This year the sounds of the season embrace not just the tried and true but also some welcome surprises. Nestled amidst the classics — like the American Boychoir (Saturday, December 15, Princeton University Chapel, and Sunday, December 16, at Richardson) and big choirs like Princeton Pro Musica doing Handel’s Messiah (Sunday, December 2, Patriot Theater) — are American Idol star Clay Aiken (Thursday, December 6, State Theater), in his last performance before joining the cast of “Spamalot,” and Crystal Gayle (Saturday, December 8, at Raritan Valley Community College in North Branch).

Offerings also include some unusual venues like Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie Mansion (Capital Singers, Sunday, December 9), the Cranbury Inn (Princeton Garden Statesmen, Friday, November 30, and Sunday, December 2), and the D&R Greenway’s Johnson Education Center (Princeto nSingers, Saturday, December 1)

Note: Many concerts, especially those by Westminster groups, sell out quickly. Grab your calendar and make a date with someone you love who loves holiday music.

Friday, November 30

Dinner Show, Princeton Garden Statesmen, Cranbury Inn, Main Street, Cranbury, 609-655-5595. www.princetongardenstatesmen.com. Holiday dinner show by the Princeton Garden Statesmen, a member of the non-profit Barbershop Harmony Society. Benefit for area charities. Register. $45. Also, Sunday, December 2. 5:30 p.m.

Musical Celebration of Christmas, Riverside Symphonia, St. John the Evangelist Church, 44 Bridge Street, Lambertville, 609-397-7300. www.riversidesymphonia.org. Holiday concert. Also Saturday, December 1. $15 to $35. 8 p.m.

Cool Yule Jazz V, Westminster Choir College, Bristol Chapel, 609-921-2663. www.rider.edu. Philip Orr, piano; Jerry Rife, clarinet; Sean Dixon, drums and percussion; and Norman Edge, bass present jazz arrangements of holiday favorites. $20. 8 p.m.

Saturday, December 1

Holiday Concert, Barnes & Noble, MarketFair, West Windsor, 609-716-1570. www.bn.com. Hopewell Valley Central High School Music and Theater choirs. 1 p.m.

Also, Pennington School Choirs. 4 p.m.

Princeton Garden Statesmen, Allentown/Upper Freehold Municipal Alliance, Allentown Presbyterian, 20 High Street, 609-758-7738. www.ufadrugalliance.org. The 40-member group sings well-known songs including holiday songs and traditional favorites, all in four-part a cappella barbershop style. Benefit to prevent alcoholism and drug abuse in the community. $10. 7:30 p.m.

Christmas Concert, Philomusica Chorale, Our Lady of Peace Church, 277 Washington Place, North Brunswick, 888-744-5668. www.philomusic.org. Britten’s “Christ’s Nativity” and Palestrina’s “Magnificat Quarti Toni.” $9 to $18. Also Sunday, December 2. 8 p.m.

Musical Celebration of Christmas, Riverside Symphonia, St. John the Evangelist Church, 44 Bridge Street, Lambertville, 609-397-7300. www.riversidesymphonia.org. Holiday concert. $15 to $35. 8 p.m.

Sounds of the Season, The Princeton Singers, Johnson Education Center, 1 Preservation Place, Princeton, 866-846-7464. www.princetonsingers.org. International celebration of stories and songs of the season featuring readings and music from Ukrainian, Chicano, Basque, and British traditions. For ages 10 and up. $15. 8 p.m.

Westminster Williamson Voices, Westminster Choir College, Morrisville Presbyterian Church, 711 North Pennsylvania Avenue, Morrisville, PA, 609-921-2663. www.rider.edu. “A Candlelight Christmas.” $20. 8 p.m.

Westminster Concert Bell Choir, Westminster Choir College, Bristol Chapel, 609-921-2663. www.rider.edu. Handbell Holiday Concert directed by Kathleen Ebling-Thorne. $15. 8 p.m.

St. Nicholas Day, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, 142 Sand Hill Road, Monmouth Junction, 732-297-4607. www.stbarnabas-sbnj.org. Christmas Carols, making advent wreaths and crafts for Advent and Christmas, the story of St. Nicholas, and a visit from St. Nicholas. Bring a gift of new mittens, a warm hat, or a scarf for children in an area shelter for the homeless. 9 a.m. to noon.

Sunday, December 2

Sarah Aroeste Band, Har Sinai Temple, 2441 Pennington Road, Pennington, 609-730-8100. www.harsinia.org. Chanukah concert features Judeo-Spanish rock, funk, jazz, and blues. Aroeste is a Princeton native. Open to the public. Free. 11 a.m.

Advent Concert, Princeton University Chapel, Washington Road, 609-258-3654, Magnificat and selections from Christmas Oratorio. Chapel choir with orchestra. Penna Rose conducts. Free. 2:30 p.m.

Handel’s Messiah, Princeton Pro Musica, Patriots Theater, Trenton War Memorial, Trenton, 609-683-5122. www.princetonpromusica.org. Soloists include Julianne Baird, soprano; Jennifer Hines, mezzo soprano; Scott Murphree, tenor; and Kevin Deas, bass baritone. Frances Fowler Slade conducts. $38 to $45. 3 p.m.

Eric Mintel Quartet, Princeton Public Library, 65 Witherspoon Street, 609-924-8822. www.princetonlibrary.org. “Jazz for the Holidays,” a family concert featuring Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Pre-concert talk and in concert commentary. Also, holiday standards and original music by Eric Mintel. 3 p.m.

Warsaw Christmas, State Theater, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-246-7469. www.StateTheatreNJ.org. Mazowsze presents Polish carols and dances. $25 to $55. 3 and 7 p.m.

Rider Choir Winter Concert, Westminster Choir College, Gill Memorial Chapel, Rider University, Lawrenceville, 609-921-2663. www.rider.edu. Conducted by Kenneth Howard. Free. 3 p.m.

Westminster Concert Bell Choir, Westminster Choir College, Bristol Chapel, 609-921-2663. www.rider.edu. “Ring Nowell.” $20. 3 p.m.

Christmas Concert, Philomusica Chorale, Our Lady of Peace Church, 277 Washington Place, North Brunswick, 888-744-5668. www.philomusic.org. Britten’s “Christ’s Nativity” and Palestrina’s “Magnificat Quarti Toni.” $9 to $18. 4 p.m.

Advent Lessons & Carols, Trinity Church, 33 Mercer Street, Princeton, 609-924-2277. www.trinityprinceton.org. 4:30 p.m.

Voorhees Choir Candlelight Concert, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Voorhees Chapel, 5 Chapel Drive, New Brunswick, 732-932-7511. www.masongross.rutgers.edu. The 70 all-female choir present carols and classics. Free. 5 p.m.

Dinner Show, Princeton Garden Statesmen, Cranbury Inn, Main Street, Cranbury, 609-655-5595. www.princetongardenstatesmen.com. Holiday dinner show. Benefit for area charities. Register. $45. 5:30 p.m.

Handel’s Messiah, New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra, Christ Church, 5 Paterson Street, New Brunswick, 732-249-6999. www.christchurchnewbrunswick.org. Annual performance with the choirs of Christ Church, Emanuel Lutheran Church, and First Reformed churches. Mark Trautman conduct. Wine and cheese reception follows. $17. 6 p.m.

Holiday Family Concert, Princeton Brass Band, Yvonne Theater, Rider University, 609-895-5504. www.princetonbrassband.org. “Holiday Spectacular” with the Concordia Youth Chorale features the U.S. premiere of Anthony Hedges’ Psalm 104 for chorus and brass bend, Eric Ball’s Journey into Freedom, Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, and traditional holiday music. The concert will be repeated on Thursday, December 8, at 7 p.m. in Long Branch. Donations invited. 6 p.m.

Bravura Philharmonic Orchestra, Princeton Alliance Church, Scudders Mill & Schalks Crossing roads, 609-933-1356. www.princetonalliance.org. Holiday concert is debut performance of the newly-founded community orchestra. Chiu-Tze Lin is the music director and conductor of the organization including professional musicians, high-level amateurs, university students, and gifted students of pre-college age. Courtney LIn Kaita is featured soloist on cello. $10. 7:30 p.m.

Monday, December 3

Holiday Concert, St. Francis Medical Center, Sacred Heart Church, Broad Street, Trenton, 609-599-5659, Annual benefit holiday concert featuring the Orchestra of St. Peter by the Sea, a 45-member ensemble conducted by Reverend Alphonse Stephenson. Concert at 7:30 p.m., $40; concert with cocktails and buffet dinner, $100. 5 p.m.

Thursday, December 6

Holiday Family Concert, Princeton Brass Band, St. Michael’s Church, 800 Ocean Avenue, Long Branch, 732-495-2066. www.princetonbrassband.org. “Holiday Spectacular” with the Concordia Youth Chorale features the U.S. premiere of Anthony Hedges’ Psalm 104 for chorus and brass bend, Eric Ball’s Journey into Freedom, Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, and traditional holiday music. $20. 7 p.m.

Clay Aiken, State Theater, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-246-7469. www.StateTheatreNJ.org. Christmas classics with the 45-piece Chelsea Symphony Orchestra. $65 to $100. 8 p.m.

Friday, December 7

Barry Wilcox, Ellarslie Museum, Cadwalader Park, Trenton, 609-989-3632. www.ellarslie.org. Jazz piano concert and holiday shopping. 5 p.m.

Tree of Light Celebration, The Lewis School, 53 Bayard Lane, 609-924-8120. www.lewisschool.org. Annual open house features numerous lights on the outdoor tree, music, and holiday fare. Robert P. Martinez, director of strategic planning, speaks. Performances by Lewis School Chorus, Koleinu, American Boychoir School, and Princeton University Nassons, Tigerlilies, and Wildcats. Free. Donations benefit the scholarship program. 7 to 9:30 p.m.

Vienna Boys Choir, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Prudential Theater,Newark, 888-466-5722. www.njpac.org. 8 p.m.

Canadian Brass Holiday Concert, State Theater, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-246-7469. www.StateTheatreNJ.org. Presented with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. $50 to $75. 8 p.m.

An Evening of Readings and Carols, Westminster Choir College, Princeton University Chapel, 609-921-2663. www.rider.edu. Three of Westminster’s choirs and Solid Brass. $25 to $50. 8 p.m.

Saturday, December 8

Holiday Concert, Barnes & Noble, MarketFair, West Windsor, 609-716-1570. www.bn.com. Princeton GirlChoirs present holiday and traditional favorites. 2 p.m.

George Dabrowski, Ellarslie Museum, Cadwalader Park, Trenton, 609-989-3632. www.ellarslie.org. Piano concert and holiday shopping. 2 p.m.

Christmas Cafe, Central Baptist Church, 2015 Pennington Road, Ewing, 609-882-0337. www.cbcnj.org. Musical performances of holiday favorites and baked good. $8 tickets benefit HomeFront. 4 p.m.

Holiday Party, Princeton Friends of Opera, Present Day Club, Princeton University, 609-610-6896, An evening of dinner and music featuring soprano Ariya Sawadivong and tenor Joseph Damarest. Accompanied by James Batt. Register. $135. 5 p.m.

Rutgers Kirkpatrick Choir and Glee Club, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Kirkpatrick Chapel, 81 Somerset Street, New Brunswick, 732-932-7511. www.masongross.rutgers.edu. “Christmas in Carol and Song.” $20. Also, Sunday, December 9, 5 and 7:30 p.m. 6 and 9 p.m.

Music of Christmas, North Jersey Philharmonic Glee Club, Crosswicks United Methodist Church, Ward Avenue and Church Street, Crosswicks, 609-324-9800, Concert. $12. 7 p.m.

Songs of the Season, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Victoria Theater,Newark, 888-466-5722. www.njpac.org. 8 p.m.

Crystal Gayle Christmas, Raritan Valley Community College, Route 28, North Branch, 908-725-3420. www.rvccarts.org. Holiday concert. $40 and $45. 8 p.m.

Feliz Navidad with Jose Feliciano, State Theater, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-246-7469. www.StateTheatreNJ.org. Holiday concerts features songs from Feliciano’s Christmas album. $40 to $60. 8 p.m.

An Evening of Readings and Carols, Westminster Choir College, Princeton University Chapel, 609-921-2663. www.rider.edu. 8 p.m.

Sunday, December 9

Capital Singers, Ellarslie Museum, Cadwalader Park, Trenton, 609-989-3632. www.ellarslie.org. Holiday program and shopping. 2 p.m.

Sruli and Lisa, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Victoria Theater,Newark, 888-466-5722. www.njpac.org. Chanukah show. 2 p.m.

Concert, Makhelat Hamercaz Jewish Choir of Central New Jersey, Martin & Edith Stein Assisted Living, 350 Demott Lane, Somerset, 732-613-9164, Holiday program features pieces celebrating Israel with compositions by Arik Einstein, Achinoam Nini, Noami Shemer and Sol Zim. Open to the public. Free. 3 p.m.

Songs of the Season, Eastern Wind Symphony, College of New Jersey, Music Building, Ewing, 609-771-2549. www.easternwindsymphony.org. Selections from the group’s CD, “Symphonic Season,” “Pieces for Brass Ensemble,” and “Sleigh Ride.” $7; family ticket $20. 4 p.m.

Holiday Concert, First Presbyterian Church of Dutch Neck, 154 South Mill Road, West Windsor, 609-799-0712, Bell and Chancel Choir present traditional carols, Finzi’s “In Terra Pax,” Edwards’ “Wassail,” and Saint-Sains’ “Christmas Oratorio,” accompanied by a chamber orchestra. Soloists are Li-Chan and John Maxham, both graduates from the Manhattan School of Music who have toured throughout the United States, Taiwan, and Europe. 4 p.m.

Rutgers Kirkpatrick Choir and Glee Club, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Kirkpatrick Chapel, 81 Somerset Street, New Brunswick, 732-932-7511. www.masongross.rutgers.edu. “Christmas in Carol and Song.” $20. 5 and 7:30 p.m.

Vespers Recital Series, Christ Church, 5 Paterson Street, New Brunswick, 732-545-6262. www.christchurchnewbrunswick.org. An advent procession with carols and Vox Fidelis directed by Timothy Smith. 6 p.m.

Community Carol Sing-Along, Kingston Women’s Chorus, Kingston United Methodist Church, 9 Church Street, Kingston, 609-851-9245, The women’s chorus will present several numbers including a carol from Ne Zealand and a Hebrew song. Sing-along follows. Free-will donation. 7 p.m.

Irish Tenors Christmas Show, State Theater, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-246-7469. www.StateTheatreNJ.org. $50 to $65. 7 p.m.

Hosanna, Hanukah, and the Holidays, Westminster Choir College, Bristol Chapel, 609-921-2663. www.rider.edu. Westminster Conservatory Youth Chorale conducted by Frank Abrahams. $15. 7:30 p.m.

Monday, December 10

Holiday Music, Women’s College Club of Princeton, All Saints Church, 16 All Saints Road, Princeton, 732-297-1696, Princeton High School Chamber Choir presents concert under the direction of Charles Sundquist. Open to the public. Free. 1 p.m.

Messiah Sing, Princeton University Chapel, Washington Road, 609-258-3654, Community sing with organ, strings, and trumpet. $5. 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, December 13

Winter Musicale, Bristol Riverside Theater, 120 Radcliffe Street, Bristol, 215-785-0100. www.brtstage.org. “Your Favorite Songs of the Season,” written and directed by Edward Keith Baker. Through December 23. $42. 8 p.m.

Friday, December 14

Opera New Jersey, Grounds For Sculpture, 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, 609-689-1089. www.groundsforsculpture.org. Holiday concert. Free with admission. 7:30 p.m.

Holiday Concert, Hopewell Valley Chorus, Church of St. Ann, 1253 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrenceville, 609-397-2038. www.princetonol.com/groups. “Of Miracles, Drums, and Community: A Global Holiday Celebration” features Daniel Pinkham’s “Christmas Cantata.” $15. 8 p.m.

Winter Concert, Raritan Valley Community College, Route 28, North Branch, 908-725-3420. www.rvccarts.org. RVCC Chorale program features music by Ives, Schubert, and a variety of traditional Christmas music. $10. 8 p.m.

Saturday, December 15

Kwanzaa Children’s Festival, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Victoria Theater,Newark, 888-466-5722. www.njpac.org. Free. Noon.

Spirit of Kwanzaa, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Victoria Theater,Newark, 888-466-5722. www.njpac.org. 2 and 5 p.m.

Annual Family Holiday Concert, Princeton Symphony Orchestra, Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University, 609-497-0020. www.princetonsymphony.org. New Jersey Tap Ensemble, Princeton High School Choir, and sing-along. Lis Fillo narrates “The Snowman” with soprano Bailey Outerbridge. Joe Miller conducts. Register. $35; children, $20. 3 p.m.

Voices of Angels, American Boychoir, Princeton University Chapel, Princeton, 888-BOYCHOIR. www.americanboychoir.org. Holiday concert features familiar carols and seasonal readings. $10 to $30. 8 p.m.

Festival of Christmas Music, Bucks County Choral Society, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 301 North Main Street, Doylestown, 215-598-6142. www.buckschoral.org. Music by Vaughan Williams, Simeone, Luboff, Jackson, Howells, and Handel, plus Christmas Carol sing-along. $15. 8 p.m.

Holiday Concert, Rutgers Alumni Wind Symphony, Nicholas Music Center, Rutgers University, Route 18 and George Street, New Brunswick, 732-951-1993, Musicians of alumni and residents from surrounding communities led by Nicholas Santoro and Nanette O’Neal. Free. 8 p.m.

A Child’s Christmas in Wales, The Princeton Singers, Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau Street, Princeton, 866-846-7464. www.princetonsingers.org. Music based on Dylan Thomas’s classic Christmas story. Reverend David Davis narrates. For ages 10 and up. $15. 8 p.m.

Sunday, December 16

Festival of Christmas Music, Bucks County Choral Society, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 301 North Main Street, Doylestown, 215-598-6142. www.buckschoral.org. Music by Vaughan Williams, Simeone, Luboff, Jackson, Howells, and Handel, plus Christmas Carol sing-along. $15. 2:30 p.m.

Winter Wonderland, American Boychoir, Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University, 888-BOYCHOIR. www.americanboychoir.org. Traditional holiday favorites and audience sing-a-long. $20 to $42. 4 p.m.

Lessons and Carols, New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra, Christ Church, 5 Paterson Street, New Brunswick, 732-249-6999. www.christchurchnewbrunswick.org. Music for advent and Christmas with Christ Church, Saint Cecilia, and Christ Church youth choirs. 6 p.m.

Boston Pops, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Prudential Hall, Newark, 888-466-5722. With the male a cappella group Cantus. www.njpac.org. 7 p.m.

A Ceremony of Carols, Westminster Choir College, Bristol Chapel, 609-921-2663. www.rider.edu. Holiday concert by the Westminster Community Chorus conducted by Devin Mariman. $15. 7:30 p.m.

Monday, December 17

The Bailey Trio, Bucks County Performing Arts Center, McCaffrey’s, 635 Heacock Road, Yardley, PA., 215-493-3010. www.bcpac.org. Holiday classics presented by Brent Bailey on keyboards, Patrick Bailey on drums, and Sean Bailey on woodwinds. Reception follows. Free. 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, December 19

Fall Concert, Mercer County Symphonic Band, Mercer County College, Kelsey Theater, 609-584-9444. www.mccc.edu. Annual concert features traditional band music, holiday tunes, and patriotic songs. Audience participation is invited for the sing along of holiday music. Free. 8 p.m.

Friday, December 21

Festival of Candles and Carols, Voices Chorale, Pennington Presbyterian Church, 13 South Main Street, Pennington, 609-637-9383. www.voiceschorale.org. Family program of holiday music with candles and bells features soprano Rochelle Ellis. Sing-along with Christmas carols. Lyn Ransom directs. $18 to $25. 8 p.m.

Saturday, December 22

Festival of Candles and Carols, Voices Chorale, All Saints Episcopal Church, 16 All Saints Road, Princeton, 609-637-9383. www.voiceschorale.org. Family holiday program. See description above. $18 to $25. 8 p.m.

Sunday, December 23

Handel’s Messiah, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Prudential Hall, Newark, 888-466-5722. www.njpac.org. Discovery Orchestra. $15 to $75. 3 p.m.

Monday, December 24

Holiday Brass, Palmer Square, On the Green, 609-921-2333. www.palmersquare.com. Evening caroling with the Arts Council of Princeton. Free. 1 p.m.

Christmas Eve Caroling, Arts Council of Princeton, 609-924-8777, Carolers of all ages assemble on Palmer Square green and proceed to sing with the Blawenburg Brass Band leading the festivities. Bring lanterns and flashlights. Keep your eyes open for Santa. Free. 5 p.m.

24-Hour Christmas Show, WPRB Radio, 103.3 FM, www.wprb.com. 20th edition of Jon Solomon’s 24-hour show featuring rare, strange, and confounding records directly or vaguely holiday-related including songs about snowy winter months, Chanukah, Kwaanza, and New Years. Solomon began the show in 1988, when he was 15 years old. 6 to 6 p.m. December 25.

Monday, December 31

Salute to Vienna, State Theater, 15 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-246-7469. www.StateTheatreNJ.org. Waltzes, polkas, and marches. $65 to $110. 6 p.m.

New Year’s Eve Concert, Greater Trenton Symphony Orchestra, Patriots Theater, War Memorial, Trenton, 609-396-5522. www.trentonsymphony.org. $25 to $65. 8 p.m.

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