Weekend MusicWatch: Spirit of the season


Joy Now Project's benefit funds scholarships.

Joy Now Arts Project’s benefit Sunday funds scholarships.

Holiday concerts are in full swing this weekend in Oregon, and you can also enter the holiday spirit by attending one of the worthy benefit concerts for Oregon music institutions. There’s even a few non-holiday musical events, and several non-live classical music shows on screen.

Portland Baroque Orchestra, Cappella Romana, Friday-Sunday, First Baptist Church, Portland. The one true Oregon “Messiah,” with some of the Northwest’s finest singers joining PBO’s superb orchestra in Handel’s complete oratorio on instruments and in the style nearest to what the composer originally imagined. There’s a kid-friendly performance of excerpts on Monday, December 16.

Trinity Choir, Oregon Symphony Brass and the Pacific Youth Chamber Choir, Saturday and Sunday, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland. One of the most interesting choral concerts of the season features Boston composer Daniel Pinkham’s popular Christmas Cantata, Christmas motets by Poulenc and Bruckner, carols, and more — including the traditional wassail party.

Eugene Symphony and and Pink Martini, Saturday, Hult Center, Eugene. The orchestra and Portland’s favorite big band combine for a Latin lounge holiday party, as heard on PM’s 2010 “Joy to the World” CD.

Cántico Singers, Friday, First Congregational Church, Portland. Classics by Bach, Vivaldi and others along with originals and arrangements of seasonal songs by contemporary Norwegian composers Ola Gjeilo and Trond Kverno and more, including Oregon’s own Morten Lauridsen.

Aurora Chorus, Madrona Viola Duo, Signe Lusk, Saturday and Sunday, First Congregational Church, Portland. Joan Szymko conducts a diverse program featuring music of Aaron Copland, Rachmaninoff (selections from his “All Night Vigil”), Irving Berlin and more, including premieres of two of her own compositions and a pair of her original arrangements.

Oregon Symphony, Northwest Community Gospel Choir, Friday-Sunday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland. For the 15th season, pianist/conductor Charles Floyd leads the orchestra’s popular holiday gospel concert.

St. James Bach Choir, Sunday, St. James Lutheran Church, Portland. Vocal soloists Christine Welch Elder, Hannah Penn, Les Green, and Kevin Walsh and organist Grant Edwards join the choir and orchestra for the third part of J.S. Bach’s great Christmas Oratorio.

Portland Symphonic Choir, Saturday and Sunday, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Portland. Seasonal favorites! And without a press release (like one provided by every other group listed here) or any further info on its website, that’s all we can tell you.


Creative Music Guild, Friday, Secret Society, Portland. CMG has long provided a hub for some of Portland’s most valuable out-there improvisers, including jazzers, dance accompanists, and musicians beyond category, including those performing in this concert benefiting the organization: Marisa Anderson, Keyon Gaskin & Noelle Stiles, Dragging an Ox through Water, Eternal Tapestry, Grammies.

Joy Now Arts Project, Sunday, Secret Society, Portland. This benefit raises money for scholarships for Portland’s dazzling MarchFourth Marching Band’s after school program, which offers circus, music and life skills training for youth ages 5-18. Performers include the women’s ukulele band Ukuladies, veteran Portland world music DJ Anjali and members of the March Fourth Marching Band


Metropolitan Opera, Saturday, various Oregon theaters. In case you missed Portland Opera’s fine production of Verdi’s “Falstaff” earlier this year, catch the latest in the Met’s Live in HD’ series, with Northwest native and Oregon favorite Angela Meade starring as Alice Ford.

Minnesota Opera, Friday, PBS. American composer Kevin Puts’s 2012 Pulitzer Prize winning opera, “Silent Night,” makes its seasonally appropriate public televsion debut.

Mariinsky Theatre’s Nutcracker, Saturday and Sunday, Clinton Street Theatre, Portland. The great Russian theater’s 2011 production of Tchaikovsky’s classic Christmas themed ballet, filmed in 3D.

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