In just a month on Christmas Eve morning, hardcore music lovers will be gathering round their radios to hear the annual performance of “A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols” from King’s College at Cambridge University. It will be already growing dark in England, which adds to the ethereal quality of this event — a tradition which precedes the advent of radio. The concert is heard around the world via the BBC, but we will hear it in Georgia thanks to NPR and GPB.
Fortunately for us, weeks earlier we’ll get the Georgia version of this event when Mercer University’s Stanley Roberts will lead the Mercer Singers and a small orchestra in two performances of this transcendent music. St. Joseph’s Catholic Church is not the chapel of King’s College, but it has sufficient ambiance to make it the place to be on Dec. 1 and 2.
From that event onward, Macon’s rich talent will be on display in theaters, concert halls and churches right up through Dec. 17, and we will be reminded once again of the rich musical banquet that is laid out for us each year. And in the stillness that will accompany this holiday we may pause momentarily and reflect that a large portion of our community will feel — rightly or wrongly — unwelcome at this transformative feast, that the doors are closed to them.
Yes, it is a feast. The week after “Lessons and Carols,” Roberts will return to St. Joseph’s with the Choral Society of Middle Georgia and the Mercer Choir for two performances of Handel’s iconic “Messiah” on Dec. 9 and 10. Just days later on Dec. 14, the talented folk (supplemented by some extra men) who comprise the Morning Music Club will present their annual Christmas Chorale at Wesleyan College. This is a daytime event, which makes it inconvenient for some but ideal for elderly persons who don’t often venture out at night.
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There’s also a fair amount of theater coming up, and most of it is suitable for kids. Opening Dec. 1 is “Beauty & the Beast” at Theatre Macon, followed a week later by “Annie” at Macon Little Theatre. Both of these shows will close on Dec. 17, by which time most of our community-generated entertainment will have come to an end.
All is not lost, however, as the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra’s “Holiday Pops,” the Alliance Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol” and the Horizon Theatre Company’s “Santaland Diaries” will still be running for those who don’t mind the drive to Atlanta. The latter play, the work of David Sedaris, tells the irreverent story of a department store Santa. Unlike the Charles Dickens tale, it’s not one that you’d want to see every year, but it is great for a one-time hoot.
Meanwhile, don’t forget that Macon’s production of “The Nutcracker” opens Dec. 6 at the refurbished Grand Opera House. Whatever the weather, Tchaikovsky never fails to ignite the holiday spirit. Another surefire seasonal hit is out at the Museum of Arts and Sciences, where the 31st Annual Festival of Trees is in full swing.
Long after the tinsel and toys are gone, these events are the stuff that memories are made of.
Contact Larry Fennelly at LarryFennelly@avantguild.com.