Holiday arts roundup

Solstice, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas - the revelry begins!

As winter's dark grows, area arts entities are gearing up for a bright, lively holiday season. Listings of those events, including any Covid precautions, may be found in The Commons, on brattleboro.com, and on organizations' websites.

• In the lively arts, New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA) offers a holiday show, “The Flying CocoNut,” featuring adult and youth circus student performers and a special guest artist. “Inspired by The Nutcracker,” a NECCA news release notes, “the [story] veers off course when the opening party is crashed by pirates, and an unforgettable evening of high-flying feats, acrobatics, and circus mayhem ensues.” Dec. 16–18 at NECCA's Trapezium, 10 Town Crier Drive, Brattleboro. Tickets: necenterforcircusarts.org.

• Brattleboro School of Dance (BSD) presents “A Child's Christmas in Wales 2022,” Dec. 9–11, at the school's studio on 181 Main Street. According to a BSD news release, their fusion of holiday cozy and wintery beauty “brings the richly-textured memories and poetic prose of Dylan Thomas to life through a dramatic reading.”Original choreography depicts “all the charm of village life” in a busy port town in Wales in the early- to mid-1920s. “The BSD's winter production brings together dancers of all ages. Tickets: brattleboroschoolofdance.com.

• The Brattleboro Music Center (BMC) presents Palaver Strings, Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m., at the BMC, 72 Blanche Moyse Way. Titled “What If?” it features classic string quartet repertoire and collaborations with mezzo-soprano Sophie Michaux in works by Ravel, Björk, and Errollyn Wallen, among others. On Dec. 11, 4 p.m.; Brattleboro Camerata, directed by Jonathan Harvey, presents Renaissance Music of Latin America, including works in the indigenous Quechua and Nahuatl languages, and in Latin, by Gaspar Fernandes, Pedro Bermúdez, and Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla. Tickets: bmcvt.org. Dec. 6 at 6:30, the BMC Music School's adult string orchestra and flute choir perform a range of works including holiday favorites. Admission to the recital is free.

• At Epsilon Spires, 190 Main Street, Brattleboro, hear clarinetist Glenn Dickson in concert Dec. 2, at 8 p.m. “Meditative and cathartic, pensive and emotional, Glenn expands the warm sounds of the clarinet with live digital processing to create music that ranges from intimate whispers to lush symphonic layerings, creating a sensual experience,” according to a news release.

Their Lunchtime Pipe Organ series continues Wednesday, Dec. 7 at noon, with Henry Danaher in a program including Advent chorale preludes and music by Josef Rheinberger, Frank Bridge, and Alexander Russell, from the era when the Estey organ at Epsilon Spires was built. Tickets and info: epsilonspires.org.

• The Friends of Music at Guilford hosts their annual Messiah Sing-In on Dec 3, at 1 p.m. at Centre Congregational Church in Brattleboro, and a holiday concert on Dec. 9 and 10, at 7 p.m., at the Broad Brook Grange, Guilford Center Road, Guilford. For details: broadbrookcommunitycenter.org.

• Next Stage Arts and Twilight Music present an acoustic music Winter Solstice Mini-Fest, featuring multi-instrumentalist Matt Flinner and a folk/roots trio on Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m., at Next Stage, 15 Kimball Hill Putney. Tickets: nextstagearts.org.

• At The Stone Church in Brattleboro on Dec. 19 at 7 p.m., the Sweetback Sisters deck the halls, according to a Stone Church release, “with their modern take on the golden age of country music. This wildly popular show delivers a veritable explosion of yuletide splendor, complete with trivia, prizes, and of course, all the holiday tunes you know and love [...] For this show, the Queens of Christmastime put their signature twist on holiday classics and hidden gems that are sure to get even your scroogiest uncle in a festive spirit.” Tickets: stonechurchvt.com.

• St. Michael's Episcopal Church, 16 Bradley Avenue, Brattleboro, presents the St. Michael's Singers directed by Susan Dedell, on Dec. 11 at 4 p.m., in “The Festival of Lessons and Carols: O Magnum Mysterium.” A media release explains, “in the waning light of a Sunday afternoon, with candles and greens,” Dedell will mark her last time leading the story of the nativity. Free. More info: 802-254-6048.

• The Vermont Symphony Orchestra's Brass Quintet and Counterpoint will be at the Grafton Community Church, 55 Main Street, Dec. 17 at 5 p.m. This is the VSO's “well-loved annual holiday tour of a program of music and cheer.” Tickets: vso.org.

• The Windham Philharmonic performs Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 at the Latchis Theatre, Main St., Brattleboro, Dec. 12, 8 p.m. Tickets: windhamphilharmonic.org.

• In the realm of theater, Baker Street Readers offer a reading of A Christmas Carol, Dec. 9 and 10, 7 p.m. at Hooker Dunham Theater, 139 Main Street, Brattleboro. James Gelter and Tony Grobe are joined by fellow actors Bruce Halloway and Shannon Ward. Tickets: [email protected].

• New England Youth Theatre (NEYT) presents Shrek, The Musical, a family-friendly holiday event, Dec. 9–11 and 15–17. According to NEYT, its “peeled back version of Shrek [will] examine the layers of who we are and what it means to be yourself. Our scrappy reimagining will take a minimalist design approach, centering the acting as the main vehicle of storytelling.” Tickets: neyt.org.

• At Next Stage in Putney, yuck it up Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m., with the Vermont Comedy All Stars Stand-Up Comedy Holiday Spectacular. nextstagearts.org.

• Weston Playhouse offers its Winter Cabaret Dec. 2 and 3, 7:30 p.m. “A fun, festive show,” organizers say, “that's sure to get you into the holiday spirit and provide enough laughter to carry you through the new year!” And A Very Vermonty Christmas with Joe Iconis & Family plays Dec. 16 and 17, 7:30 p.m. “Iconis and his merry band of musical troublemakers come home for the holidays to entertain you with Christmas tunes new and old.” Tickets: westontheater.org.

• If you're looking for fine arts and crafts, check out Brattleboro's Gallery Walk, which perennially offers an extra-special evening the first Friday of each December. Dec. 2, from 5 to 9 p.m., the Walk features New Hampshire's premier ice sculptors who will be live-sculpting in the Harmony Parking Lot. Galleries, shops, and eateries will be open; the annual Holiday Tree Lighting is slated for 6 p.m. in Pliny Park. December's Walk theme is, appropriately, “making and gifting.”

While in town, catch Brattleboro-West Arts artists in an ongoing Atrium Hallway Gallery exhibit in the Brooks House, 132 Main Street. Titled “New Passage,” the show's latest offerings demonstrate the diverse talents of BWA members, from oil paintings by Cyndi M. Ferrante and Cai Xi and watercolors by Maisie Crowther to encaustic paintings by Jen Wiechers, tea art by Naomi Lindenfeld, and pastels by Lesley Heathcote.

•Brattleboro Flea returns to Epsilon Spires with a Holiday Pop-up Maker's Market Dec. 16 and 17.

• Bright Lights Maker's Market will be held at Memorial Hall, Wilmington, Dec. 9 and 10. Featured are works by potter Carol Ross and photographer Christine Triebert of South Newfane, and more. For more on the Market and other holiday events in Wilmington, visit wilmingtonworksvt.com.

• The Field House Holiday Festival will be held Dec. 3 and 4, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at 1276 Windham Hill Road, West Townshend. Ceramics, fiber arts, home goods, jewelry, and more. Info: meadowsbee.com.

• Main Street Arts in Saxtons River will hold a Yulefest celebration in conjunction with the lighting of the village Christmas tree on Dec. 4 from 4 to 7 p.m. A holiday marketplace in the MSA art room and outdoors will include craft sales, cookies, children's storytime, carol singing, and a visit from Santa, after he arrives at the Saxtons River tree lighting at 5 p.m. Food from Smokin' Bowls and adult beverages will be available for purchase. Info: mainstreetarts.org.

• River Gallery School, 32 Main Street, Bratteboro, hosts “Makers Day: Angels, Beasts, Shepherds, and Kings,” on Nov. 26, 1 to 4 p.m. “This all-ages, family-friendly workshop has been a tradition at RGS since the school was founded. […] This afternoon of fun,” RGS organizers explain, “engages all makers with every sort of material to create angels, shepherds, kings and queens, demons or beasts of their own imagination.

“Let the bounty of found objects and trimmings be your inspiration as you design and assemble something entirely your own. Spend time with your family and friends while making artful creations. You are welcome to bring additional materials, and make as many pieces as you like. Bring them all home or donate a piece to River Gallery School and it will be included in the December all-school exhibit and fundraiser.” Pre-registration not required; all are welcome (no limit to the number of guests).

'Tis the season to warm up to the cold, to find light in the darkness, to step out and embrace the arts. Enjoy.