What would Christmas be without the Chester County tradition of hearing music by the Kennett Symphony of Chester County? Maestra Mary Woodmansee Green has chosen some old favorites for us to enjoy, including "Silent Night," "The Skater's Waltz," "O Holly Night" and "The 12 Days of Christmas." There will be two concerts, one on Saturday, Dec. 3, at Kennett High School at 7 p.m. and one on Sunday, Dec. 4, at the International Cultural Center at Lincoln University at 2 p.m. The Kennett Children's Choir will sing in Kennett performance, and the Nottingham School Chorus will perform in Lincoln University.
As a special treat we will be hearing vocalist Daryl Freedman, this year's vocal competition winner and violinist Blackstone, this year's Instrumental Competition winner. Santa will also make an appearance with a sweet treat for everyone.
For tickets, call 610-444-6363. Adults tickets are $35/$40, students are $5.
Christmas is almost upon us, as the 26th Candlelight Christmas Candlelight Tour to benefit the Chadds Ford Historical Society will be held Saturday, Dec. 3, from 1 to 6 p.m. This year they have four outstanding homes, three in Pocopson and one in Pennsbury, all of which have to be accessed by shuttle. Visitors will also be welcomed with decorations and Colonial refreshments at the historic BarnsBrinton House.
Houses on the tour include the Old Homestead, the 1700s fieldstone farmhouse owned by the Darlington family for over a hundred years. This house with seven bedrooms and seven working fireplaces also has a blacksmith shop, a springhouse and the room once rented by collector Chris Sanderson when he taught at the Denton Hollow School. Another house on tour is Stonebridge Farm, the home of Jim and Marilyn Serum. Built in 2008 on the footprint of the stone barn that belonged to the Old Homestead, the home has a great room, two offices, a workshop, an elevator and the original barn's two silos integrated into thee the design.
Advance tickets at $16 are available from Chadds Ford Historical Society's Barn or the Chadds Ford branches of Citadel Federal Credit Union or Bryn Mawr trust through Dec. 2. They may be ordered from The Barn 610-388-7376 and picked up the day of the tour. or send a stamped self addressed envelope and they will be mailed. Tickets are $20 the day of the event.
Winterthur is open and ready for Christmas with the favorite displays from past years on display. They trace the changes in Christmas, for back in colonial times Christmas was an adult-centered time of gaming and carousing, changing to a child's paradise of toys and Christmas trees in the 1800s and finally to the extravagant holiday decor of the 20th century. Several of the scenes depicted show the du Pont family's traditions, including the extravagant dinner party that celebrated the family's first 100 years in America, held on New Year's Day, 1900, with more than 100 family members in attendance.
This beautiful tribute Christmas will be on display through Jan. 8.
The ever-so-popular Christmas in Miniature will open at the Chadds Ford Gallery on Wednesday, Nov. 30 from 1 to 8:00 p.m. and continue through Dec. 31.This 30 annual show of original framed art, created in miniature for holiday gift giving, has been painted by more than 75 established and award winning artists. The original show, now copied by many galleries, had 18 artists. For this anniversary show all of the 18 will be represented, living or in spirit, along with 57 others. Some of the artists in the show include Ann Wyeth McCoy, Anna B. McCoy, Rea Redifer, Karl J. Kuerner, Paul Scarborough and Duke Snow.
The Gallery has a very different appearance, having just undergone a complete renewal. There will also be a wide variety of Wyeth art in Giclee Limited Editions by Andrew Wyeth, Jamie Wyeth and N.C. Wyeth.
Admittedly I am still urging people to go see the gorgeous Chrysanthemums at Longwood Gardens, and the hundreds of colorful parasols hanging from the ceiling. But the Chrysanthemums will vanish Nov. 24 with the Christmas display opening that day. Local people know well the crowds and congestion during the Christmas display, so Longwood is selling timed tickets so the aisles, parking lots and Route one won't be absolute chaos. I hasten to add that Garden Pass members do not need to have timed tickets but can just come in. Visitors without a pass are urged to "Buy Before You Arrive"
"Christmas at Hagley" exhibit that opens Friday, Nov. 25, features lace owned by the duPont family Along with the exhibition of fragile lace, dried materials and fruits, toys and nineteenth century decorations will be on display
On Worker's Hill there will be children's activities, with music, games and crafts on weekends in the Gibbons House Nov. 25 through 27, weekends in December and Dec. 26 through January 1.
What would Christmas be without the famous Critters hand made of natural materials at the Brandywine River Museum? They will be on sale Dec. 3 and 4 and cover all sports, although horses are featured. There are also foxes, hounds carriages, ladies in flowered hate and men in top hats. The prices run from $5 to $45. Admission at the Brandywine River Museum is free during the sale.
The Kennett Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting begins at 6 p.m. on Nov. 25
If you would like to get your consciousness and your blood pressure raised, go to the free film "Inside Job" about what caused the financial meltdown in the U.S. This documentary will be shown Saturday, Nov. 26 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at London Grove Friends Meeting as part of their Peace and Social Justice Film Series. A discussion will follow.
"Christmas Past" is the final lecture in the Hagley's Civil War Education Series commemorating the sesquicentennial celebration of the war to be given by Jane Peters Estes with special emphasis on Christmas customs observed during the Civil War. The lecture at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1 will be in the Hagley Library. As part of the program the first floor of the du Pont family residence featuring the annual holiday display will be open from 5 to 6:45 p.m. for tours. The event is free and open to the public. Reservations are requested at 302-658-2400.
The 58th annual Green Show at Christ Church in Greenville will be held Saturday, December 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be an array of holiday gifts and food, including traditional greens wreathes, trees, boughs and roping as well as hand crafted items. Santa will be there for photos. Lunch is available For more information call 302-655-3379.
The Friends of the Brandywine Battlefield are celebrating Patriot's Day Saturday, Nov. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will be musket firing, open fire camp cooking, display of Corky Kelly 18th century cooking utensils, basket weaving, and a medical display, Gene Pisasle discussing and signing his books, Ring House open all day with Robert Mouland playing the harpsichord. Admission charged.
With all the attention being directed at the anniversary of the publication of "Treasure Island," it seems only just that the musical panto or old English pantomime (no mimes in pantomimes) being given at People's Light & Theatre is, believe it or not, "Treasure Island." This musical take off on the original story will run at People's Light & Theatre (39 Conestoga Road, Malvern, through Jan. 8 with all the characters from the story you have come to know and love. For tickets call610-644-3500.
The Media Theatre is bravely opening their bespangled production of "The Sound of Music" on busy Thanksgiving week with performances all week except for Thanksgiving Day itself. With stars from Broadway in the leads this should be a winner. For tickets call 610-891-0100.
An unusual evening is planned by Peoples Light & Theatre on Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. with a reading of Sophocles' "Ajax." Sponsored by the Theatre of War Productions that presents readings of ancient Greek Plays, the organization is supported by a generous grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation in collaboration with the USO. "Ajax" tells the story of the fierce warrior who slips into a depression near the end of the Trojan War, attempts to murder his commanding officers, fails and takes his own life.
A discussion about the challenges faces by service men and women, veterans and their families will follow. The performance is free but reservations are required from 610-644-3500.
The Players Club of Swarthmore will present Gershwin's classic musical "Crazy For You" opening Friday, Nov. 25. As if this cheery musical was not enough, the theater is trying to help the local households that have run short of food. At every performance Dec. 1 through -11, every audience member who brings a food donation will receive a $1 off their ticket. If they bring five items the ticket is half price The show runs Nov. 25 through 27, Dec. 1 through 4, 8 through 11 and 15 through 17. For tickets visit www.pcstheatre.org.
The Philadelphia premiere of "Ordinary Days will have previews Nov. 25 through 30, with the opening Dec. 1 and closing Dec. 18 at the Skybox at the Adrienne, 2030 Sansom St., Philadelphia. This new musical, mounted by 11th Hour Theatre Co., tells the story of four young New Yorkers who struggle to appreciate the simpler things in a complex world. Tickets are $15 - $30 from 267-987-9865.
The Players Club of Swarthmore has a special gift for children, with performances of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" opening Dec. 3 and running for two weekends. Performances are on Dec. 3 and Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and on Sundays, Dec. 4 and Dec, 11 at 11 a. m. Performances are given on the upstairs stage. Adult tickets are $10, $8 for children and are sold at the door. The theatre is at 614 Fairview Road just off Route 320 (Chester Road).
Marie Swajeski will present "Scrooge the Musical" at the Delaware Children's Theatre on Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 26 through Dec. 17. This delightful show of a classic geared for children has all performances at 2 p.m. All tickets for the show are $12 and can be ordered at 302-655-1014.
The musical "Billy Elliott" currently prancing at the Academy of Music through Nov. 27 is the extraordinarily praised and award laden production from England, a boy in a tough mining town who strives to be a ballet dancer and the opposition he receives from his family, his friends and the whole town. If you have seen ads you see young Billy flying through the air, obviously flying on wires. Unfortunately Philadelphia audiences will not see this as there is a Pennsylvania. State law that does not allow a minor to be suspended in mid-air. There is a lot of excellent dancing.
There are other problems with the show. It is done with the original heavy and often unintelligible accent of Northern England. The main characters are a bunch of tough coal miners who are on strike. The biggest problem is the music by Elton John, the majority of which is just loud repeated noise that I detested. To be fair, the young man sitting next to me liked it.
There are good messages in the play: You can be whatever you want to be, but you have to work for it, and high achievers are usually backed by love and support from family and friends. It is a good show for children age 8 and up. For tickets call 215-893-1999.
Caryl Huffaker lives in Kennett Township.