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Samples of work from participants of the Holiday Pop-Up Market at Epsilon Spires.

The Arts

Arts for the holiday season

December ushers in a flurry of performances, exhibits, concerts, and more

A year ago, we just hunkered down to get festive with a screen. Now there’re opportunities to go live again — indoors and out — while celebrating online is still an option here and there.

For whatever your Covid-cautious comfort level is, area arts entities are doing their best to help us safely revel in the holiday season. Here are some events to check out: it’s not a finite list, so keep checking your local media and organizations’ websites for more.

For ticket information and Covid attendance requirements, visit individual websites.

Happy arts-rich holidays! —Annie Landenberger, arts writer

Circus arts

New England Center for Circus Arts (necenterforcircusarts.org) celebrates solstice and the holiday season with the annual year-end celebration gone virtual, “T’was the Night....”

This filmed variation of NECCA’s popular holiday show features professional program students with youth troupe and advanced recreational talents in a heartwarming sharing of high-flying circus creativity.

The program streams on demand from Dec. 26 to Jan. 2.

Craft

Brattleboro Flea and Epsilon Spires winter market — Friday, Dec. 17 (3 to 7:30 p.m.) and Saturday, Dec. 18 (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) — features local handmade goods and gifts from area artists and makers, including ceramics, jewelry, cards, prints, macrame, brooms, natural medicinals, and more.

The market takes place in the community space at Epsilon Spires, 190 Main St., Brattleboro. On Saturday, the back lot will host local food and beverage vendors.

Main Street Arts Children’s Craft Fair takes place Sunday, Dec. 5, from 3 to 6 p.m. Children will be selling handmade craft and art works such as beeswax candles, herbed vinegars, potted plants in hand-painted pots, handmade scrunchies, handmade holiday cards, wooden swords, and tree ornaments. The fair coincides with the Saxtons River village tree lighting at 5 p.m. Complimentary hot chocolate served by Vermont Academy.

Southern Vermont Arts Center’s Holiday Craft Market (Saturday, Dec. 4 and Sunday, Dec. 5, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 930 SVAC Dr., Manchester) offers arts and crafts from around the region, including baskets, ceramics, decorative fiber, wearable fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, paper, and wood.

Dance

Brattleboro School of Dance presents The Nutcracker, a holiday classic filled with dancing, magic, and celebration for all, on Friday through Sunday, Dec.10 through 12, including two matinees, at Greenhoe Theatre, Landmark College, Putney.

As the BSD writes: “After nearly two years of Covid quietude, we are [presenting] the highly anticipated joy and warmth of one of the most beloved ballets of our time.”

The Nutcracker takes the audience on a fantastical journey through the land of sweets, where the Sugar Plum Fairy reigns and flowers come to life in blooming, swirling beauty.

Fine art

The Call of the Loon Local Artists’ Group Show —Among gallery openings and other festivities around Brattleboro Fri., Dec. 3, find 118 Elliot Gallery’s expanded group show featuring new work by seven local artists at 118 Elliot St., Brattleboro. (Story, this issue.)

Mitchell-Giddings Fine Arts, 181–183 Main St., participates in the Friday, Dec. 3 gallery stroll with its continuing solo exhibit, “Chuck Olson: Object and Memory” and opening a final presentation of Jackie Abrams’ baskets and vessels in her memory (details, this issue).

Local artist/teacher Orly Hasbani opens a show at River Gallery School’s Gallery 34, 34 Main St., Brattleboro, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Hasbani’s oil paintings explore light and shadow with bold and expressive strokes, as she renders still lifes, figures, and evocative landscapes with a spacious yet intimate approach. The RGS Studio also features an informal 30-year retrospective of Lydia Thomson’s oil paintings.

A collection of artisan menorahs have arrived in time for Hanukkah at Vermont Artisan Designs (106 Main St., Brattleboro; vtart.com). Featured December artists include Appel Bronstein, John Dimick, Gary Shepard, and Dominic Koval.

Holiday music on the gallery’s grand piano and complimentary refreshments can be enjoyed Friday, Dec. 3, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., during the gallery stroll.

Music

Advance Base Christmas Tour, Thursday, Dec. 9, 8 p.m. at Epsilon Spires, Brattleboro. (Story, this issue.)

Brattleboro Camerata, a chamber choir specializing in Renaissance-era and Renaissance-inspired music, presents its inaugural concert at the Brattleboro Music Center on Sunday, Dec. 12 at 4 p.m.

“The Angels Sang” features seasonal works spanning the years 1400 to 1600, including English carols, German chorales, Latin motets, and Spanish villancicos by Palestrina, Josquin, di Lasso, and Victoria, among others.

The GrooveBarbers’ Holiday Acappella [sic] Spectacular at Next Stage Arts, Putney (Saturday, Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m.). This go-to vocal group for rock, doo-wop, jazz, and even barber shop performs holiday hits interspersed with classics joined by operatic soprano Inna Dukach (Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House) for several “Doowopera” collaborations.

Vermont Jazz Center’s Big Band Scholarship Fundraiser Dance Gala. See story, this issue.

Vermont Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet joins forces with Counterpoint at Grafton Community Church (graftoncommunitychurch.org; 802-843-2447), 55 Main St., Grafton at 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 18 to ring in the holidays.

The program will feature Elizabeth Poston’s “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree,” carols by various U.S. composers, the Nigerian Christmas song “Betelehemu,” traditional European carols from the Trapp family songbook, and more. The brass selections range from soulful to sparkling, including a world premiere.

Windham Philharmonic offers a concert featuring “The Oak,” a work by African-American composer Florence Price. Unpublished during Price’s lifetime, this piece has only recently been first performed. Completing the program will be J.S. Bach’s Contrapunctus III from The Art of Fugue and Sonata no. 18 by Giovanni Gabrieli.

The by-donation concert takes place Monday, Dec. 6 at the Latchis Theatre, 50 Main St., Brattleboro, at 7 p.m.

Theater

• “A Christmas Memory, a casual theater hybrid of the quirky Prohibition-era Truman Capote story, takes place Saturday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m.

John Hadden directs his adaptation of the tale with Wild Goose Players and others, to be recorded and filmed with a studio audience at Stage 33 Live, 33 Bridge St., Bellows Falls.

Christmas Revels Festival, a free outdoor production at Colburn Park (51 N. Park St., Lebanon, N.H.) plus five reduced-capacity indoor concerts at the Lebanon Opera House, includes many of the songs, dances, and themes audiences have come to expect from the longtime tradition.

The festival runs Friday, Dec. 17 through Sunday, Dec. 19.

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” New England Youth Theatre’s annual holiday musical, runs Thursday, Dec. 9 through Sunday, Dec. 12 and Thursday, Dec. 16 through Sunday, Dec. 19, including two matinees, at NEYT, 100 Flat St., Brattleboro.

Productions at Weston Playhouse this season includes A Weston Winter Cabaret, on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. Cabaret maestro Tim Fort and a cast of former Young Company members’ present the theater’s fourth annual holiday celebration.

On Friday, Dec. 10 and Saturday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m.: A Very Vermonty Christmas features Joe Iconis and his “merry band of musical troublemakers home for the holidays.” Expect intimate, irreverent originals; holiday standards; yuletide surprises.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #641 (Wednesday, December 1, 2021). This story appeared on page B1.

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