With Maesta Mary Woodmanssee Green conducting her last season with the Kennett Symphony of Chester County, this 25th Anniversary of her conducting here has a wonderful selection of music for the Christmas Concert on Saturday, Dec. 1.The first half is a real family tradition with Morton Gould’s festive “Serenade of Carols.
Then the Kennett Symphony’s Children’s Choir – almost 70 voices strong and under the direction of Eileen Keller, will perform Elgar’s “The Snow,” a series of poems by his wife, Alice, that have been set to music.
The winner of the Kennett Symphony’s voice competition, Kimberly Christie, will perform the aria from “Lucia di Lammermoor,” Schubert’s “Ave Maria” and Bernstein’s “Glitter and Be Gay” from Candide, Christie, a graduate of Rutgers University and a master of music degree from Peabody Conservatory, was praised by the Washington Post for her “Uninhibited movement and shining vocal abilities.” She is also quite beautiful.
As if all this isn’t enough to get you in the holiday mood, the entire second half will be the music from the second act of “The Nutcracker,” where all our favorite melodies live.
Tickets for the performance at 8 p.m. in the Kennett High School are $35 in advance and $40 at the door,
The Candlelight Holiday Home Tour in Kennett Square will have homes and churches all spruced up and looking in their prime on Sunday, Dec. 9, from 4 to 7 p.m. This thoughtful combination of houses and public buildings gives us all a chance to visit places we might otherwise not be able to enter. The itinerary is a good mix of showplaces from an open floor plan in a 100 year old renovated house to the work done removing and copying wooden trim on a home. Tickets are only $20, available from the Sunrise Café or www.KennettSquareHistory.org or by calling 610-444-8141. Monday through Friday 7 a.m.to 2 pm.
The Christmas display at Longwood Gardens will be open now, as it opened Thanksgiving Day, and I know it will be as spectacular as it always is. However, if you have a small child, do not miss the train setup outdoors. Walk past the conservatory and take the path down hill to the left. Between this exquisite brilliant train set up and the volunteer guards who are determined to have the children have a good time.This could be the highlight of a child’s Christmas. As one mother said, “Who said a child has to walk around this only six times?”
We will talk about the flowers at Longwood later – like after I see them – but the trains are big-time winners. The whole concept is brilliant.
But, and it is a big but -- if you want to see the decorations at Longwood, call and get reservations. You just might not get in without them. Even Neighborhood Pass Holders have to get reservations for the weekends and Christmas week.
If you wanted to join one of the decorating classes or bring a child to see Santa at Longwood – too bad. They are all sold out. Apparently it is still true that the early bird gets the worm.
Santa will be aboard the Santa Claus Express Trains of the Wilmington and Western Railroad Line out of Greenbank in Wilmington each weekend until Christmas, but better make your reservations now. The trains depart at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.
The Holiday Light Trains with the “Doodlebug” (special car) begins Dec. 14 with the trains running every evening before and after Christmas. Reserve tickets on the website:www.wwrr.com. This train is special as the people who live along the tracks decorate their homes with lights, usually their back yards, for the passengers to see. Such a terrific gesture!
Speaking of trains, the Brandywine River Museum has their traditional spectacular O-gauge train display with five out of 150 locomotives running at the same time. A highlight of this year’s display highlights trains in Japan following World War II with Japanese made trains. A fascinating display of pop-up books has a selection of books that ranging from the late 19th century to the sophisticated construction of today’s books. There are examples from Chuck Fischer, Edward Gorey to Robert Sabuda. Also on view in the galleries is “Donald Pywell: Golden Impressions of Andrew Wyeth,” the collection of exquisitely crafted jewelry by Donald Pywell that was inspired by Andrew Wyeth paintings. The settings for the jewelry were done by architectural designer T. Mark Cole.
Critters: There are critters, critters everywhere at the museum, set into scenes, hanging from trees and filling display cases. The annual critter sale will be Saturday, Dec. 1 and Sunday, Dec. 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The book “Teasel & Twigs, ‘Tis a Critter Christmas Tale” ($20) will also be for sale.
When you see the number of critters for sale and the number that are part of the decorations, one can only imaging how many hours the volunteers worked to make such a collection!
The Brandywine River Museum will host high school choruses on Dec. 4 and 10 at 11 a.m., on Dec. 13 at 11:30 a.m., on Dec. 18 at 10:30 a.m. and on Dec.19 and 20 at 10 a.m. Free with admission. They should sound wonderful with the acoustics in the museum.
Winterthur is offering some pleasant breaks from the season’s hustle and bustle with wine and jazz evenings. On Dec. 5 and 12 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. You will go on a Yuletide tour and return to the galleries reception area, where wine, fruit and cheese are available for purchase. If one is not purchasing a Yuletide tour ticket, the cost is $10 which includes live jazz, a $2 drink ticket and access to the gallery with the exhibit“Uncorked.”
Once again Santa will visit the Brandywine River Museum on Dec. 5 from 6 to 8 p.m. You may visit with Santa and Mrs., Claus, and have entertainment, face painting, costumed characters plus the pop-up 3-D books, the Victorian dollhouse, the trains and the critter ornaments. The author and illustrator of the critter book “Teasel and Twigs” will be there. Children 8 and under free, members $15 and non-members $25. To register call 610-388-8341.
As they have done for countless years, Santa and Bellsnickle, along with their Elf, have always visited Hank’s Diner in Chadds Ford for breakfast on the second Tuesday in December. When they appear, Santa wishes everyone a “Merry Christmas,” but Bellsnickle is carrying switches trying to find out who has been naughty. It is such a fun tradition, a man who had a meeting scheduled for that morning, cancelled it and has reserved a table for seven for that breakfast. Let’s hope that Bellsnickle doesn’t decide that he’s not one of the good guys.
The annual Christmas in Miniature Show at the Chadds Ford Gallery will open this Wednesday, Nov. 30 with a reception from 1 to 8 p.m. This is their 30th Anniversary, and they were the original Christmas in Miniature with smaller paintings by recognized artists. They have works by over 70 artists. How could you not find something you just love?
Karl Kuerner is well known as an artist. Now he has written two children’s books, “Ike at Night” and “Ike Takes Flight” about a black cat and illustrated the books. He will be at the Chadds Ford Gallery on Saturday, Dec. 8, from noon to 4 p.m. to sign his books. The books look adorable.
At Christmas time a brigade of volunteers needed to make the world go round multiplies. A little over as week ago a brigade of almost 80 volunteers gathered at the Brandywine River Museum to stuff the metal wreath frame with branches of yew and spruce. They are always looking for people to volunteer green, and they will come and harvest them.
The wire frame for the big wreathe is about 30 years old and was bent last year when the crane hit the building with it. The volunteers also make around 10 wreaths and decorate two wagon wheels.
These are dedicated wreath makers. Chairman Jan Feltz of Chadds Ford flew back from Florida to get the job done. It is always a little iffy as to whether or not the lights are going to behave. They did. Congratulations to all the wreathe volunteers who make such a lovely difference.
The enormous Green Show at Christ Church in Greenville, Del., will be held Saturday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free, so you can shop for hand decorated wreathes, fresh trees, plants, topiaries, holiday gifts from specialty vendors, home made soups, gourmet appetizers, baked goods and other treats. Bring the kiddies to have a photo of them taken with Santa without the lines at the malls. In addition they will be serving a delicious lunch, they have a raffle for a gorgeous hand-made quilt, there is gently used children’s clothing and other marvelous treasures.
This is a biggie. Last year they donated more than $90,000 to 40 local social service agencies
Have you looked at your Social Security Check recently? You know the one that gives back part of the money you paid into over the years from your earned income. Now Washington is calling it “Federal Benefit Payment Entitlement.” This is not entitlement; I paid for this over the years. Is this what is meant by “change”?
Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby –Eric is best known for his 20-year-old single song “Whole Wide World” that is still listed as “One of the Best Punk Rock Singles of all time.” Amy is a frequent visitor on the Philadelphia station WXPN and her songs “Diary of a Mod Housewife” and “Dancing with Joey Ramone.” The two have been a duo since2006 and have released two critically acclaimed albums hailed as “…charming, funny, harmony rich rock-and-roll sprinkled with rollicking Tex-Mex.” Friday, Nov. 30. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door.
Matthew Ryan –Born in Chester, Ryan funnels his raspy vocals and passionate lyrics into some very melancholy albums. He has become a country legend and is considered one of the best songwriters today. Saturday, Dec. 1. Advance tickets are $12, at the door $15
Glee –Monday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m.
Open Mic – Tuesday, Dec.4 at 6:30 p.m. Two beverage cover charge.
Tyrone Brown – This accomplished jazz musician has played with all the greats from John Blake Jazz Ensemble to Dizzy Gillespie and Grover Washington, Jr., Wednesday, Dec. 5, $10 admission, $5 student.
Better Than Bacon – This Improve Comedy Troupe will be back with their hilarious improvisations suggested by the audience. They will have Todd Chappelle as the headliner who is usually described as “acoustic comedy” as he is one accomplished singer/songwriter.Thurs, Dec.6. Advance tickets $10.
“Searching For Sugarman” –This true documentary about a vanished musician is more extraordinary than any of the existing myths about the man known as Rodriquez. Friday, Nov. 30, at 2 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1, at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2 at 6:15 p.m.
“Holy Motors” –This hilarious, most-talked-about film at Cannes Film Festival is a series of surreal adventures. Los Carax travels in his stretch, white limo with his elegant, imperturbable female chauffeur and becomes a motion-capture acrobat, a sewer-dwelling leprechaun, the leader of a boisterous accordion marching band, an assassin, a big lady, a forlorn lover etc.Friday, Nov. 30, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2, at noon.
Ballet: “The Pharaoh’s Daughter” – This tale of an infant born into slavery and becoming a princess when she is adopted by the pharaoh as his daughter was an extremely popular ballet in Russia under the Tsars. Sunday, Dec.2, at 2:30 p.m. Danced by the Bolshoi Ballet.
Caryl Huffaker lives in Kennett Township.