Good tidings we bring – and a list of Vancouver holiday concerts in 2014

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The Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir performs Making Spirits Bright Dec. 12 & 13 at Christ Church Cathedral.

Canada Post was the first out of the gate. The Crown Corporation began airing its commercials for the holiday season sometime back in August, it seems (though it was probably closer to the middle of November). Then Starbucks started playing Christmas music to go along with their eggnog lattes. And now December is upon us and the holiday concert season is in full swing.

Here are a few choices coming this month in Vancouver, from the traditional to the decidedly non-traditional, including a burlesque take on the Nutcracker and an annual salute to the unsinkable Keith Richards.

Christmas with the Tenors (Dec. 2 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 649 Cambie St.) – The Tenors (formerly the Canadian Tenors) perform holiday favourites. Tickets $39/59/89/99 at ticketmaster.ca. Reserved seating/all ages.

The Tenors. Randee St. Nicholas photo.

The Tenors. Randee St. Nicholas photo.

Nightmare Before the Nutcracker (Dec. 5 and 12 at the Rio Theatre, 1660 E. Broadway) – A gothic twist on The Nutcracker told through theatre, circus, burlesque and live music, with a script by writer/circus performer Chris Murdoch and featuring burlesque acts Melody Mangler, Shea DeVille, and Voodoo Pixie. Characters include Sally, Jack Skellington and Oogie Boogie from Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Martians from Mars Attacks, and more. The music of Tchaikovsky and Danny Elfman (we never thought we’d see those two names in the same sentence) is arranged for an eight-piece band by local musician and vocalist Red Heartbreaker. Co-producer and guitarist Blue Morris is known for bringing popular burlesque mash-ups to Vancouver, including Beatles Burlesque and Tarantino Burlesque. Tickets: $25/$30 at riotheatre.ca.

Voodoo Pixie is one of the performers in Nightmare Before the Nutcracker, Dec. 5 and 12 at the Rio Theatre. Jess Desaulniers-Lea photo.

Voodoo Pixie is one of the performers in Nightmare Before the Nutcracker, Dec. 5 and 12 at the Rio Theatre. Jess Desaulniers-Lea photo.

Christmas with the Bach Choir (Dec. 7 at the Orpheum Theatre, 601 Smithe St.) – More than 400 voices from all levels of the Bach Choir family – from the tiny Piccolo Choir (ages 5-7) to the award-winning symphonic adult choir – engage in this afternoon concert of traditional and modern carols, with music direction by Leslie Dala and Marisa Gaetanne. Tickets: $40-90 at vancouverbachchoir.com.

A Traditional Christmas (Dec. 11-14 at St. Andrew’s-Wesley Church, 1012 Nelson St.) – The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra presents its annual holiday cheer, with Bard on the Beach’s Christopher Gaze as host. The concerts also feature the UBC Opera Ensemble and Enchor with the VSO musicians all conducted by the VSO’s Associate Conductor, Gordon Gerrard. Tickets: $42/37 at vancouversymphony.ca.

Good Noise Vancouver Gospel Choir: Making Spirits Bright (Dec. 12 & 13 at Christ Church Cathedral, 690 Burrard St.) – This year’s annual holiday celebration sees the ensemble joined by Canadian fiddle player Daniel Lapp with musicians Michael Kalanij, Laurence Mollerup, Elliot Polsky, and Ingrid Stitt. Tickets: $25/20/10 at brownpapertickets.com or by calling 1.800.838.3006.

A Sumner Brothers Christmas (Dec. 13 at the Rickshaw Theatre, 254 E. Hastings St.) – Local band the Sumner Brothers present an assortment of Vancouver musical talent playing country, folk and rock. Guests for the ninth annual event include The Wild North, Ben Rogers, Twin Bandit, Rob Butterfield, Khari McClelland of The Sojourners, Colleen Rennison of No Sinner and more. Also: a photo opp with The Sumner Brothers’ famous Drunk Santa. Tickets: $10 advance/$12 at door at rickshawtheatre.com.

The Sumner Brothers present their annual Holiday Extravaganza Dec. 13.

The Sumner Brothers present their annual Holiday Extravaganza Dec. 13.

Keithmas V (Dec. 19 at Electric Owl, 928 Main St.) – A fundraiser featuring local musicians performing Rolling Stones and Keith Richards songs, with money going to the Vancouver Food Bank. Now in its fifth year, Keithmas has featured a number of the city’s top musicians in the past, and will no doubt do so again. Tickets: $10.00 (plus appl. s/c) advance (at www.ticketweb.ca), $15 at the door.

All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 (Dec. 19 – 21 at Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton St.) – Chor Leoni Men’s Choir present a fully staged theatrical production marking the 100th anniversary of the famous “Christmas Truce” of 1914. The choir will be joined by professional actors to tell the story of the truce in the words and songs of the men who lived it. Tickets: $27-37 at TicketsTonight.

Early Music Vancouver (Dec. 21 at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts at UBC, 6265 Crescent Rd.) – The group presents its annual Christmastime cantatas, this year featuring J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio – Cantatas 1, 3, 6. For the first time, the concert will be conducted by Seattle-based Stephen Stubbs, conductor, lutenist, and co-artistic director of the largest early music festival in North America – the Boston Early Music Festival. The performance features a some of North America’s most celebrated vocal soloists – Teresa Wakim (soprano), Krisztina Szabó (mezzo-soprano), Zachary Finkelstein (tenor), Sumner Thompson (baritone), as well as a 28-piece Baroque orchestra of trumpets, timpani, flutes, oboes, violins, viola, and continuo, and the EMV Vocal Ensemble.

Early Music Vancouver

Early Music Vancouver performs Dec. 21 at the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. Jan Gates photo (2012).

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