Holiday Concert Guide: Winter 2010

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Paige Weaver’

There’s a special place in my heart for the winter concert season.  In this, our darkest time of year, we band together to bring light and life to our evenings, and to provide joy in what is our coldest, loneliest time of year.  Since I was small, this time of year has meant choral concerts of the music of the season.  DC has a plethora of amazing choirs, and you can have you pick of any of easily two dozen concerts over the next three weeks.  If we had to align a calendar to make all of the events, here’s what it would look like:

December 4th, 2010
Echos: An International Christmas
7pm at Falls Church Presbyterian Church
Tickets: $25-40 available online

Gretchen Kuhrmann’s chamber choir Echos (said Ee-kos) will start this season off right.  Tight harmony and excellent blend are this group’s hallmarks, and the programming of this show will highlight British, French and German composers with lush harmonics and textures, another of Kuhrmann’s specialties.  Grab dinner at Mad Fox Brewing Company up the road after the show, and revel in the Christmas spirit.

December 5th, 2010
The Washington Revels
2pm at Lisner Auditorium
Tickets: $18-45 available online

The Washington Revels’ Christmas shows are some of DC’s finest Christmas traditions, with mummers’ plays, period instruments and traditional carols and dancing, and Lisner Auditorium at GW is a great place to see this amazing Christmas treat.  The Revels are part play, part concert, and a tremendous value.  This year’s will “take place” in Thomas Hardy’s Mellstock, a 19th century English village in Wessex, which should be a real treat, as they’re featuring a true village band.  Get thee to the mummery!

Also Performing on:
December 4th at 2pm and 7:30pm
December 11th at 2pm and 7:30pm
December 12th at 1pm and 5pm

Washington Men’s Camerata
4pm at Church of the Epiphany
Tickets: $25 available online

One of my favoritest things about Christmas is the a capella men’s choir concert.  Frank Albinder’s Washington Men’s Camerata is a particular joy this season.  Their concert at Church of the Epiphany is in one of DC’s most unique sonic spaces, so be sure to get good seats.  Their subsequent performances are at Fairlington Methodist, and at Bradley Hills Presbyterian, so if you’re partial to the Epiphany Church, this is your only shot.

Also Performing on:

December 4th at 8pm
December 12th at 4pm

Photo courtesy of
‘Epiphany and Modernity’
courtesy of ‘Rich Renomeron’

December 10th, 2010

8pm at Falls Church Presbyterian Church
Tickets: $25-40 available online

This 80-voice choir will knock your socks off in the small space at Falls Church Presbyterian. Couple that with the facility’s brand new digital organ and a classic brass quintet and you’ve got a great evening full of family traditions.  Look also for the high school choir scholarship students with the raffle tickets, you could end up conducting the ensemble if you win their annual raffle.

Also Performing on:

December 11th at 5pm with Choralis Cantus Youth Choir

December 11th, 2010
Folger Consert, with guest The Tallis Scholars
8pm at Gaston Hall
at Georgetown
Tickets: $30-50 available online

This is one concert that I will not miss under any circumstances.  The Tallis Scholars are probably one of the world’s finest singing groups of any kind, and certainly number one in Renaissance choral music.  That they’re performing with Folger Consort in “A Renaissance Christmas” has me positively giddy.

Also Performing on:
December 10th, 2010 at 8pm
December 12th, 2010 at 2pm and 5pm

December 12th, 2010
Cathedral Choral Society
4pm at Washington Cathedral
Tickets: $25-85 available online

J. Reilly Lewis is one of DC’s foremost classical music scholars, and his choir is one of the most outstanding that I’ve ever had the pleasure to sing with.  His 160-voice chorus is simply the best of that size in the District.  We congratulate Maestro Lewis on his 25th year with CCS, and it appears that the organization is celebrating, as they’ve commissioned British brass composer Bob Chilcott to write a carol for the concert.  Get there early, though, for this show they’re having a prelude concert by the Royal Symphonic Band of the Belgian Guides under the baton of Yves Seghers perform at 3:15.  The Cathedral is one of DC’s most amazing acoustic spaces, and it provides significant insight into whatever is being performed in its deeply sonorous and resonant space.

Also Performing on:
Saturday, December 11, 2010 at noon (matinee, all seats $25)
Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 4pm

Photo courtesy of
‘Gay Mens Chorus of Washington DC’
courtesy of ‘dbking’

December 17th, 2010
Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington present Men in Tights: A Pink Nutcracker
8pm at Lisner Auditorium
Tickets: $25-50 available online

This promises to be an absolute riot.  The GMCW has an earned reputation for amazing stage shows, and their choir is a top-drawer pull, so a performance of The Nutcracker? Yeah, sign me right up, and I’ll be there.  As they say, “Our holiday fantasia arrives complete with the Sugar Plum Fairy, lots of vodka and, of course, sexy men in tights.”  Rock on.

Also Performing on:
December 18th at 3pm and 8pm
December 19th at 3pm

December 18th, 2010
Children’s Chorus of Washington

4pm at National City Christian Church
Tickets: $25-50 available online

While Children’s Choruses aren’t my favorite Christmas concert, these guys put on a great show, according to one friend of We Love DC, who’s attended each of their last few Christmas events.  The 170 children from ages 9 through 18 split into three choirs, and this show will feature their Bel Canto and Concert choruses.

Also Performing on:
Sunday, December 19 at 4 p.m.

Photo courtesy of
‘The Kennedy Center’
courtesy of ‘Paul Frederiksen’

December 22nd, 2010
The Washington Chorus

7pm at The Kennedy Center Concert Hall
Tickets: $15-65 available online

In their 50th season, the Washington Chorus is one of DC’s mainstay organizations, and their Candlelight Christmas is one of the city’s favorite holiday showcases.  200 voices, a brass ensemble, and the Kennedy Center’s magnificent organ, where can you possibly go wrong? Fairfax’s Woodson High School choir will also make an appearance.

Also Performing on:
December 18th at 1pm
December 19th at 7pm
December 20th at 7pm
December 21st at 7:30pm (At Strathmore)

December 23rd, 2010
Kennedy Center House Orchestra
8pm at Kennedy Center
Tickets: Free, tickets in person only at 6pm

Get out your score and take a half-day to go stand in line to get tickets to this one.  Tickets are only available the day of the show, one per person in line, starting at 6pm.  There will be a 200-voice choir on the stage, as well as a wonderful orchestra and organist.  This is an incredibly fun event that I’ve had the pleasure of participating in twice in the last decade, and both times it’s been a memorable experience.  Händel’s masterwork oratorio is certainly meant for sharing, and this is a perfect chance.  Just remember: bundle up and go early to wait for tickets, they really are gone in seconds.

December 24th, 2010
Washington Choral Arts Society
1pm at Kennedy Center
Tickets: $15-65 available online

The granddaddy of them all is reserved for last. Norman Scribner’s Washington Choral Arts Society is impossible to ignore this time of year, and in what is one of his last Christmases with the organization before his requirement, I’d expect nothing less than a bravura performance from the 180-voice choir. Their antiphonal concert last winter knocked me on my behind, and I suspect their Christmas concert will do the same.

Also Performing on:
December 18th at 1pm
December 19th at 7pm
December 20th at 7pm
December 21st at 7:30pm

I live and work in the District of Columbia. I write at We Love DC, a blog I helped start, I work at Technolutionary, a company I helped start, and I’m happy doing both. I enjoy watching baseball, cooking, and gardening. I grow a mean pepper, keep a clean scorebook, and wash the dishes when I’m done. Read Why I Love DC.

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4 thoughts on “Holiday Concert Guide: Winter 2010

  1. Also, on December 11th at 8:00 PM, the Alexandria Choral Society hosts their holiday concert. (DISCLOSURE – I’m a member.) Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at our website, We’ll be singing Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Christmas Carol, a few choruses from Handel’s Messiah, Ives’ Christmas Carol, two carols composed by local students (one in 11th grade, the other in 5th), and more!


    LOCATION: Kennedy Center – Grand Foyer – Millenium Stage

  3. Sunday, December 5, 2010, 4 pm

    ‘Tis the Season

    WT Woodson High School
    9525 Main Street
    Fairfax, VA 22031

    Take an afternoon break from the hustle and bustle of the season and enjoy a wintry mix of holiday favorites presented by the Main Street Community Band.

    Bring a non-perishable food item to donate to Food for Others—feeding families in Northern Virginia.

    Admission is free. Tickets are required. Reserve tickets using the print-and-mail order form. Ticket requests should be addressed and mailed to The City of Fairfax Band Holiday Concert Tickets, P.O. Box 1306, Fairfax, VA 22038-1306.