Choral music goes hand in hand with the holidays, so it’s no surprise that many of the top classical concerts in the metro area this holiday season are dominated by singing. Many of these must-see concerts are annual traditions — one has been running for nine decades — but that doesn’t make the shows any less of an event. While choral events make up a large portion of this list, there are also opportunities for the more instrumentally inclined, as members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra fan out around town to spread some holiday cheer.
Spelman-Morehouse Christmas Carol Concert.What more is there to say about this Atlanta holiday legacy that is so popular organizers have begun live streaming the concert over the internet? Concert goers that make their way to the Spelman or Morehouse campuses for the 93rd annual event will find an evening full of traditional and contemporary songs performed by the combined college glee clubs. Expect to hear sacred and secular Christmas music, including spirituals and music by African composers. (7:30 p.m. Dec. 6; 6 p.m. Dec. 8. Free. King Chapel, Morehouse College, 830 Westview Drive SW, Atlanta. www.spelman.edu. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7. Free. Sisters Chapel, Spelman College, 350 Spelman Lane, Atlanta. www.spelman.edu)
Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus. Under the direction of artistic director Donald Milton III, the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus presents its 39th annual holiday concert. Selections from the program range from the Gregorian hymn “Ubi Caritas,” composed some time between the fourth and 10th centuries, to pop classics including Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas (Is You).” The concert also provides an opportunity to help Lost-n-Found Youth, an organization that serves the area’s homeless LGBTQ young people. Audience members can bring donations from the organization’s wish list, posted on the website. (8 p.m. Dec. 6; 1 p.m., 6 p.m. Dec. 7. $15-$60. Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. www.voicesofnote.org)
Christmas with the ASO. Tenor Timothy Miller, of Atlanta Braves fame, joins the Gwinnett Young Singers, special guests and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus conducted by Norman Mackenzie, director of choruses, to perform holiday tunes, hymns and carols. This concert never fails to jump start the holidays. (8 p.m. Dec. 6-7; 3 p.m. Dec. 7-8. $29-$79. Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta. www.atlantasymphony.org)
ASO Brass. For holiday revelers searching for a more subdued alternative to the orchestra, the ASO Brass will perform as holiday concert with organist Jack Mitchener and conductor Dale Adelmann. This is the third performance of what has become an annual, one-night-only tradition. The show promises to be full of holiday carols and sacred pieces arranged for brass ensemble. (7:30 p.m. Dec. 9. $10-$25. Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. www.cathedralatl.org)
Handel’s ‘Messiah.’ In yet another opportunity to hear the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra this holiday season, the symphony will once again perform multiple nights of Handel’s “Messiah.” For the first time, guest conductor Nathalie Stutzmann is coming into town, leading the symphony, the ASO Chamber Chorus and an array of guest singers in the cherished sacred work. These concerts present a chance to hear the well-known piece with a new-to-Atlanta conductor. Also on the program are two Mozart works, the “Haffner” symphony and “Exsultate, jubilate.” (8 p.m. Dec. 12-13. $20-$80. Symphony Hall, 1280 Peachtree St NE, Atlanta. www.atlantasymphony.org)
Christmas with Atlanta Master Chorale. Tom Key, artistic director of Theatrical Outfit, will join the Atlanta Master Chorale for this annual holiday concert. Under the direction of Eric Nelson, who has served as artistic director of the group since 1999, the 60-voice group will perform a program of sacred songs on Emory University’s campus. Audience members will be encouraged to sing along. (8 p.m. Dec. 13-14; 4 p.m. Dec. 15. $15-$35. Schwartz Center, Emory University, 1700 N. Decatur Road, Atlanta. www.atlantamasterchorale.org)
Coro Vocati. Coro Vocati has been bringing its intimate choral sounds to venues around the city for a decade now. It began its 10th season in September with a concert dedicated to pieces from marginalized composers. Coro Vocati’s holiday concert will be filled with familiar soungs and some lesser-known tunes as they present a program of hymns, carols and other seasonal music. (7 p.m. Dec. 14. $10-$20. Smoke Rise Baptist Church, 5901 Hugh Howell Road, Stone Mountain. 3 p.m. Dec. 15. $10-$25. All Saints’ Episcopal Church, 634 W. Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta. www.corovocati.org)
Georgia Boy Choir.Founded in 2009, the Georgia Boy Choir, which includes five separate ensembles comprised of 85 singers, is entrenched in the Atlanta choral community. Though their home is in the city, the choir has the bona fides of an internationally known ensemble, including performances in Carnegie Hall, choral residencies in England and international tours, including a recent stint in Scotland and Ireland. Back home, the Georgia Boy Choir’s holiday concert is a seasonal tradition, as listeners get the chance to hear all five ensembles perform sacred classics, Christmas carols and other holiday tunes. (7 p.m. Dec. 20-21. $15-$40. Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, 3180 Peachtree Road, Atlanta. www.georgiaboychoir.org)
Gate City Brass. The five-member Gate City Brass ensemble routinely performs genre-spanning concerts, stacking classical, jazz and pop repertory into the group’s concert schedule. For the holidays, the ensemble performs seven holiday themed concerts around Georgia. On Dec. 8 in Marietta, it performs a selection of traditional Christmas carols and original holiday arrangements from the quintet’s new album, “‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime.” (4 p.m. Dec. 8. $8-$15. First United Methodist Church, 56 Whitlock Ave., Marietta. www.gatecitybrass.com)
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