Once again, it’s that time of year, the much-anticipated Christmas/
New Year holiday season. Along with eggnog and mulled cider, plan on including some festive "glad tidings of comfort and joy." For lovers of Christmas carols and celebratory seasonal music, here are three offerings to warm the cockles.
Lenox Caroling Festival
n Friday-Sunday, Dec. 7-9: Directed by Artistic Director Andrea Goodman, over 200 singers from throughout the Northeast will gather to participate in the second Lenox Caroling Festival.
The groups, from the Berkshires, the Boston area and Delaware will compete for $2,750 in cash prizes.
The repertory selected by invited choral leaders ranges from favorite carols to Renaissance and Medieval masterpieces, as well as modern tunes and contemporary arrangements of traditional holiday music.
The festival weekend will begin Friday evening with the arrival of Santa Claus aboard the town’s No. 1 fire engine just prior to lighting of the town tree and carol singing in Lilac Park.
The "Allegrettos" from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts will perform.
The caroling festival competition will continue on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and from 2 to 4 p.m. A reception will begin at 4:30 p.m. in the foyer of the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre at Shakespeare & Co., 70 Kemble Street, Lenox, followed by
Families, children and friends are invited to the festival’s concluding event, a Children’s Tea with carol singing Sunday at 3:15 p.m. in Ventfort Hall, 104 Walker St., Lenox.
A full listing of the schedule, participants and events can be found online at lenoxcarolingfestival.org.
n Sunday, Dec. 9 at 2 p.m.: Close Encounters With Music, the highly popular winter-through-spring series presents Tragicomedia: A Baroque Holiday Celebration. This festive performance features a soprano and bass-baritone accompanied by rarely heard Baroque instruments: mandolin, lirone, chitarrone and viola de gamba.
The program includes 17th and early 18th century cantatas by Handel, Barbara Strozzi, Francisco Guerau, Agostino Steffani and Carlo Arrigoni.
The ensemble Tragicomedia has explored every musical genre from lute song to fully staged Baroque opera, in repertoire ranging from Monteverdi to Bach.
The ensemble has appeared annually at the Boston Early Music Festival since 1997.
The concert features soprano Mireille Asselin, bass-baritone Douglas Williams, viola da gambist Erin Headley, harpsichordist Michael Sponsellor and lutenists Paul O’Dette and Catherine Liddell.
Tickets are $42 (orchestra and mezzanine) and $32 (balcony), and are available at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office: 413-528-0100, mahaiwe.org. Subscriptions for the seven subsequent CEWM concerts and events include a free subscribers-only exclusive event, "A Midwinter Fireside Concert" at Ventfort Hall on Feb. 23 with the Amphion String Quartet.
To order, call or email Close Encounters: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Berkshire Lyric Chorus
Sunday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m.: Berkshire Lyric presents "Deck the Halls - the Christmas Concert" at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Park Square, Pittsfield. Participating ensembles include the 65-voice Berkshire Lyric Chorus, the Blafield Children’s’ Chorus, the Monument Mt. High School Chorus and "Gaudeamus" from Simon’s Rock College.
The Berkshire Lyric Chorus and the Blafield Children’s Chorus will be conducted by Artistic Director Jack Brown and will be accompanied by Joe Rose. Tickets are $20 for adults and free for students and children and may be purchased online at berkshirelyricinfo.org or at the church before the concert.
The Berkshire Singers, the teenage chorus of Berkshire Lyric, will be featured in a special concert at the Berkshire Museum on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 11 a.m. The chorus, led by Joe Rose, will be performing as part of the museum’s annual Festival of Trees Family Day celebration. Admission is free with a paid admission to the museum.
Upcoming: As part of Berkshire Lyric’s 50th anniversary season, the chorus will present Handel’s Messiah as a community sing on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 3 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church in Pittsfield. The audience is invited to sing, with vocal scores sold at the door. Jack Brown will conduct the concert, accompanied by Joe Rose. Past winners of Berkshire Lyric’s Young Singers Competition will be the vocal soloists: Felicia Coppola-Pavao, Miles Herr and Timothy Passetto. Admission is by donation. The Pittsfield Area Council of Congregations will sponsor the free will offering and all proceeds will directly benefit the Pittsfield Area Fuel Assistance Program.