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St. Louis classical music fans get a welcome holiday gift: return of in-person concerts

St. Louis classical music fans get a welcome holiday gift: return of in-person concerts

From the Holiday arts guide: Where to find concerts, theater, lights and other festive events in the St. Louis area series
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Stephane Deneve

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra music director Stéphane Denève

Last year, the pandemic dropped a lump of coal in our collective stocking, canceling all live holiday celebrations on the classical calendar, though many orchestras and organizations made the best of a bad situation by offering online alternatives. Though precautions remain in place, this year we received the best gift of all: being able to gather again to enjoy the many wonderful performances the St. Louis classical community has to offer.

Ambassadors of Harmony

When 8 p.m. Dec. 10-11, 2 p.m. Dec. 11-12 • Where Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center, 1 Touhill Circle • How much $21-$45; proof of COVID-19 vaccination required • More info 314-516-4949; aoh.org

A four-time International Chorus Champions of the Barbershop Harmony Society, the Ambassadors of Harmony are famous for their … well, harmonies, of course, but also their clever use of choreography. The group’s “Sounds of the Season” concert is a perennial favorite. Led by co-directors Jim Henry and Jonny Moroni, this year’s edition, titled “Carol Dickens — A Christmas Charles,” also features gospel singer Callie Day (“America’s Got Talent”) as well as Vocal Spectrum and the Recruits youth chorus.

American Chamber Chorale and Salem Chamber Orchestra

When 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11 • Where Salem United Methodist Church, 1200 South Lindbergh Boulevard • How much Free • More info 314-638-0793; americanchamberchorale.com

The American Chamber Chorale and Salem Chamber Orchestra, led by Stephen Morton, perform “Joy to the World,” featuring traditional carols and modern holiday music. Also on the program is “Winter,” from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons,” featuring violinist Lenora Anop.

Bach Society of St. Louis

When 7:30 p.m. Dec. 23 • Where Powell Symphony Hall, 718 North Grand Boulevard • How much $30-$85; proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test required • More info 314-534-1700; bachsociety.org

Now in his 35th season at the helm, artistic director A. Dennis Sparger leads the Bach Society Chorus and Orchestra in its annual Christmas Candlelight Concert at Powell Symphony Hall. The program features popular carols, Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on Christmas Carols” with Grammy Award-winning baritone Nathan Gunn, and the world premiere of a piece honoring Sparger by Mack Wilberg.

Chamber Music Society of St. Louis

When 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20-21 • Where Sheldon Concert Hall & Art Galleries, 3648 Washington Boulevard • How much $39; proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test required • More info 314-941-6309; metrotix.com

Chamber Music Society’s “Holiday Hoopla” concert will be presented twice in person at the Sheldon with a virtual concert available Dec. 28. The program includes Schiassi’s Symphony in D Major, Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on Greensleeves,” Charpentier’s “Noels sur les intruments,” and Handel’s Overture from “Judas Maccabeus,” among other offerings.

Gateway Men’s Chorus

When 8 p.m. Dec. 10-11 • Where St. Paul United Church of Christ, 3510 Giles Avenue • How much $25; proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test required • More info gmcstl.org

The Gateway Men’s Chorus, led by artistic director Jon Garrett, kicks off its 35th anniversary season with its “Silent Nights & Candlelight” concert, which features joyous holiday music from all cultures.

Masterworks Chorale & Children’s Choruses

When 7 p.m. Dec. 12 • Where St. Peter’s Cathedral, 200 West Harrison Street, Belleville • How much $10-$20 • More info 618-791-7122; singmasterworks.org

Masterworks Chorale & Children’s Choruses present “Christmas at the Cathedral,” under the direction of Stephen Mager. The program includes Benjamin Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols,” featuring harpist Megan Stout and organist Martin Cooper.

Opera Theatre of St. Louis

When 6 p.m. Dec. 12 • Where St. Louis Club, 16th floor, 7701 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton • How much $300; proof of COVID-19 vaccination required • More info 314-963-4223; opera-stl.org

Opera Theatre of St. Louis hosts its Annual Holiday Celebration, a benefit for its nationally recognized young artist programs. The event features food, festive decor, and a performance by soprano Raquel González and pianist Sandra Geary.

St. Louis Chamber Chorus

When 3 p.m. Dec. 19 • Where Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, 5020 Rhodes Avenue • How much $40; proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test required • More info 636-458-4343; chamberchorus.org

International travel still being a mixed bag, a musical journey might be just the thing. For St. Louis Chamber Chorus’ “A Swedish Christmas,” composer-in-residence Mårten Jansson’s piece “Missa Popularis” will be performed, as will Jansson’s arrangements of popular carols, plus a new piece written for the occasion.

St. Louis Children’s Choirs

When 2 p.m. Dec. 11 • Where J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts, 2300 West Clay Avenue • How much $15-$36 • More info 314-993-9626; slccsing.org

Sporting 300 voices (ages 6 to 18), the St. Louis Children’s Choirs perform holiday songs from around the world in a program titled “Light of the World.” Guest vocalist Peter Meredith joins the features choirs, which include Music Makers, Children’s Choir 1B, Concert Choir and Young Men’s Chorus.

St. Louis Philharmonic

When 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3 • Where Purser Auditorium, 1851 Schoettler Road • How much $20 • More info 314-421-3600; stlphilharmonic.org

The St. Louis Philharmonic, under the direction of Darwin Aquino, presents its Holiday Pops Concert, a festive evening of orchestral favorites for the whole family.

St. Louis Symphony Orchestra

Where Powell Symphony Hall, 718 North Grand Boulevard • How much Prices vary; proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test required • More info 314-534-1700; slso.org

The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra’s many holiday offerings kick off with “A Gospel Christmas” (7:30 p.m. Dec. 9; $35-$68). Vocalist Oleta Adams joins the orchestra and the In Unison chorus for a soulful celebration.

“The Muppet Christmas Carol in Concert” (2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 11, 2 p.m. Dec. 12; $38.50-$71.50) features Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the other Muppets in their big-screen adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic. The orchestra performs the film’s score live, under the direction of assistant conductor Stephanie Childress.

The will be five performances of the Mercy Holiday Celebration at Powell (2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17-18, 2 p.m. Dec. 19; $30-$66). The perennial favorite includes holiday classics performed by the orchestra and vocalist Denzal Sinclaire. Bob Bernhardt conducts, and Santa Claus himself will put in a special appearance.

Two more performances of the program (7:30 p.m. Dec. 15-16) are offered at Lindenwood College’s J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts.

SLSO music director Stéphane Denève and the orchestra ring in 2022 with two New Year’s Eve concerts (2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 31; $45-$125) that promise musical favorites and great surprises.

Winter Opera St. Louis

When 2 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4 • Where Kirkwood Performing Arts Center, 210 East Monroe Avenue, Kirkwood • How much $35-$55 • More info 314-865-0038; winteroperastl.org

Winter Opera St. Louis’ “Holiday Extravaganza” promises a night filled with holiday songs, classic opera and ballet. Among the works performed are selections from “The Nutcracker” and Act II of “La Boheme.” Baritone Michael Nansel, soprano Megan Barrera, a local children’s chorus and Ballet 314 are featured. St. Louis native Scott Schoonover conducts. Later in the month, the program “Holidays on the Hill,” featuring performances and a four-course dinner, takes place at Dominic’s on the Hill.

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