need to trek all the way into Manhattan to see the windows at Saks. Instead, visit the Greenburgh Nature Center for its Trains: Your Ticket to the Great Outdoors display, which goes from December 12 to 20. There, the Westchester Model Railroad Club creates both local and exotic scenes with its model trains. To be transported to Italy, visit the Westchester Italian Cultural Center for its Presepio Exhibit through January 6. There, you’ll be able to see a re-creation of the nativity, as well as Italian village life.
1 Crazy Comic
With all of the stress of the holidays, you’re going to need a good laugh. Comic Kevin Meaney returns for his Kevin Meaney Christmas Show on December 4 at the Tarrytown Music Hall. In this annual favorite, Meaney takes his favorite holiday memories—then spins the yarns into comedy gold.