Sound the trumpets and ring the bells. It’s time again to celebrate the holidays with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and Symphony Center Presents.
The sister organizations offer an array of musical ways to mark this special time of the year, ranging from “Home Alone” in Concert to the CSO’s heartwarming revue Merry, Merry Chicago! Along with the Vienna Boys Choir and Chanticleer, two famed choral ensembles making repeat appearances, there’s plenty of music to keep the season merry and bright.
Here is an overview of the full line-up, which begins Thanksgiving weekend and runs through Dec. 23:
Nov. 30, Christmas in Vienna, Vienna Boys Choir, SCP Special Concert.
The Vienna Boys Choir is arguably the best known and most beloved such ensemble in the world. Although boys were singing in Vienna’s Imperial Court a few centuries earlier, the choir was formally established by royal decree in 1498. The group was re-established in the 1920s as a private organization, and its ever-changing roster of members have embarked on more than 1,000 tours since. Today’s choristers, who range in age from 9 to 14, are divided into four choirs, which take turns performing worldwide. The group set to visit Chicago will present a holiday-focused program ranging from classical selections to lighter fare such as “Jingle Bell Rock.”
Dec. 3-4, Chanticleer in A Chanticleer Christmas, Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut, SCP Special Concert.
Chanticleer, the acclaimed male a cappella ensemble based in San Francisco, returns to the Symphony Center Presents series for its 19th consecutive year. “We look forward to the annual Chicago visit with much happiness,” said music director William Fred Scott. “We feel that we have made great friends in Chicago over the years.” Although A Chanticleer Christmas follows a similar format from season to season — candle-lit Gregorian chant and Renaissance music, followed by Franz Biebl’s Ave Maria (1964), international offerings and familiar American carols — the program is never the same.
Dec. 6-8, “Home Alone” in Concert, with Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Richard Kaufman; Roosevelt University’s CCPA Conservatory Chorus, with chorus director Cheryl Frazes Hill, and Walter Payton College Prep Concert Choir, with chorus director Kathleen Johnston.
The holiday classic returns to Symphony Center with John Williams’ whimsical score performed by Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, led by CSO favorite Richard Kaufman. Macaulay Culkin stars as Kevin McCallister, an 8-year-old boy who’s accidentally left behind when his family leaves for Christmas vacation, and who must defend his suburban Chicago home against two bungling thieves. Hilarious and heart-warming, “Home Alone” (1990) is holiday fun for everyone.
Dec. 14-23, Merry, Merry Chicago! Members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conductor Emil de Cou; Chicago Symphony Chorus, chorus director Duain Wolfe. CSO Special Concerts.
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra sets aside some of its usual formality and celebrates the season with these warm, family-friendly concerts. Expect popular favorites such as “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “White Christmas” alongside traditional carols such as “Angels We Have Heard on High.” CSO viola Max Raimi has written Herald Angels, Variations for Trumpet and Orchestra, a modern take on “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.” And don’t be surprised if a big, red-suited fellow with a white beard makes an appearance.
Dec. 18, CSO Brass, SCP Special Concert.
The Chicago Symphony’s powerhouse brass section, which has an international reputation of its own, will be front and center in this annual showcase. The full program has not yet been announced, but it will include selections by Elgar, Ravel and Sibelius, as well as selections from Wagner’s Lohengrin and Puccini’s Tosca.
Complete holiday programming information is available at cso.org/holidays