Oh come, all ye ticket-holders

'Tis the season to be entertained at holiday concerts, ballets, plays

The season is upon us. Just look outside for confirmation, if you need it.

The menu for Thanksgiving dinner still might be in the planning stages, but it's not too early to start thinking about how to spend those precious few days between Nov. 28 and Dec. 25. With Thanksgiving arriving as late as possible this year, only four weekends separate the two holidays.

A great way to get into the Christmas spirit is with Charles Dickens' classic tale of redemption. The Community House once again will present "A Christmas Carol: In Concert," a staged reading of the story that debuted last year.

Jimmy McDermott, director of the LyArts program at The Community House and of this production, said he's pleased to bring it back.

"We have a really interesting mix of returning people and new people, so that is super exciting," he said. "We've refined some of our ideas - simplifying some things, expanding others. I'm eager to try that out."

With so many performances of this story in so many locations, what prompted McDermott to offer another telling of it here in Hinsdale?

"I think it's important everywhere, quite honestly," he said. "Dickens was so acute at exploring every tax bracket of society, his ability to do that, it really thoroughly and beautifully and honestly allows different audiences to hear it in their own way, for the very first time perhaps."

McDermott, who created this "text-forward" adaptation, believes it's important to reconnect audiences with Dickens' actual prose.

"People are more familiar with how we reference 'A Christmas Carol' through pop culture than the show itself," he said. "We've seen so many iterations of it or references to it or winks and nods, more than actually sitting inside the words of the novel and what actually takes place in the story. We're more familiar with adaptations than we are the source material."

Even those who know the story, he believes, will be touched.

"If it's presented honestly, it has the power to grab you

every single time," he said.

McDermott said he always conveys the same message when he's talking about the relevance of this story, whether he's speaking with actors, audience members or reporters.

"It's not about these people who lived across the ocean 200 years ago," he said. "It's about us."

Do you hear what I hear?

Another annual tradition in Hinsdale is the holiday concert presented by the West Suburban Symphony Orchestra. This year's concert, "Merry," will feature old favorites and some interesting new pieces, conductor Peter Lipari said.

"We try to mix it up and do a combination of Christmas carol-y things and interesting stuff for the orchestra and fun, silly stuff for the audience," he said.

This year pieces arranged by Arthur Harris, who spent decades arranging for the Philadelphia Orchestra, will be part of the program.

"His arrangements are beautiful," Lipari remarked.

The chorus will be highlighted as it performs two of Robert Shaw's "Many Moods of Christmas."

"The chorus is down in the pit and they should be fun, too, and something different,' he said.

Younger audience members are sure to recognize many pieces, including one from "The Grinch," and the special guest at intermission. The concert brings out the holiday spirit in everyone, Lipari said.

"I enjoy the audience's enthusiasm for the program, and I enjoy the audience's enthusiasm for that time of year," he said.

He also enjoys the energy of the orchestra, "especially in the second half when we put on Christmas-y things like reindeer ears, which makes the orchestra fun to look at, which is fun for kids, and lets us let our hair down a little bit, which is fun for us."

Lipari said he hopes the children who attend are inspired to return one day on their own.

"It's a way for us to reach out to kids in a non-intimidating concert environment to hopefully turn them on to bringing their kids to West Suburban Symphony concerts in 20 years as well," he said.

Following are details on these two performances and others taking place in Hinsdale or featuring Hinsdale artists.

For more holiday fun, click on the Holiday Happenings listing under Pulse.

Home for the Holidays

Nov. 30 & Dec. 1

Emmanuel Episcopal Church

203 S. Kensington Ave., La Grange

(312) 510-1823


The Hinsdale Chorale will present its annual holiday concert. Times: 7 p.m. Nov. 30, 3 p.m. Dec. 1. Tickets: $20, $15 for seniors and students.

'The Nutcracker'

Nov. 30 & Dec. 1

Hinsdale Central High School

55th and Grant streets

(630) 769-1199


Enjoy the Salt Creek Ballet's annual performance of this holiday classic. The Sugar Plum Party follows the Sunday matinée. Times: 1 and 5 p.m. Nov. 30, 1 p.m. Dec. 1. Tickets: $22 to $48.

'Jingle Bell Java'

Dec. 4

Hinsdale Central High School cafeteria

55th and Grant streets

Central musicians will perform festive music at this annual event. Time: 7 p.m.

Holiday Concert

Dec. 11

Hinsdale Central High School

55th and Grant streets

Central musicians will present their annual holiday concert. Time: 7 to 9 p.m.

'A Christmas Carol: In Concert'

Dec. 13-15

The Community House

415 W. Eighth St., Hinsdale

(630) 323-7500


Make the second annual staged reading of Charles Dickens' holiday classic - performed by friends and neighbors - part of the holiday tradition. Times: 7:30 Dec. 13 & 14, 2 p.m. Dec. 15. Tickets: $18.


Dec. 15

Hinsdale Central High School

55th and Grant streets

(630) 887-7464


The West Suburban Symphony Orchestra and Singers will present their annual holiday concert. Time: 3:30 p.m. Tickets: $25, $23 for seniors, $5 for teens, free for children 12 and younger. RR

Author Bio

Author photo

Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean