Musical celebrations of the season

Concerts help audiences ring in the holidays with traditional tunes, newer pieces


Last updated 11/21/2023 at 3:51pm | View PDF

The Hinsdale Central Chamber Choir will present its Madrigal Concert Monday, Dec. 4, one of two holiday concerts student musicians will perform next month. The holiday concert is scheduled for Thurdsay, Dec. 14. (photo provided)

The holiday concert at Hinsdale Central High School is a decades-long tradition that has become as much a part of the holiday season as candy canes and reindeer for the student musicians.

"It's definitely a pretty established tradition here at the high school," said choir director Jennifer Burkemper, who has been leading singers at Central for 17 years. She said Central's choirs, orchestra and bands began rehearsing their holiday repertoires weeks ago in preparation for the Thursday Dec. 14, concert, set to start at 7 p.m. in the school's auditorium.

The concert will include performances by every ensemble in the music department, with songs that range from familiar carols to less traditional pieces. The audience can expect to hear classical pieces, jazz arrangements, choral arrangements of well-known songs and much more, Burkemper said.

"It's a huge mix," she said.

The combined performance of all choirs with the school's wind ensemble is a tradition within a tradition. The choirs and wind ensemble will once again close the concert with a medley of Christmas songs performed under falling snow - another holiday tradition, Burkemper said.

Among the ensembles set to perform is the Central Chamber Choir. But before the combined concert, the Chamber Choir will host a performance of its own when it presents the Madrigal Concert at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4, in the Central auditorium.

Dressed in costumes of the Renaissance age, the evening includes performances by the choir, as well as student actors and court jesters who entertain the audience just as kings and queens of centuries ago.

Guests will be treated to wassail and cookies

Both concerts are free and open to all.

Several other holiday concerts are on tap for the end of November and early December.

"Welcome Yule!"

Who: Hinsdale Chorale

When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 26

Where: Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 203 S. Kensington, La Grange.

Tickets: $20, $15 for students and seniors

Information: or (312) 510-1823

Under the direction of artistic director Mary Hopper, the Hinsdale Chorale will welcome the holiday season with a program of holiday music on the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Featured on the program is "A Ceremony of Carols" by Benjamin Britten, a Bach cantata movement and lively Christmas carols from a variety of composers. Guests will hear carols sung in several languages, including German, Latin, Spanish and English.

The singers will perform with accompaniment by Kathy Christian on piano and Faye Seeman on harp.

"Holiday Concert"

Who: Salt Creek Chamber Orchestra

When; 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2

Where: First United Methodist Church, 100 W. Cossitt, La Grange

Tickets: Free at the door


This free performance is presented as part of the La Grange Holiday Walk. Under the direction of Tim Semanik, the orchestra will perform a mix of old favorites like "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," as well as newer holiday songs like "Christmas Once More" and music from "The Polar Express". The orchestra also will lead the audience in a carol sing-along.


Who: West Suburban Symphony

When: 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3

Where: Hinsdale Central High School auditorium, 55th and Grant Streets,

Tickets: $30, $25 seniors, $5 for teens, free for children 12 and younger, available in advance (through Dec. 2) or at the door

Information: or (630)-887-7464

Maestro Peter Lipari will lead the orchestra in a collection of holiday songs and literature for the whole family. This traditional holiday concert includes familiar hits by Leroy Anderson, selections from Pyotr Tchaikovsky's beloved "Nutcracker" ballet, Victor Herbert's nostalgic "Babes in Toyland" operetta and John Powell's charming "Happy Feet". Young audience members will have the chance to greet Santa and adults have a chance to win a $250 raffle prize.

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean


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