PSO’s Holiday POPS! Celebrates the Season

On Saturday, December 14, at 3 and 6 p.m., the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (PSO) Holiday POPS! concert celebrates the season with returns of the New Jersey Tap Dance Ensemble and the Princeton High School Choir. The festive program features March of the Toys by Victor Herbert, “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin, “Waltz of the Flowers” from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, a polka by Johann Strauss Jr., Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride, and more. Of course, everyone is invited to join in the annual carol sing-along! Conductor Nell Flanders leads both performances, which take place at Richardson Auditorium on the campus of Princeton University.

The New Jersey Tap Ensemble previously appeared with the PSO in 2012 and 2016. The ensemble performs in costume during Victor Herbert’s March of the Toys and takes center stage dancing Just Taps. Its members are dynamic adult tap dancers who love the art form, studying its history and pioneers. All of them teach tap classes throughout the state, passing on the art of tap to the next generation. The company has become known for artistic excellence in performance, development of tap artists, and developing new tap projects and programs.

The Princeton High School Choir has an unusually rich tradition of choral excellence that is unique among American high schools, performing extensively in North America and Europe and touring as representatives of Princeton, New Jersey. One of five performing ensembles, the 96 members of the choir are selected after careful audition of nearly 250 voices in the high school’s choral program. The choir performs Leroy Anderson’s A Christmas Festival and the Jauchzet Chorus from Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the PSO, plus the traditional “Carol of the Bells.”

Tickets for the PSO’s Holiday POPS! concert go fast, resulting in sold-out performances.
Each concert has assigned seating at $60 and $45 levels, Youth 50 percent discount available with adult purchase (all pricing includes handling fees). To order, visit www.princetonsymphony.org or call 609-497-0020.

Prelude Event at Princeton Garden Theatre. On Thursday, December 12, at the Princeton Garden Theatre, PSO principal harpist Andre Tarantiles will be performing holiday music at 7 p.m., prior to the theater’s 7:30 p.m. screening of Frank Capra’s film classic “It’s a Wonderful Life.” For tickets, go to prince­tongardentheatre.org.

Join Morven for Gingerbread Houses

Enjoy a new tradition by creating a gingerbread holiday house to take home. Constructed gingerbread house and candy decorations provided, as well as holiday background films and music; hot cocoa and cookies provided for family sessions.

Three sessions are available on Saturday, December 7. Sessions at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. are intended for children and families. The 8 p.m. session is for adults. The cost is $35 per house; $25 for members. To register: 609-924-8144 x113 or www.morven.org/gingerbread-house-workshop.

Westminster: Give the Gift of Music

Westminster Conservatory, the community music school of Westminster College of the Arts of Rider University, offers music lessons and classes for all ages and stages of ability. Become part of the Westminster Conservatory family by enrolling now for private lessons in your choice of instruments, early childhood classes, music therapy sessions, music theater classes, group voice classes, coached and reading instrumental ensembles, or instrumental and choral performing ensembles.

We have programs in five locations: Princeton (Westminster Choir College and Princeton Academy); Lawrenceville; and South Brunswick, New Jersey; and Yardley, Pennsylvania (Bucks County).

Mark your calendars now for our special Holidays at Westminster concerts, featuring performances by both Westminster Choir College and Westminster Conservatory ensembles.

To learn more about Westminster Conservatory, call 609-921-7104 or check our website at www.rider.edu/conservatory.

Westminster Conservatory of Music, 101 Walnut Lane, Princeton. 609-921-7104 or www.rider.edu/conservatory.

McCarter’s Holiday Tradition: ‘Christmas Carol’

Princeton’s McCarter Theatre Center has announced a sensory-friendly performance of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol on Friday, December 27, at 2 p.m.

Sensory-friendly performances provide a welcoming and judgement-free environment for individuals with autism, learning differences, or other sensory and communication needs, so that they and their families may enjoy live performances together.

At a sensory-friendly performance, the play is performed with light and sound levels adjusted to create a more sensory-friendly environment. Staff are on hand to assist, a family restroom is available, and designated activity and relaxation areas are available. Audience members are free to leave and return to the auditorium as needed and are invited to bring their own snacks, fidgets, and communication devices with them.
The atmosphere of a sensory-friendly performance welcomes all to enjoy the performance in whatever way makes the experience work for them.

Sensory-friendly performances are open to all who are ready to embrace this fully inclusive, judgement-free experience. These performances are a “shush-free” zone where performers, audience members, and staff expect a certain level of noise and movement in the audience. If you are wondering whether a sensory-friendly performance is the right fit for you and your family, visit www.mccarter.org to learn more.

Don’t Miss ARB’s Nutcracker

Ring in the holiday season with American Repertory Ballet’s (ARB) annual production of Nutcracker!

For the first time in his new role as ARB’s Ballet Master (and since retiring as a former Principal Dancer with Pennsylvania Ballet), Ian Hussey returns to the stage as the mysterious and magical Uncle Drosselmeyer.

ARB welcomes Unity Phelan and Adrian Danchig-Waring, stars of the New York City Ballet, for two performances at McCarter Theatre Center on Friday, November 29. Performances at McCarter Theatre run through December 1.

The only performances of American Repertory Ballet’s Nutcracker featuring a live orchestra and the Princeton Girlchoir take place at State Theatre New Jersey for five performances, December 13 through 15.

The 2019 Nutcracker season wraps up on Saturday, December 21, at 2 p.m. with a performance at Patriots Theater of the War Memorial in Trenton.

American Repertory Ballet (ARB) brings the beloved classic Nutcracker to the stage with Tchaikovsky’s magnificent score, stunning sets, thrilling choreography, and a cast of more than 100 performers.

McCarter Theatre Center. mccarter.org. 609-258-2787.

State Theatre New Jersey. stnj.org. 732-246-7469

For tickets to the Trenton performance or for more information, visit arballet.org.

Santa Flies into Princeton Airport Christmas Eve

Forty-four years ago, the idea of having Santa fly into the Princeton Airport for the local children to experience was brought to life by the Nierenberg family, owners of the Princeton Airport. Throughout the years, this has evolved into a wonderful annual event for the families in our community.

The tradition continues this year on Tuesday, December 24, at 11 a.m. when the airport hangar doors open to children awaiting Santa’s arrival by airplane. Parents are advised to bring their children to the airport at 10 a.m., as the Princeton Airport Flying Tigers will be serving cocoa and cookies, and local folk singer Pat McKinley, starting at 10:30, will be leading the audience in holiday songs.

If parents would like to have a gift waiting for their child, they should bring a wrapped gift with the child’s name on it in large print to the Princeton Airport lobby. Gifts should be no larger than 12” to accommodate Santa. If parents have more than one child participating, the gifts should be wrapped in the same paper and tied together to speed up the distribution. Also, to have their child participate, parents need to bring a gift for donation, as well. This is very important:
These gifts must be new, unwrapped and will be collected by the Mercer County Board of Social Services. Personal checks made out to the “FoodBank Network of Somerset County,” as well as canned or boxed food are suitable alternatives accepted at the airport. Donations from non-participants are kindly accepted as well.

Gift collection begins the day after Thanksgiving at 8 a.m. and ends on Tuesday, December 17, enabling county workers to arrange the best matches for the needy. The gifts can be deposited in the “chimneys” in the lobby of the airport between 8 and 6 p.m.

Once Santa’s plane lands, he will head into the hangar along with all the participants to distribute each gift individually. In fairness to all, Santa will distribute the gifts in the order in which they are received at the airport. Children will also have the opportunity to take a picture on Santa’s lap. Usually, distribution is completed by 1 p.m. and Santa continues his journey.

There is no charge for this event. The Princeton Airport is located in Montgomery Township, 3.5 miles north of Princeton on Route 206. The full address is 41 Airpark Road, Princeton. For further information, call 609-921-3100 or visit www.princeton­airport.com.

Joy to the World: A Christmas Suite with Princeton Pro Musica

Enhance your holiday season with a concert of gorgeous music at Messiah and More! On Sunday, December 15, at 3 p.m., Princeton Pro Musica Chorus and Orchestra will present Messiah and More! at the grand Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton, NJ. Also appearing on the program will be very special guests from the Trenton Children’s Chorus, and outstanding soloists Devony Smith, soprano and Jonathan Woody, baritone. All will be led by Dr. Ryan James Brandau, Artistic Director of Princeton Pro Musica.

This warm and joyous holiday concert features the “Christmas portion” of Messiah by George Frederic Handel alongside Joy to the World, our maestro’s own stirring suite of carols and holiday songs arranged for full orchestra and our 100-voice chorus, and featuring the Trenton Children’s Chorus.

Trenton Children’s Chorus (TCC) is a unique nonprofit whose mission is to empower the academic, social, and spiritual lives of children through artistry in music. Their tag line, Making Music, Making Friends, Making a Difference, speaks to TCC’s artistry, its commitment to community, and as a reminder that the gift of music can be used to make the world a better place. Founded in 1989 under the visionary leadership of the late Sue Ellen Page, TCC has long provided a place where children and youth in the greater Trenton area can experience exceptional music education, collaborative events and performance opportunities along with academic support and healthy snacks after school. More information about TCC and the life-changing experiences they offer their students can be found at www.trentonchildrenschorus.org.

Soprano Devony Smith has been noted by the New York Times for her “strong” voice and “dramatic conviction.” Her voice will soar to the heights of Patriots Theater Handel’s lively” Rejoice Greatly” from Messiah, and the tender “Sweet Little Jesus Boy.” Baritone Jonathan Woody has earned praise as “charismatic” and “riveting” from the New York Times for his solo work. His commanding voice will fill Patriots Theater when he sings I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day and Wassail.

Tickets are available and can be purchased online at www.princetonpromusica.org, or by calling the office at 609-683-5122.

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