Music, Sweet Music




It’s a wonderful week for visiting The Music School of Delaware. The first alumni concert of the season is a special one, featuring Brian Sowards, with guest Michael Ronstadt, who will celebrate the release of his new indie EP. Singer/songwriter Katie Barbato will open the show. See them Dec. 13 at the school’s Wilmington branch. The next night, 'Tis A Winter's Evening features a program of holiday favorites and original compositions for the whole family. Featuring Milford faculty Nathan Ames and Layne Thompson-Payne, as well as students from Delaware State College, the Milford Branch and the Dover satellite. It happens Dec. 14 at Avenues United Methodist Church in Milford. The Winter Choral concert this year is Seeking Peace through Song. Local Jewish congregations and The Music School of Delaware's Children's Chorus, Select Choral Ensemble and Delaware Women's Chorus will present a collaborative choral program--the theme conducted by Marybeth Miller, Dr. Michael Larkin, Joanne Ward and Cantor Mark Stanton. See it Dec. 16 at Congregation Beth Emeth in Wilmington. 762-1132, musicschoolofdelaware.org

Baroque for the Holidays

The area's premiere early music ensemble, Brandywine Baroque, presents George's Music for the Royal George. Celebrate the holidays with arias from Samson and kingly songs, cantata and sonatas by Handel, Telemann, Festing and Tessarini. It happens Dec. 16 at the beautiful Barn at Flintwoods on Center Meeting Road in Wilmington, and Dec. 15 at Church of Our Savior in Rehoboth Beach. 877-594-4546, brandywinebaroque.org

Masterful

Don’t miss the Mastersingers of Wilmington performing The Wonder of Christmas at First & Central Presbyterian Church in Wilmington on Dec. 16. Organist Marvin Mills and conductor David Schelat present one of the most popular concerts of the year, leading a group of vocalists in singing Christmas music from the past four centuries. It promises to be stirring. 654-5371, marketstreetmsuicde.org

Sweet

If you really want to hear what a human voice can be, see Sweet Honey in the Rock at The Grand Opera House Dec. 19. Since 1973 the all-woman a capella group has spread a message of love and peace through stories and songs inspired by their African ancestors. Universally lauded for the perfect blend of the members’ voices, the Sweet Honey experience is nothing short of joyful. 652-5577, thegrandwilmington.org

Celebrate the Brandywine Valley

One of the things we love most about the holidays is visiting the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford. First, there’s the model railroad. Second, there are the critter ornaments, handmade by local volunteers for sale to support the museum and programs. They adorn seven trees on the first and third floors, and charming critter scenes will surround the base of the trees and fill display cases. Then there’s “Pop-Up! Illustration in 3-D,” a display of books that range from late 19th-century examples to sophisticated constructions designed by contemporary paper engineers working with noted artists. Finally “Donald Pywell: Golden Impressions of Andrew Wyeth” features exquisitely crafted jewelry by Pywell and inspired by Wyeth's paintings. Everything is on display through Jan. 6. 610-388-2700, brandywinemusuem.org

Themed A Feast for the Eyes, Yuletide at Winterthur is designed to tempt visitors with visions of holidays past and spark ideas for their own celebrations. Guests can explore how Americans have celebrated the winter social season from the 1800s to the present during the Yuletide at Winterthur tour through Jan. 6. A highlight: a lavish Victorian-era setting focuses on festive trappings, a glittering tree and a table arrayed with towers of gifts. And don’t miss the live performances of “A Christmas Carol” by Gerald Charles Dickens, the great-great grandson of Charles Dickens. It happens Dec. 13. 888-4600, winterthur.org

Christmas at Hagley cultivates sharing and giving. This year's theme is Holiday Entertaining at Home. The morning room of Eleutherian Mills is set for the New Year's Day calling, the dining room celebrates Twelfth Night, and the terrace is ready for Christmas lunch. Visitors are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy or clothing item for donation to the Sunday Breakfast Mission. The event continues until Jan. 9 658-2400, hagley.org

Nemours Mansion & Gardens is open for holiday tours through Dec. 30. This world-famous du Pont estate is beautifully decorated for Christmas, with antiques from its historic collection along with new items that celebrate the season. Christmas trees, garlands, sprays, paper filigree “quilling,” hand-painted ornaments, miniature churches, original holiday cards, a manger scene and original toys from the du Pont estate all add to the festive setting. Reservations are required. 800-651-6912, nemoursmansion.org

Rockwood Museum is decorated with a musical theme though Jan. 7. Take a rare evening tour of the museum during its candlelight holiday tours Dec. 15. rockwood.org

Finally, A Longwood Christmas is always a highlight of the season. Inside Longwood’s 4-acre Conservatory, trees shimmer with star-inspired ornaments. In the Exhibition Hall, twinkling lights hang from the vaulted glass ceiling over a 64-foot-long table dressed for a holiday gathering. Living wreaths, floral displays, and trees as tall as 22 feet bring the magic of the season to life. Outdoors, more than 500,000 lights brighten the night. Fountains dance to holiday music in the Open Air Theatre (weather permitting). And the outdoor train display travels past miniature Longwood landmarks lit for the season. Music includes sing-alongs on Longwood’s majestic 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ, and evening choral and bell choir performances by area groups. In the Chimes Tower, a 62-bell carillon plays holiday music every half hour. Strolling performances fill the gardens with music on weekends. See it through Jan. 6. longwoodgardens.org

Scrooged

The timeless “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens gets a merry retelling in a world-premiere adaptation by the creator of the two-time Tony Award winning “The 39 Steps.” Five actors portray over 20 characters, exploring new facets of the classic tale. Re-imagined with a new physicality, this “highly theatrical, sometimes comic, ultimately moving adaptation” is sure to brighten up your holidays, according to critic Timothy Childs. See it until Dec. 30. 594-1104, deltheatre.org

 “A Christmas Carol” gets a new sound—and a new title—this year at Clear Space. This musical incarnation of the Charles Dickens classic debuted off-Broadway in 1992 and has since played in theaters across the country. Composer and CSTC artistic director Doug Yetter is at the forefront once more as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge. Bring the whole family. See it through Dec. 16. 227-7303, clearspacetheatre.org

Our Favorite Orphan

Leapin’ lizards! One of the most acclaimed musicals of the past 35 years will appear at the Smyrna Opera House for the holidays. It could only be “Annie.” Set in Depression-Era New York City, little orphan Annie charms everyone as she searches for a family. Winner of seven Tony Awards, including Best Musical, “Annie” is based on the popular Harold Gray comic strip Little Orphan Annie. See it Dec. 14-16. 653-4236, smyrnaoperahouse.org

Gone Batty

Who knows what you’re in for with “Bat Boy: The Musical.” Described as a dark musical comedy, the story is inspired by the tabloid tale of a creature half man and half boy discovered in a cave in West Virginia. One thing is for sure: With the bat boy and other characters swinging from the ceiling, the audience will get more than up close and personal. See City Theater Company’s production at the Black Box at OperaDelaware in Wilmington through Dec. 15. 220-8285, city-theatre.org

Simply Beautiful

Now at the Delaware Art Museum, “So Beautifully Illustrated” shows the work of Katharine Richardson Wireman, who studied with Howard Pyle before embarking on a 50-year career as an illustrator. Her illustrations, which often featured domestic scenes, ranged from advertisements and fashion features to children's books to covers of magazines such as The Country Gentleman. “So Beautifully Illustrated” continues the series of exhibitions focused on the Golden Age of Illustration and the students of Howard Pyle. See it through Jan. 6. 571-9590, delart.org

The Moment is Now

 “The Aesthetic Moment: The Art of Still Life” at Delaware Art Museum features 11 regional painters with different styles, but a common love for the genre. The still life arrangements are uniquely perceived and rendered by the artists, then perceived uniquely again by the viewer. The guest curator is Paul DuSold of Philadelphia, who has shown his work widely across the United States over the last 30 years, concentrating on still life. His unerring eye reveals a range of still life subjects, themes and styles that will astound you. See it though Jan. 6. 571-9590, delart.org

Young at Art

Don’t miss “Young Country,” a traveling show of art that speaks of place. Organized by DCCA, it hit UArts in Philadelphia and Salisbury University in Maryland before its exhibition in Delaware. “Young Country” examines how artists living in fringe art centers are re-defining ideas of fine art, class, and “country” in America. The exhibition features artists who use rural images and subjects such as horseracing, honkytonks, and homesteading to address how the visual culture of a region shapes perception and identity. The show features work by artists from Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Houston, Seattle, New York, Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky, and other areas. The show grows as it travels. Also showing at DCCA through Dec. 9 is “Natural Forces,” large-scale sculpture and installations of burnt wood, spiraling metallic pieces, and cardboard constructions by Alison Stigora that explores the relationship between the destructive and creative forces of nature. 656-6466, thedcca.org

The Art of Business

The library at Hagley holds the records of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Hence “100 Years of Picturing the Nation’s Business: Photographs from the Collection of the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America,” which celebrates the chamber’s centennial. The exhibition shows famous—and not-so-famous—photos, some capturing significant moments such as reaction to the stock market crash, aftermath of the Dust Bowl and news of the Titanic sinking, some showing iconic companies such as Ford Motor Co. and American Airlines in their earliest days. The exhibition is on view through Jan. 1. 658-2400, hagley.org 658-2400, hagley.org

It’s All About Us

In 1962, the interstate highway system was just getting traction, the Delaware Memorial Bridge had only one span, and the Cape May-Lewes Ferry had not yet set sail. Fifty years later, the state is a much different place, and through it all, Delaware Today has been there to document the changes. See how in “Delaware Yesterday, Delaware Today: 1962-2012” at the Delaware History Center in Wilmington. The exhibit shows how the magazine has evolved from a small black-and-white publication with regular features like the quaint Flo Knows Fashion into the glossy, full-color publication you read today for the latest on great restaurants, the arts, emerging lifestyle trends, home design, interesting personalities and more. Objects from the collection of the Delaware Historical Society round out the story. “Delaware Yesterday, Delaware Today: 1962-2012” is informative, entertaining and nostalgic, and we humbly submit that you’ll find it as interesting as we here at DT do. 655-716, hsd.org

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