Holiday Arts Guide: From Blenders to Brickman, music traditions continue online
Nearly all of this year’s holiday concerts are virtual, but many familiar faces both local (the Blenders, Lorie Line, the SPCO) and national (Jim Brickman, Trans-Siberian Orchestra) have planned online events to keep holiday traditions going during the pandemic. Here’s a look at what’s on tap.
Save Christmas with The Blenders
Vocal group the Blenders used Kickstarter to fund a series of seven fully produced videos featuring the foursome singing holiday favorites backed by a live band. They’re releasing a new video each week through December and they’re available for free viewing on the group’s YouTube and Facebook pages.
The Hook and Ladder
The Hook and Ladder is sponsoring a trio of online holiday concerts featuring local favorites including Sarah Morris and the Sometimes Elves (8 p.m. Dec. 4; free on Facebook), Davina and the Vagabonds (8 p.m. Dec. 5; $15) and the Belfast Cowboys (8 p.m. Dec. 19; $15). thehookmpls.com.
Actress and singer Vanessa Williams will perform a mix of Broadway show tunes and pop songs while she shares stories from her career and personal life in this special event. It’ll be staged live at the Shubert Virtual Studios in Manhattan at 7 p.m. Dec. 5 and at-home audience members can email in questions to be answered during the livestream. Tickets are $30 and include access to the livestream and an additional 72 hours of on-demand viewing. A portion of the proceeds support Hennepin Theatre Trust. hennepintheatretrust.org.
Choral music group VocalEssence has a pair of streaming holiday events. The first streams at 5 p.m. Dec. 6 and celebrates Christmases past and present in new performances by the VocalEssence Chorus and Ensemble Singers. Tickets are $15 and include on-demand streaming. At 10 a.m. Dec. 12, the group will stream “Family: Story and Song” for free on YouTube. It’s designed for preschool kids and older. The VocalEssence Singers of This Age, the group’s youth choir, now has a performance online that includes songs, spoken word and poetry from winter celebrations around the world. Tickets are $15. vocalessence.org.
Pianist Lorie Line has been playing Christmas music live for 30 years, but this season she’s performing from her own home during a concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 10. Tickets are $30 and include on-demand screenings of the show through the end of December. lorieline.com.
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
The Ordway will stream several holiday concerts online, including “Christmas with Cantus: Lessons and Carols for Our Time” (7:30 p.m. Dec. 11 and 18; $20 suggested contribution); “A Virtually Celtic Christmas” (7:30 p.m. Dec. 18; $50-$25); and Sounds of Blackness presents “The Night Before Christmas: In Concert” (Dec. 19-31; $15). ordway.org.
Grammy-nominated romantic piano sensation Jim Brickman will perform holiday classics and his own seasonal hits (“The Gift,” “Sending You a Little Christmas,” “If You Believe”) at 9 p.m. Dec. 11. Tickets are $40 (YouTube link to watch the concert live), $75 (which adds Christmas gifts delivered by mail and a chance to interact with Brickman on Zoom) and $125 (which adds an after-show party with Brickman). A portion of the proceeds support Hennepin Theatre Trust. hennepintheatretrust.org.
The Minnesota Opera will livestream a special holiday concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 13. It’ll be performed live at Ordway Concert Hall and features selections by Richard Rodgers, Irving Berlin, Joni Mitchell, Jeremy Messersmith, Miguel Bernal Jimenez and others. Tickets are $15 suggested and the performance will be available on demand through Dec. 27. mnopera.org.
The Schubert Club will stream “Songs for the Season” at noon Dec. 17. Recorded in 2016, it features carols by Minnesota composers and is free to stream. schubert.org.
Alt-country favorite Lucinda Williams has been streaming a series of full-band, in-studio concerts since October. At 7 p.m. Dec. 17, she’ll perform a series of holiday classics in styles ranging from rock to jazz to the blues. Tickets are $20, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting First Avenue, where Williams got married in 2009. first-avenue.com.
Storyteller Kevin Kling will be joined by the Minnesota Orchestra for “A Midwinter Gathering with Kevin Kling” at 8 p.m. Dec. 18. The evening will feature the orchestra playing seasonal tunes and Kling and other local writers talking about what coming together means in the time of a pandemic. It’s free of charge to stream. minnesotaorchestra.org.
The prog-rock Christmas group typically plays a pair of shows each year at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center. Now, the group is streaming a concert at 8 p.m. Dec. 18 that’ll be available through Dec. 20. Tickets are $30 and there are also package deals available that include merchandise and apparel. tsolivestream.com.
St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
The SPCO has suspended its livestreams due to the pandemic, but it is continuing to add encore performances to its free, on-demand online library. thespco.org.
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres
Assuming Minnesota’s current dialback is lifted after four weeks, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres has several in-person holiday concerts booked at the end of December: Celtic Holiday Hooley (7:30 p.m. Dec. 19 and 21, 1 p.m. Dec. 19, 7 p.m. Dec. 20), Christmas from the Heart (7:30 p.m. Dec. 22-23, 1 p.m. Dec. 23) and An Andy and Bing Christmas (1 p.m. Dec. 26 and 30, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 26, 28-31 and 7 p.m. Dec. 27). Tickets are $58 and $40, with dinner available 90 minutes before the showtime. chanhassendt.com.
Crooners Supper Club
Like CDT, Crooners Supper Club has in-person holiday shows that will happen if the four-week shutdown is lifted. They include Erin Schwab and Jay Fuchs (6 and 9 p.m. Dec. 18; $25), A Crooners Christmas – The Holiday Revue (7 p.m. Dec. 18 and 23; $50-$40), Robert Robinson (4 and 7 p.m. Dec. 20; $50-$40), A Grand Ole Opry Christmas with Mick Sterling (7 p.m. Dec. 22; $50-$40), Happy Holiday with Maud Hixson (5:30 and 8:30 Dec. 26; $25) and Connie Evingson and Jon Weber (5:30 and 8:30 p.m. Dec. 30-31; $50). croonersloungemn.com.