Boulder’s holiday musical banquet serves ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful,’ ‘Fire and Ice’ this season

A more traditional holiday program will be presented by jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves, appearing in Macky Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16.
Courtesy of CU Presents

The musical banquet that is the holiday season this year brings us “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” “Holiday Memories,” “Fire and Ice” and Diane Reeves.

One staple of the season is The Nutcracker, performed all up and down the Front Range — and pretty much everywhere else, for that matter. Boulder Ballet’s Nutcracker, performed with the Boulder Philharmonic and the Longmont Symphony, has run its course, but there are still opportunities to see the Centennial State Ballet production, presented with full orchestra, Dec. 15–17 in Niwot.

Of the purely musical events in the Boulder area, CU’s “Holiday Festival” takes pride of place. The event runs Dec. 8–10 but has long been sold out for all four performances. You might want to start planning now to attend next year’s “Holiday Festival.”

Ars Nova Singers and conductor Thomas Edward Morgan team up with guitarist Nicolò Spera to present the most unusual program of the holidays, Dec. 9, 10, 14 and 15. Under the title “Fire and Ice,” the concert will include a number of new works as well as contemporary arrangements of traditional carols.

Spera and Ars Nova together will perform Romancero Gitana, a setting of poems by the Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca, composed for guitar and chorus by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. The poems are taken from Garcia Lorca’s cycle Poema del canto jondo (Poems of the deep song), which celebrate the Andalusian gypsy culture and flamenco music.

The Latvian composer Eriks Ešenvalds is represented on the program with “Stars,” a remarkable piece for chorus accompanied by the otherworldly sound of tuned glasses. Other contemporary composers on the program include Stephen Paulus, Michael Fink, Andrej Jansons and Alf Houkom.

A more traditional holiday program will be presented by jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves, appearing in Macky Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16. Reeves briefly studied music at CU Boulder before she became a touring performer. With 18 albums to her credit from 1987 to the present, she has so far won five Grammy awards.

The program for her performance, titled “Christmastime is Here,” has not been announced, except it will include “holiday favorites.”

The title piece of Boulder Chorale’s holiday concert will be John Rutter’s “All Things Bright and Beautiful.” Featuring 200 singers in six choirs, from children to adults, and guest soloist Sheryl Renee, the performance will be accompanied by piano, harp, percussion and other instrumentalists.

In addition to Rutter’s piece, the program will include a Peruvian carol sung in Spanish, “The Color Purple” from the Broadway Show and the traditional African-American folk song “Children, Go Where I Send Thee” with the full adult choir and Bel Canto, the top children’s group. The audience will be invited to join in on traditional carols.

This will be the first year for the Longmont Symphony’s new director, Elliot Moore, to lead the annual Candlelight Concert, at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17. The concert, with the Longmont Chorale Singers and soloists, will open with Vivaldi’s Gloria, one of the most popular Baroque choral works. Other classical works will include Ottorino Respighi’s Adoration of the Magi and J.S. Bach’s beloved Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring. The concert will conclude with a collection of holiday carols.

A twist on the traditional holiday event is provided by Boulder Symphony, who are billing their “Holiday Memories” program at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20, as “a dementia-friendly concert.” Intended for those with dementia and their caregivers, the concert will be presented in a “low-sensory setting.” The concert will be free, with a limited number of tickets available.

Performance details and ticket information on these holiday events:

Fire And Ice: Christmas With Ars Nova

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, Heart of Longmont United Methodist Church, 350 11th Ave., Longmont

4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, Sgt. Paul Community of Faith, Denver

7:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Dec. 14 and 15, St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1419 Pine St., Boulder


The Nutcracker

Centennial State Ballet

7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 15

2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16

1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17


Diane Reeves: Christmas time is Here

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16

Macky Auditorium


All Things Bright and Beautiful

Boulder Chorale, Vicki Burrichter, artistic director, with Chamber Singers, Children’s Chorale, and Sheryl Renee, guest artist


4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 16 and 17, First United Methodist Church, 1421 Spruce St., Boulder.


Candlelight Concert

Longmont Symphony Orchestra,

Elliot Moore, conductor

Longmont Chorale Singers and soloists, Scott Hamline, artistic director

4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17, Westview Presbyterian Church, 1500 Hoover St., Longmont


Holiday Memories

A Dementia-Friendly Concert

Boulder Symphony, Devin Patrick Hughes, artistic director

3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20

First Presbyterian Church, 1820 15th St., Boulder

Free; reserve tickets

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