Classical holiday performances are all about tradition and familiarity. Every year, the Spelman-Morehouse Christmas Carol Concert will be riveting, and performances of holiday favorites by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will invoke a twinge of nostalgia. While these cherished chestnuts may stay much the same year in and year out, the events still represent the best holiday classical music has to offer, and with touring groups making Atlanta a must-stop during holiday-season tours, there’s always a surprise or two in store.
A Chanticleer Christmas
William Fred Scott, who served as conductor and artistic director of the Atlanta Opera for 20 years after a stint as assistant conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, took over this storied men’s chorus in 2015. This holiday season marks the first time Atlantans will be able to hear the ensemble’s Christmas program under Scott’s direction. The performance will include carols like “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” and “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” in addition to more classical fare such as “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Ives and “Ecce virgo concipiet” by William Byrd.
2 p.m. Nov. 26. $65. Spivey Hall, 2000 Clayton State Blvd., Morrow. 678-466-4200, spiveyhall.org.
Spelman-Morehouse Christmas Carol Concert
For 90 years, the combined glee clubs at Spelman and Morehouse colleges have been celebrating the season with an evening of song. Actually, three evenings of song, and if it’s too difficult to make it to one of the shows during this busy time of the year, officials at Spelman are live broadcasting the Dec. 3 performance at www.spelman.edu/livestream. All concerts are free, but entrance to the Spelman event requires a complimentary ticket.
7:30 p.m. Dec. 2; 6 p.m. Dec. 4. Free. MLK Jr. Chapel, Morehouse College, 830 Westview Drive S.W., Atlanta. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3. Free. Sisters Chapel, Spelman College, 350 Spelman Lane, Atlanta. 404-270-5476, www.spelman.edu.
Christmas with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
For this holiday music spectacular, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, under the baton of Director of Choruses Norman Mackenzie, link up with the Morehouse College Glee Club and the Gwinnett Young Singers to present a program of beloved carols and hymns. This event is so deservedly popular, the symphony books its musicians for three performances across two days.
8 p.m. Dec. 9; 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 10. $22-$71. Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-733-5000, www.atlantasymphony.org.
Christmas with the Atlanta Master Chorale
The Atlanta Master Chorale, an ensemble composed of 60-odd musicians, bills its annual holiday concert as the most well-attended concert in its five-show season. During previous holiday programs, the group has performed arrangements of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “Ding, Dong, Merrily on High” alongside “O Magnum Mysterium” and “Bogoroditse Devo.”
8 p.m. Dec. 10; 4 p.m. Dec. 11. $30. Schwartz Center, Emory University, 1700 N. Decatur Road, Atlanta. 404-727-5050, atlantamasterchorale.org.
Santa’s Favorite Chamber Music
Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta, founded in 1993, touts its mission as creating “new generations of educated and passionate music lovers.” The group reaches out to these young classical fans by bringing the magic of Santa to the realm of classical music. The ensemble pledges that Jolly St. Nick will introduce listeners to some of his favorite Christmas tunes, giving holiday treats to eager listeners.
4 p.m. Dec. 11. Free. Carlos Museum, Emory University, 571 S. Kilgo Circle N.E., Atlanta. 404-727-5050, arts.emory.edu.
A Skylark Christmas
As part of a six-city tour of Christmas fare, the Skylark Vocal Ensemble brings its interpretation of the holiday to one of the best concert halls in the area. The group, which boasts some of the finest chamber musicians and music educators in the country, has become an Atlanta staple over the past few years, growing in popularity with each passing season.
7:30 p.m. Dec. 11. $40. Spivey Hall, 2000 Clayton State Blvd., Morrow. 678-466-4200, spiveyhall.org.
Handel’s ‘Messiah’ with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
After pressing pause on this annual tradition last year, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will once again present the Christmas portion of Handel’s “Messiah.” The ensemble will be joined by soprano Jessica Rivera, tenor Cullen Gandy, baritone Gerard Sundberg, and mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor, who last appeared with the ASO in performances of Mahler’s “Song of the Earth” in November. Vivaldi’s “Gloria” is also part of the program. The one-night-only Atlanta performance (Dec. 15) will be reprised in Athens on Dec. 18.
8 p.m. Dec. 15. $22-$60. Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 3 p.m. Dec. 18. $31-$72. Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall at the University of Georgia, 230 River Road, Athens. 404-733-5000, www.atlantasymphony.org.
Christmas with the Georgia Boy Choir
The Georgia Boy Choir is so entrenched in the local classical music scene, especially around the holiday season, that it’s hard to believe the group was founded only seven years ago. The musicians have already performed internationally at venues in England, Estonia and Finland, and they are fresh off a June tour of Portugal and Spain. For its holiday concert, the group takes to Peachtree Road United Methodist Church for Benjamin Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols,” a raucous audience singalong to “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” and more.
7 p.m. Dec. 16-17. $12-$40. Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, 3180 Peachtree Road N.E., Atlanta. 404-402-4083, georgiaboychoir.org.
Coro Vocati Christmas Concert
John Dickson, Louisiana State University’s director of choral studies, will lead this 23-voice choir in a program of Advent and Christmas material. Musicians in the choir are professional performers, educators and church singers, making the choir’s Latin moniker, translated as “choir of the called,” quite fitting.
3 p.m. Dec. 18. $15-$20. All Saints’ Episcopal Church, 634 W. Peachtree St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-881-0835, allsaintsatlanta.org.
Baroque Candlelight Christmas
Soprano Wanda Yang Temko will join the New Trinity Baroque chamber ensemble to perform cantatas by Christoph Bernhard and Alessandro Scarlatti during the group’s annual classical celebration of the holidays. The musicians, who perform on period instruments, will also play works by Corelli, Vivaldi and Manfredini.
8 p.m. Dec. 18. $9-$49. St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, 1790 LaVista Road, Atlanta. 770-638-7574, newtrinitybaroque.org.
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