St Nick comes tonight, and he’s bringing more holiday musical goodies for Milwaukee!
For the week of December 6-12…
Prometheus Trio, December 5 & 6, Bader Recital Hall, 1584 N Prospect Ave (wcmusic.org)
Wisconsin Conservatory of Music’s annual Festival of Music and Trees is underway, and their resident faculty Piano Trio is part of the festivities with their traditional December performances on Monday and Tuesday. The program includes music of Haydn, Dohnanyi and Faure, and as a special treat, guest violist Wendy Richman will be joining these intrepid performers for the occasion! So step inside from the winter chill, view the beautifully decorated trees inside the historic Goodrich Mansion, and enjoy some great classical music!
Christmas with the Nelsons, December 6-9, Northern Lights Theater, 1721 W Canal St (paysbig.com/shows)
Following up last week’s great Christmas show with the legendary Ronnie Spector, the Northern Lights Theater continues their holiday offerings when Rick Nelson’s twin sons Matthew and Gunnar return for a four-day residency this week. The boys were MTV stars back in the 90’s whose grandparents are none other than the legendary Ozzie and Harriet! Not surprisingly, the Nelson boys’ show is a down-home family affair, mixing their MTV hits with their renditions of holiday favorites old and new, continuing a precedent set by their dad when he offered his take on the chestnut “The Christmas Song” on his parents’ TV show! Please note their are several matinee performances as well as evening shows available!
Windmills of Your Mind: The Music of Michel Legrand, December 8, Bader Recital Hall, 1584 N Prospect Ave (wcmusic.org)
Wisconsin Conservatory’s Festival of Music and Trees continues with a special program from We Six, the conservatory’s highly-acclaimed resident jazz sextet. The show features the compositions of legendary French composer Michel Legrand, whose roots are in jazz and is also one of the most renowned film composers ever! The sextet puts their spin on classics including “Windmills of Your Mind,” “Watch What Happens,” “You Must Believe in Spring” (very timely!) and “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life,” as well as selections from the film scores from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Summer of ’42, and The Thomas Crown Affair (the 1968 movie starring Steve McQueen). Looks like a special holiday treat in the cozy Bader Recital Hall!
John McGivern’s Holiday Tales, December 10 & 16, Northern Lights Theater, 1721 W Canal St (paysbig.com/shows)
It’s no surprise “Milwaukee’s Historian” John Gurda acts as actor/storyteller John McGivern’s sidekick on the award-winning Milwaukee Public Television series Around the Corner with John McGivern. While Gurda offers historical perspective on the many communities the show visits, “Johnny Mac” offers history of another kind, seen through the prism of pop culture. Rest assured many Milwaukee Christmas memories will be recounted in his new Holiday Tales show set for three more performances at Northern Lights Theater on the 10th and 16th. Come and share in the laughs and nostalgia! Please note this show is different from Home for the Holidays with John McGivern, which was recently shown on Milwaukee Public Television!
The Nutcracker, December 10-27, Marcus Center, 929 N Water St (milwaukeeballet.org)
Milwaukee’s final holiday arts production opens this weekend, and for many, it’s the best. The Milwaukee Ballet’s presentation of Artistic Director Michael Pink’s setting of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece has long been hailed as a classic that’s ideal for kids of all ages! In fact, many return year after year, and for good reason. The live orchestra, the sumptuous sets and costumes, the delightful dancers of MBC and the energetic performers of the Milwaukee Ballet School combine for a show that’s truly irresistible! The only thing left for me to say is, if this is your first encounter with this holiday tradition…Boy, do I envy you!
Holiday for Brass, December 10, Carney Performing Arts Center at Pius XI High School, 135 N 76th Street (mfbrass.org)
Going back to the early days of the Salvation Army, Christmas music and the sounds of a brass band have been intertwined. In that spirit, Milwaukee’s nationally-acclaimed Festival Brass presents their holiday program this Saturday at the splendid Carney Arts Center at Pius High School! In fact, the venue is the studio for MFB’s upcoming debut CD. The album will be ready for release for Christmas 2017, but you can get a preview of what you’ll hear on this disc at the concert since much of the music is on the program! The program opens with a glorious fanfare based on “Adeste Fideles” and mixes traditional and contemporary seasonal music. Also on the program is a performance of the group’s upcoming 2017 Championship Selection, Peter Graham’s Dimensions. Head on over and enjoy the marvelous music…and don’t forget to offer your feedback and suggestions for the CD!
The Sleighriders, December 12, Shank Hall, 1434 N Farwell Ave (shankhall.com)
I’ve been talking a lot about Milwaukee’s many holiday musical traditions. And the group called the Sleighriders is of rather recent vintage; nevertheless, the band that comes to life one night a year has returned annually for over 30 years, making it a true Milwaukee holiday icon! And they’re back this Monday night at their longtime home Shank Hall! Local music legends Xeno and Steve Grimm have spearheaded the project through its entire run, which is a fundraiser for Variety of Wisconsin’s Children’s Charities. Forty musicians fill the stage with classic rock and soul sounds, with legends like Sigmund Snopek III, Steve Cohen, Warren Wiegratz, Eddie Butts and many many more, including the Joe 2.0 String Section! Many people talk about this show, but only those who actually attend really know what they’re talking about! Not to be missed? Are you kidding??
And to wrap it up this week, the Milwaukee Rep has just announced its just-opened spectacular new production of Christmas Carol has already set a box office record for best selling production in its 41 year history! Bottom Line: If you don’t already have your tickets, you best get a move on…You don’t want to wind up exclaiming “Bah Humbug” with Scrooge!