As Christmas Day draws near, the weekends are filling up with performances, parties and good old fashioned holiday cheer. Here are five of the best.
HEAVANLY VOICES TACKLE HANDEL'S 'MESSIAH'
WHERE Wyoming United Methodist Church, 216 Wyoming Mill Road, Dover
WHEN 7 p.m., Saturday
COST $20 to $25
INFO (302) 245-0449
Sometimes, it just doesn't get any better than the classics. And, Christmas music doesn't get any more classic (or famous) than George Frideric Handel's oratorio, "Messiah."
Known as a journey of Christian faith, from the Old Testament into the New, "Messiah" consists of three sections: The coming of Jesus Christ, followed by his death and resurrection and, finally, the familiar "Hallelujah Chorus."
Legend has it that during one of the early London performances of the piece, the final chorus caused King George II to spontaneously rise to his feet in a fit of exaltation. Today's audiences regularly repeat the king's actions and locals will have that chance, too, when the Delaware Choral Society fills the sanctuary of Wyoming United Methodist Church with its collage of heavenly voices.
This looks to be the DCS's singular performance of "Messiah" in Dover and tickets are priced for budget-conscious Christmas lovers: $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors and military and free for anyone younger than 21 years old.
For more information or reservations, call (302) 245-0449 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Risk-takers may also be able to get tickets at the door if seats are still available.
HOLIDAY MARKET OFFERS ONLY HANDMADE ITEMS
WHERE The Biggs Musuem, 406 Federal St., Dover
WHEN 5 to 7 p.m., Friday and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday
COST Free admission
With so much emphasis on shopping local, why not take it a step further with items that are both local and handmade? Where would you find such things, you ask? The "Delaware By Hand Holiday Market" at the Biggs Museum is a good place to start.
The items featured are the work of Delaware's only online artist guild, Delaware By Hand, a collection of artist and artisan members of the Biggs Museum of American Art.
This year's market will feature fine art selections in jewelry, blown glass, fiber art, woodwork, ceramics, paintings and more.
First, spend time perusing never-before-seen gift ideas on the renovated first floor of the museum. Then, check out the free David Berndt lecture on "Rediscovering Bayard Berndt: A Son's Recollection of a Delaware Painter," which will begin at 10:30 a.m. Finally, replenish your strength for more holiday shopping with lunch at Abbott's Grill Café, also located at the museum.
For more information, visit www.biggsmusueum.org.
WHERE The Schwartz Center for the Arts, 226 S. State St., Dover
WHEN 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday; 2 p.m., Sunday
COST $12 to $25
For the fifth consecutive year, Read-Aloud Delaware has teamed up with the Ballet Theatre of Dover for a fundraising performance of "The Nutcracker."
This year's production will feature Dover's own Paul Janiga as Herr Drosselmeyer, Philadelphia dancer Dillon Shifferly as the Nutcracker Prince, 15-year-old Allison Wilkins as Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy and Dance Conservatory Alumni Sara Biscardi as the Snow Queen.
Tickets are still available and can be purchased at www.schwartzcenter.com or by calling (302) 678-5152.
Read-Aloud Delaware utilizes volunteers of all ages to read one-on-one to children in childcare centers, clinics and shelters serving low income families to help parents prepare children for school.
FIGHT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE WITH MUSIC
WHERE Walter L. Fox American Legion Post 2, 835 Bay Road, Dover
WHEN 12:30 to 8 p.m., Saturday
COST $15 at the door
Normally, fans would need to hit up five or six local establishments to see the familiar faces of Results May Vary, Tripping on Jack, Perception, 13:1, Chainbreak or Elwood. But, a serious cause is bringing them all together at the same venue for one day only.
Ash's Elves, a new group dedicated to eradicating domestic violence following the September death of Ashley Close, is hosting a fundraiser benefiting domestic violence victims who must celebrate the holidays in hiding and at safe houses.
Saturday's fundraiser will feature six bands, lots of food, raffles, auctions and a possible barrel of cheer. Organizers are also asking that people donate toys, clothing and necessities, which will all go to the clients of the Kent County Chapter for Domestic Violence.
For more information, visit www.ashselves.com.
CALLING ALL CAROLERS TO CAMDEN
WHERE Town Square, located at Main St. and Camden-Wyoming Ave., Camden
WHEN 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday
A new soon-to-be tradition is springing up in Camden this year. And, it's one that, according to Mayor W.G. Edmanson, will give the folks down in Williamsburg, Va. something to be jealous of, in terms of Christmas cheer.
"Caroling in Camden" kicks off with a ceremonial tree lighting, followed by the sweet, singing voices of lots of small children and most importantly, the collected voice of the whole town.
Feel your heart swell as pre-schoolers belt out kiddie favorites like "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph." Middle-school students will tackle "The 12 Days of Christmas" while Caesar Rodney High School students take on more complicated songs like "Carol the Bells" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Finally, the mayor, the council and the whole community will cap off the night with "Silver Bells," "Let it Snow" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town," which will appropriately lead into Santa's big arrival in Camden by fire truck.
No reservations are required, only a ready voice and Christmas cheer are necessary.