The sounds of the season

Gloria: A Christmas Celebration” at PLU will feature works by Holst and Rachmaninoff as well as traditional carols and seasonal favorites. photo courtesy of Pacific Lutheran University

The winter holidays are a time for music: familiar carols, classical favorites, soul stirring choral music and the brilliance of brass instruments — the colors of holiday lights reflected on their shiny contours. At this time of year, most of us willingly allow ourselves to be swept up by the sounds of the season. Music is a powerful means by which the Christmas spirit is evoked and sustained throughout the holiday season.

Cynics, Scrooges and leather-clad metal heads, who would rather have a visitation by demonic Krampus than benevolent Saint Nicolas, may turn up their noses at the music that comes to us this time of year. For the rest of us, Tacoma’s musicians have been hard at work in the preparation of a great variety of musical fare that is sure to brighten the days and warm the damp, cold nights our Northwestern winter.

Following is a guide to Tacoma’s holiday music that will help you to hear the choirs of angels, celebrate Santa and his reindeer, conjure up magical snowmen and bring to mind winter wonderlands.

  • International Artists Carillon presents Christmas Bells are Ringing

Fri., Nov. 24, 1 p.m.

Museum of Glass, 1801 Dock St., Tacoma

Carillon bells with oboist Hope Bales.

Tickets: Free with museum admission


  • TCC Voices: Winter Snow 

Thurs., Nov. 30, 7:30 p.m.

Join the Tacoma Community College Chamber Choir for “Winter Snow!” This program features seasonal music, student solos, a cookie reception and an audience sing-a-long.

Program: “Ceremony of Carols” (selections), Benjamin Britten; “Glow,” Erin Whitacre; “Remembering December,” Pinkzebra; “A la Naninta Nana,” Spanish folk song; “Gute Nacht,” German folk song; “Yemaya,” Cuban folk song.

Tickets: Free (donations accepted)


  • Christmas Breath of Aire Concert 

Sat., Dec. 2, 7 p.m.

Central Lutheran Church, 409 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma

An 80-member concert choir presenting traditional and new renditions of your favorite Christmas music. Come celebrate and put some jingle in the season.

Tickets: $15 adults, $30 families, $22 one adult and children


  • Sing-Along with Santa

Sat., Dec. 2, 10 a.m.

Tacoma Musical Playhouse, 7116 6th Ave., Tacoma

Santa Claus is coming to TMP. Santa and the TMP elves will be at TMP to kick-off the holiday season. There will be singing of favorite holiday carols, with live accompaniment, and a special story reading by old St. Nick himself. After the sing-along, children will have the chance to meet Santa and give him their holiday wishes. Bring your family, friends and camera. A professional photographer will be provided.

Tickets: $10 general seating


  • Gloria: A Christmas Celebration

Sat., Dec. 2, 8 p.m.

Sun., Dec. 3, 3 p.m.

Fri., Dec. 8, 8 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 9, 8 p.m.

Lagerquist Concert Hall, Pacific Lutheran University, 12180 Park Ave. S., Tacoma

A PLU Christmas; Join PLU in one of the most beloved holiday traditions in the Northwest, as The Choir of the West, University Chorale and University Symphony Orchestra present the annual Christmas concert, “Gloria.” Works by Gustav Holst, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Randol Bass will be mixed with traditional carols and seasonal favorites as we celebrate the glory, hope, and peace of the Christmas season.

Tickets: $37


  • WinterFest Celebration of Winter in Music and Poetry

Sat., Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m.

Sun., Dec. 3, 2 p.m.

University of Puget Sound Kilworth Memorial Chapel, 1500 N. Warner St., Tacoma

Winterfest brings the much-adored Adelphian Concert Choir and Voci d’Amici to Kilworth Memorial Chapel, with a performance of music and poetry from many traditions, cultures and lands. Steven Zopfi will conduct the choirs and members of the Symphony Orchestra in music from England, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Israel, the United States, Norway, and Spain.

Tickets: $5-$10

Info: 344639602613259

  • Sounds of the Season 

Sun., Dec. 3, 2:30 p.m.

Pantages Theater, 901 Broadway, Tacoma

Symphony Tacoma will perform its annual “Sounds of the Season” concert. The annual collage of seasonal delights for the whole family features classics from cherished TV and Christmas movies, moving choral masterpieces, and a carol sing-along. The concert will include such delights as “The Little Drummer Boy,” “The Sleigh,” “My Favorite Things,” “Joy to the World,” and many other carols. Orchestral works will include “The Flight into Egypt” from Respighi’s Church Windows, the Fantasia on “Greensleeves” by Vaughan Williams, Elgar’s “The Snow” and Prokofiev’s “Troika.” Choral works will include John Rutter’s “Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day,” Eric Whitacre’s “Glow,” and much more. The whole family will enjoy this magical and hopeful musical outpouring of joy, complete with a carol sing-along and plenty of Yuletide cheer.

Tickets: $19.50, $46, $61.25, $81.50


  • A Big Band Christmas

Mon. Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m.

Tacoma Musical Playhouse, 7116 6th Ave, Tacoma

Celebrate the holiday season big band style. One of TMP’s most highly-anticipated events of the holiday season. The Swing Reunion Orchestra’s Big Band will be performing a show that will delight all ages. This 18-piece big band can play! You’ll hear traditional standards and wonderful Christmas music from the past including Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Chick Webb, Count Basie, and all the other stars of swing music.

Tickets: $25, reserved seating


  • Chorale and Dorian Singers: ‘Tis the Season

Tue., Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m.

University of Puget Sound, Kilworth Memorial Chapel, 1500 N. Warner St., Tacoma

Featuring Chorale, conducted by J. Edmund Hughes; and Dorian Singers, conducted by Kathryn Lehmann with music of Aspaas, Rutter, Eddleman, Hughes, Forrest, and Hampton.

Tickets: Free


  • Winter Concert

Wed, Dec. 6, 7 p.m.

Stadium High School, 111 N. E St., Tacoma

Come enjoy the Stadium High School Chorale and Treble Choir who join Stadium’s Freshman and Symphonic Bands for a special winter concert. The performances will feature a variety of seasonal pieces including traditional holiday carols, spirituals and songs from around the world, contemporary and popular. All bake sale proceeds will support the Stadium Band Boosters

Tickets: Free

Info: 128045924544552

  • Magical Strings Celtic Yuletide

Fri., Dec. 8, 7:30 p.m.

Urban Grace, 902 Market St., Tacoma

Welcome to the timeless realm of Celtic Yuletide! Three generations of the Boulding family will set the stage ablaze with the Tara Academy Irish Dancers, lively fiddling of Jocelyn Pettit, soulful songs with brilliant Dublin guitarist Colm MacCarthaigh and dynamic percussionist Matt Jerrell. Philip and Pam’s Celtic harp and hammered dulcimer will sing mysteries from their recent sojourn in Ireland, augmented by cello, violin, whistles, accordion and concertina. This festive gala of music, dance, storytelling, juggling, and songs of the season brings warmth and joy into the heart of winter.

Tickets: $12-$28


  • Christmas Music at the Victorian Holiday Festival

Sat., Dec. 9, 11 a.m.

WW Seymour Botanical Conservatory, 316 S. G St., Tacoma

Join the Clover Creek Ramblers at the Victorian Holiday Festival for Christmas music, crafts, and refreshments. 11 a.m.: Clover Creek Ramblers, 12:15 p.m.: St. Luke’s Bridge Bell Choir, 2 p.m.: Cara Francis.

Tickets: $3 suggested donation


  • sixth Annual Spectrum Choral Academy Christmas Concert

Sat. Dec. 9, 3 p.m.

University of Puget Sound, Kilworth Memorial Chapel, 1500 N. Warner St., Tacoma

Ring in the holiday season with Spectrum Choral Academy! Experience the beauty and joy of youth voices together in song at our sixth annual “Christmas Mystical & Magical” concert — featuring all 50 of Spectrum Choral Academy singers ages 5-23 singing holiday classics and popular favorites! Our Director’s Chorus of adults and Choir Club (grades K-5) with singers from around the community will also join Spectrum on stage for several selections. The concert concludes with “Silent Night” sung by candlelight.

Tickets: $10


  • Traditions, A Christmas Concert

Sat., Dec. 9, 7 p.m.

Pythian Temple, 924 Broadway, Tacoma

The Luminosity Orchestra will perform its multi-media holiday concert in the Great Room of Tacoma’s fabulous Pythian Temple.

Cost: $25-$35


  • 55th Annual Singing Christmas Tree

Sat., Dec. 9, 3 p.m., 7 p.m.

Sun., Dec. 10, 3 p.m., 7 p.m. 

Sat., Dec. 16, 3 p.m., 7 p.m.

Sun., Dec. 17, 3 p.m., 7 p.m.

Tues., Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m.

Wed., Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m.

Thurs., Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.

Fri., Dec. 22, 7:30 p.m.

Sat., Dec. 23, 3 p.m.

Life Center, 1717 S. Union Ave., Tacoma

Celebrate the miracle of the holidays with the Life Center Singing Christmas Tree. Since its beginning in 1963, hundreds of thousands of people have enjoyed the magic of Christmas. This seasonal extravaganza features festive Christmas carols, dancers, singers, thousands of twinkling lights, elaborate sets, a full orchestra, original music, and a dramatic storyline. Experience the awe-inspiring grandeur of the living Nativity; the birth of a baby born in a lowly manger, surrounded by live animals, kings, and angels. The Singing Christmas Tree has inspired, uplifted, and created wonderful holiday memories that last a lifetime. The performance features illumination of nearly 100,000 lights, 175 musicians, festive, toe-tapping music and an exciting drama with an inspirational message.

Tickets: $5-$25


  • Seattle Men’s Chorus: “A Sassy Brassy Holiday”

Sat., Dec. 9, 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Rialto Theater, 310 S. 9th St., Tacoma

It’s big, bold, and fabulously festive! Seattle Men’s Chorus returns for a celebration of the season. Enjoy the heartwarming melodies, familiar carols, and show-stopping shenanigans that have made this event a tradition for almost 40 years. You’ll hear your holiday favorites such as “Joy to the World” and “Deck the Halls,” brought to life by 200 proud singers and a full brass band.

Tickets: $32-$55


  • Second Sunday Music

Sun., Dec. 10, 1 p.m.

W.W. Seymour Conservatory, 316 S. G St., in Wright Park

This month’s concert features Ken Jacobsen — guitarist, cellist, composer. Enjoy live acoustic music among lush tropical floral displays on the second Sunday of every month. The performers reflect a wide spectrum of musical tastes and the music is intended to appeal to audiences of all ages and sensibilities.

Tickets: suggested donation $3


  • Celebrate Holiday Traditions

Sun., Dec. 10, 2:30 p.m.

Pantages Theater, 901 Broadway, Tacoma

Celebrate the holidays with Tacoma Concert Band at our only matinee of the season. We’re thrilled to welcome back soprano Erin Guinup as well as Dave Ross of KIRO Radio, who will again narrate “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Other pieces featured will be Russian Christmas music, “Carol of the Bells” (Mannhein Steamroller) and “Sleigh Ride.”

Tickets: $18-$36


  • Christmas Concerts

Sun. Dec 10, 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Sound Life Church, 3425 176th St. E., Tacoma

Immerse yourself in the spirit of Christmas at this family-friendly concert, featuring music performed by the Sound Life Choir and Band. There will be a blend of familiar Christmas carols and special songs. Childcare provided for ages 0-5.

Tickets: Free


  • International Artists Carillon Presents Christmas Bells are Ringing

Sun., Dec. 10, 4 p.m.

St Luke’s Memorial Episcopal Church, 3615 N. Gove St., Tacoma

A program of holiday music including an oboe solo, a handbell solo, and a double ensemble piece. Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy,” “Two Guitars,” and Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” are sprinkled throughout the concert.

Tickets: $8-$25


  • 2017 Christmas Ship Sailing

Sun., Dec. 10 & 11, 7 p.m.

Dock Street Marina, 1817 Dock St., Tacoma

The Christmas Ship Festival has been a Pacific Northwest tradition since 1949. Sail on the Christmas Ship with the choir, join the flotilla on your own boat, or enjoy the choir performances from shore.

Tickets: $20-$44


  • Home for the Holidays with the Tacoma TotemAires

Sun., Dec. 10, 3 p.m. 

Curtis High School Theater, 8425 40th St. W, University Place 

The Tacoma TotemAires proudly presents: “Home for the Holidays,” an afternoon of barbershop harmony. The TotemAires chorus and featured quartets will sing traditional holiday carols. Special guests featuring: the fantastic ladies of the Jet Cities Chorus (Sweet Adelines). There will be a sing-along portion for the audience as well

Tickets: $20 adults, $15 seniors, kids under 18 free with paid adult/senior admission.

Info: or or 253-237-SING (7464)

  • A Big Band Christmas

Wed., Dec. 13, 7 p.m.

Temple Theatre, 47 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma

This incredible holiday dinner show is held in the historic and beautiful Temple Theatre. Ticket price gets you a gourmet holiday buffet and show. You can also purchase drinks at the no host bars. The show is something truly special and will feature renowned jazz trumpeter, Rich Wetzel, and his Groovin High Orchestra with special singers. Picture a full big band playing big band Christmas classics ranging from Bing Crosby to Michael Buble’ to Harry Connick Jr. and more. Dinner show will start at 7 p.m. and go until 9:30 p.m. with an intermission. Attire is Christmas cocktail party. This is a wonderful show and something you will remember so bring your friends! If interested in reserving a table for 10 please e-mail Seating will be at tables. 21 and older.

Tickets: $50


  • Handel’s Messiah

Fri., Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m.

St. Charles Borromeo, 7112 S. 12th St., Tacoma 

Symphony Tacoma Voices perform their annual performances of Handel’s “Messiah.” Chorus Director Dr. Geoffrey Boers leads the Orchestra and Symphony Tacoma Voices in Handel’s beloved holiday classic — featuring the rousing “Hallelujah” chorus. Joining them will be soprano Christina Kowalski-Holien, mezzo Melissa Plagemann, tenor Wesley Morgan and bass Charles Robert Stephens, along with harpsichordist Amy Boers and organist Coni Liljengren.

Tickets: $30-$48


  • The Christmas Revels

Sat., Dec. 16, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Sun., Dec. 17, 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Tues., Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m.

Wed., Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m.

Rialto Theater, Rialto Theater, 310 S. 9th St., Tacoma

A celebration of the Winter Solstice presenting traditional music, dance, and drama on the Camino de Santiago. For centuries, pilgrims have walked the Camino de Santiago in Galicia (Northern Spain). The 2017 Christmas Revels finds Revels pilgrims (our Revels chorus) singing, dancing, and storytelling on the camino as they accompany one particular pilgrim on his journey. It’s a lively lovely, funny and joyous celebration for all ages. The heart of the production is the Revels adult and children’s choruses. Joining them are actors Todd Jefferson Moore and Bill Johns; folk musicians Kevin Carr, Pat O’Scannell, Kendra McLean, Jacob Breedlove; and The Seattle Brass Ensemble. Stage Director, BJ Douglas; Music Director, Megan Oberfield. Costumes, Alex Lewington; Set, Martin Christoffel.

Tickets: $19, $30, $35.50


  • NWRS Concert: Celebrate! Rejoice! Sing!

Sat., Dec 16, 7:30 p.m.

Sun., Dec 17, 3 p.m.

Mason United Methodist Church, 2710 N Madison St., Tacoma

This year, NWRS celebrates our founding Artistic Director, Dr. Paul Schultz, as he begins his final season with NWRS. We will present holiday favorites spanning our 16 seasons; from our very first selection of our 2001 debut concert, to last year’s concert finale.

Tickets: $17-$20


  • Songs in December Intimate Concert

Thurs., Dec. 21, 7 p.m.

The Dukesbay Theater, 508 S. 6th Ave., Tacoma

An intimate concert filled with familiar songs of reflection, hope, and Advent performed by Jacqueline Harmon, featuring guitarist Brad Waidelich, violinist Emily Golan-Wood, and percussionist Timothy Golan-Wood. Seating is limited.

Tickets: $10 donation to the door.


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