Typically, this column is focused on rock and pop music. However, sometimes, I just can’t resist getting into the holiday spirit. And seeing as Harrisburg is home to many superb holiday concert events, it seemed only fitting that we take a break from the guitars and drums and focus on a more seasonally appropriate sound. So, put a scarf around your neck, sip a little eggnog and gather the family for some of our most joyful celebrations of the holiday.
HARRISBURG GAY MEN’S CHORUS, 12/6, 4PM, UNITARIAN CHURCH OF HARRISBURG, $15: The Harrisburg Gay Men’s Chorus has been combining a love of music with a mission for presenting gay-positive entertainment for 29 years. Although they are a mainstay of Harrisburg cultural events, they have also performed across the country alongside such ensembles as the Manhattan Philharmonic and the Turtle Creek Chorale. This year’s holiday concert, “Just Say ‘Yes’ to an ‘80s Christmas!” is dedicated to Nancy Reagan and the rest of her esteemed decade. The chorus encourages all attendees to wear their most audacious shoulder pads and spray up some big hair in the spirit of the former first lady. Expect a lot of holiday spirit with just a dash of tongue-in-cheek.
THE MANHATTAN TRANSFER, 12/16, 7:30PM, WHITAKER CENTER, $47.50-$65: This famed vocal ensemble traces its roots to 1969. Founded by Tim Hauser, a former marketing executive and New York cab driver, the group has gone through numerous line-up changes while always staying true to its swinging doo-wop roots. The Manhattan Transfer has recorded with some of the greatest vocalists and songwriters in the history of pop, including Bette Midler, Tony Bennett, James Taylor and Smokey Robinson. The group will be performing a holiday-themed concert that is sure to be a treat for the whole family.
SUSQUEHANNA CHORALE: 12/18, 8PM, MESSIAH COLLEGE, PARMER HALL, $20/$25: The Susquehanna Chorale is the ensemble-in-residence at Messiah College. The 36-member chamber choir has received national accolades, and their annual holiday concert has become a central Pennsylvania tradition. This year’s performance, “A Candlelight Christmas,” features a rendition of Respighi’s “Laud to the Nativity.” Their performance will take place within Parmer Hall, the remarkable centerpiece of the college’s High Center for Worship and Performing Arts. Considering the chorale’s track record, this should prove to be an evening of peerless artistry.
Mentionables: Tomáseen Foley, 12/2, Rose Lehrman Arts Center; Pitch Blak Brass Band w/the West Philadelphia Orchestra, 12/5, H*MAC; Rivers w/Indian Summer Jars, 12/12, Abbey Bar; Trans-Siberian Orchestra, 12/18, Giant Center; Jeffrey Gaines, 12/26, H*MAC; Wizards of Winter, 12/29, The Forum