It's time again for our annual Christmas concert preview. And as usual there are plenty of seasonal events to choose from.
The "season" actually backs up into November, but this listing will concentrate on those which actually occur in December.
The month starts up with a blast from "Hark Up" with four performances Fri-Sun Dec. 1-3 at DeVos Center for Arts and Worship at Grand Rapids Christian High School.
The Hark Up organization's presentation this year ("He Came Down") brings back the core of its past talent. Anchored by the Hark Up Horns Big Band, Choir and talented soloists, the audio-visual treat also features several dance ensembles, the Unity High School String Ensemble and the Hudsonville Christian Middle School Children's Choir. The entire cast approaches 300 persons.
"Dance Dimensions is new this year," said director Chris Hansen of the competitive dance troupe which is preparing a couple of "avant–garde" numbers.
At least one selection from this year's show borrows the melodic structure and rap elements from the Broadway smash "Alexander Hamilton" for something called "Jesus Christ of Nazereth." The Disney "Circle of Life" theme from the film "The Lion King" is also transformed into a telling of Jesus' birth. Watch their video trailer for 2017 online.
Offered are 3pm matinees on Sat. and Sun. with 7:30pm curtain times Fri. and Sat. Tickets range from $12 to $65. For info visit http://dcaw.org/events.php?eid=136
LET THE MUSIC CONTINUE
The Amy Grant-Michael W. Smith tandem is hosting a huge Christmas concert 7:30pm Sun. Dec. 10 in Van Andel Arena. A full orchestra accompanies the artists. Tickets available online.
The folk-pop duo Over the Rhine performs "An Acoustic Christmas" at 8pm Sat. Dec. 2 in the Calvin College Chapel. A longtime Calvin favorite, the ensemble is expected to draw from its several Christmas albums, including "Blood Oranges in the Snow. Tickets $20 general admission available online.
The "Christmas is Coming" tour features singer-songwriter Jason Gray at 6pm Sun. Dec. 3 at Fremont Wesleyan Church in Fremont. Also on the bill are Chris August and Hannah Kerr. General admission tickets are $15, available online or by phone at 800-965-9324.
Turning Pointe School of Dance presents "The Promise is Jesus" 7 pm Dec. 8-9 and 15-16 at Knickerbocker Theatre, on 8th St. in downtown Holland. All the music for this performance is drawn from classical and contemporary Christmas carols. Matinees at 2 p.m. on Dec. 9 and 16. Advance tickets are $16 students, $20 adults slightly higher at the door. Tickets online or by phone at 616-395-7890.
"A Holiday Evening with Nichole Nordeman" is set for 7pm Thur. Dec. 7 at Ridge Point Community Church, 340 104th Ave. Holland. General admission tickets are $20. Available online or by phone at 800-965-9324.
On stage, Master Arts Theatre presents "The Other Wiseman" at 7:30pm Dec. 15-16 at MAT, 75 77th St. SW. The one-man play, featuring theater executive director Tim VanBuggen, is accompanied by music from singer-songwriter Stuart Jones. There is also a matinee at 2 p.m. Sat. Dec. 16. There is no admission charge, a freewill offering will be received for the new building fund. For tickets visit online.
"Christmas Night Live (CNL)" – A live comedy sketch show is set for 7:30pm Fri. Dec. 15 at Grace For The Nations Church, 3333 Kraft Ave. SE. General admission is $15. Call for tickets/info 616-974-9128.
"Christmas at Calvary" – Although not reprising its "Festival of Lights" this year, the newly remodeled church (707 E. Beltline NE, Grand Rapids) presents choir, orchestra and drama for a Christmas celebration at 7pm Dec. 15; and 3 and 7pm Dec. 16. Tickets are $5 and are available online at www.mycalvarygr.org
A COUPLE OF OTHER NOTABLES
"The Bethlehem Experience" is set for the evenings of Fri-Sun. Dec. 8-10 at Jenison Bible Church, 6360 14th Ave. Hudsonville. You can experience scenes from the ancient city of Bethlehem in a stroll through the church building, and then outdoors for a live Nativity display. Ornament-making craft for kids. Refreshments available. No admission charge. Runs from dusk until 8pm each evening. For more information visit www.jenisonbible.org
Berean Baptist Church, 1574 Coit Ave. NE, is hosting a "First Christmas in Heaven" memorial service for those who have lost loved ones lost during the past year. It's set for 7pm Mon. Dec. 18 and admission is free. You can have your loved one remembered in the simple yet meaningful service with an RSVP by Dec. 8 at www.firstchristmasinheaven.com. Dessert reception follows. For more info call 361-2613.
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