|Not-So-Silent Nights: Holiday Concerts in the Quad Cities and Surrounding Areas|
|Music - Feature Stories|
|Written by Mike Schulz|
|Monday, 19 November 2012 06:00|
Our area’s roster of holiday-themed concerts, which began with November 17’s annual Holiday Pops at the i wireless Center, will continue at the Moline venue with November 30’s 12 Gifts of Christmas, a New Anthem presentation emceed by Lisa Whelchel of The Facts of Life fame and showcasing performances by, among others, contemporary Christian artists and Grammy Award winners Steven Curtis Chapman and Laura Story.
Those are impressive headliners. But when it comes to gifts of a musical nature, 12 is really low-balling it; the Quad Cities and its neighboring burgs will actually be hosting more than two dozen holiday concerts between November 30 and December 22, among them even more engagements featuring nationally beloved singers and musicians.
For country-music fans, performers don’t get much more beloved than Wynonna (Judd, that is), and the chart-topping singer will share songs of the season in her forthcoming Wynonna’s Rockin’ Christmas concerts at the Riverside Casino & Event Center (December 8 and 9). One day prior to Wyonna’s area arrival, an internationally acclaimed jazz and R&B chanteuse will take the Riverside stage in her touring show Dianne Reeves: Christmas Time Is Here (December 7), an event in Hancher Auditorium’s Visiting Artists Series. And heading north to Cedar Rapids, not only will CSPS/Legion Arts deliver a night with the Celtic talents of Irish Christmas in America (December 2), but the city’s Paramount Theatre will host a trio of holiday treats: the music-and-dance magic of Orchestra Iowa’s Holiday Spectacular (December 15 and 16), seasonal piano tunes with Jim Brickman: On a Winter’s Night (December 22), and even more ivory-tickling – blended with spirited vocalizing – in Jim McDonough & His Orchestra & Singers: Holiday Grande (December 9).
After the pianist’s Cedar Rapids stop, Davenport’s Adler Theatre will also play host to Jim McDonough & His Orchestra & Singers: Holiday Grande (December 15), while Rock Island’s Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse houses a touring sensation of its own, offering two performances with the musical and comedic show-stoppers of Branson on the Road: Christmas Style (December 13 and 14). The theatre’s sister venue, the Circa ’21 Speakeasy, will present a holiday-tune cabaret that finds members of the Miracle on 34th Street cast and Circa ’21’s wait staff of Bootleggers celebrating Christmas at the Speakeasy (December 6). Galesburg’s Orpheum Theatre, meanwhile, hosts a family-friendly concert headlining actual blood-relation musicians – a whopping nine of ’em – in the touring production The Lowe Family: Christmas Spectacular (December 15).
Yet there will also be plenty of homegrown musical talent on display this season, starting with the Orpheum’s vocal-ensemble showcase Choral Dynamics: Christmas Around the World (November 30 through December 2). The following weekend will find a troupe of area crooners entertaining guests at Colona’s Lavender Crest Winery in the annual Christmas with the Quad City Singers presentations (December 7 and 8). And the weekend after that, the professional vocal ensemble the Nova Singers will perform its annual A Nova Christmas concerts – one at Galesburg’s First Lutheran Church (December 15) and the other at Davenport’s St. Paul Lutheran Church (December 14).
Another of the city’s churches gets into the holiday-concert spirit when Davenport’s First Presbyterian Church hosts five separate choirs in its 23rd-annual seasonal offering, this one titled I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (December 15). Across town, the German American Heritage Center will follow its participatory, family-oriented Christmas Carol Sing-Along (December 1) with the joyous, string-filled sounds of the Davenport Zither Ensemble Holiday Concert (December 2), while Rock Island's Church of Peace welcomes guest flutist Walter Haedrich in its Candlelight Christmas Concert (December 6). If, however, you’re looking for holiday music of a more bluegrass-y nature, you’re sure to find it in the Iowa Theatre Artists Company presentations of The Great Bluegrass Herons Acoustic Christmas Concert (December 14 through 16), events preceded at that Amana-based venue by the annual delights of Lynne Rothrock’s Christmas Cabaret (December 7 through 9).
But our area’s student choirs aren’t about to let adults bogart all the holiday-music fun, as you’ll see when the Bettendorf Public Library hosts the Bettendorf Middle School Holiday Concert (December 13), and the Moline Public Library treats visitors to the Moline High School Chamber Choir’s Songs of the Season (December 14). Older students will showcase their vocal gifts in the First Congregational Church of Moline’s presentation of the Black Hawk College Holiday Choral Concert (December 6), while both student vocalists and instrumentalists display their musical prowess at Davenport’s St. Ambrose University in the annual SAU Christmas Showcase (December 7).
And wrapping up the holiday-concert season at my alma mater, Rock Island’s Augustana College has no fewer than three annual events on its docket: the vocal- and instrumental-music blend of Christmas at Augustana (November 30 and December 1), the story of Christ’s birth told in the readings and songs of Lessons & Carols (December 13), and the Handel Oratorio Society’s seasonal presentation of Handel’s iconic The Messiah (December 8 and 9). A seasonal masterpiece performed by more than 250 voices? That seems plenty worthy of a “Ha-a-a-allelujah!”
For more information on our area’s holiday concerts, see the Music section of our online calendar of events.
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