It's feeling a lot like Christmas in Winnipeg thanks to the myriad concerts lined up over the next week, including lots of music, theatre and dance offerings for the kids.
Renaissance Voices Chamber Choir: A Renaissance Christmas - What Sweeter Music: (Young United Church, Dec. 13-14, 8 p.m.) - Renaissance Voices have hit on a perfect antidote to the the pre-Christmas mayhem: they transform a lovely church to café seating and offer mulled wine or cider to guests to sip on while savouring the beautiful music. It's a formula that keeps music lovers flocking to their annual December concerts.
Christmas with the Phil: Trumpets Sound, Angels Sing!: (Westminster United Church, Dec. 15, 3 p.m. (sold out) & 7 p.m.) - Some people come to listen, some people come for the sing-along, and everyone comes to experience the uplifting spirit of Christmas choral music. With the addition of the Winnipeg Brass Ensemble and organ chiming in this year, they are sure to raise the roof.
"Every time you have brass and choir together, it's such a joyful combination and a wonderful tradition at Christmas time," said music director Yuri Klaz. Note: first concert is already sold out.
Manitoba Chamber Orchestra (Westminster United Church, Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m.) - The best composers of Christmas music have names ending in 'ini' or 'elli,' it seems. The MCO's concert lineup includes Christmas concertos by Manfredini, Corelli and Locatelli. As well, the orchestra pays tribute to Canzona's 25th anniversary and its beloved conductor, Henry Enbrecht, who will be hanging up his baton at the end of this season.
Nutcracker: (Centennial Concert Hall, Dec. 19-29) - The Royal Winnipeg Ballet is back with this holiday classic set in a stately home in Winnipeg and featuring favourite Canadian traditions like a hockey game on an outdoor rink. Of course there are also soaring angels, a mouse king and dancing sugarplums.
The Bros. Landreth: (Park Theatre, Dec. 20, 8.p.m.) - Call their appearance of CBC Radio's Harvesting Hope special on Dec. 13 a warm-up to their big holiday special. Dave Landreth promises a wintry and festive evening of music. For him the season offers "a really nice opportunity to gather with family and focus on the things that are important in life and avoid the distraction of the big malls in favour of family and food and gathering together to make some nice music."
Amero Little Christmas (West End Cultural Centre, Dec. 21, 8 p.m.) - Christmas is Don Amero's favourite time of year and nothing makes him happier (aside from playing with his two-year-old son Oscar) than presenting his annual holiday concert.
Al Simmons is Home for the Holidays: (Shaw Performing Arts Centre @ The Forks, Dec. 21 & 22, 1 p.m. & 4 p.m.) - Manitoba Theatre for Young People is breaking with tradition and presenting a limited run of Al Simmons' one-man show. His hilarious songs and joint-defying antics will have young and old in stitches.
Portage & Munsch: 50 Below: (Prairie Theatre Exchange, Dec. 20 - Jan. 5, various times). Local playwright Debbie Patterson has adapted five Munsch stories for this holiday treat, including 50 Below Zero, Pigs, Zoom!, A Promise is a Promise and I have to Go!