Neighborhood News – Chicago Loop, Old Town, Gold Coast, Ravenswood, Uptown

Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the city…twinkling lights, seeing sights…oh, so pretty! Take a moment to enjoy the musical gifts and merriment of the season!

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra invites you to have a Merry, Merry Chicago! On Friday, December 17 at 7:30pm and Saturday, December 18 at 3pm, the Symphony Center, 220 South Michigan Avenue,  Under the direction of CSO conductor Alastair Willis, and featuring guest Broadway star Jessica Vosk, the CSO performs holiday classics, including “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and more, along with orchestral music of the season, including selections from Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Snow Maiden and Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and Trepak from The Nutcracker. Tickets very in price, check website for details. 

For a holiday concert with a Latin flair, Chicago-based Mariachi Herencia de México presents ‘A Very Merry Christmas Concert’ on Friday, December 17 through Sunday, December 19 at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Avenue. As the website describes, the concert is filled with music and dance, and is “perfect for the whole family.  The Latin Grammy-nominated mariachi band will play traditional holiday songs, infused with Latino rhythms, including “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Los Peces en el Rio” and  “Christmas Don’t Be Late.” The group will also play a concert at Thalia Hall on Chicago’s South Side. Time and ticket prices vary, check website for details.

The Millennium Park Holiday Sing-Along  201 E. Randolph Street, concludes this Friday, December 17, at 6pm with the Chicago Community Chorus (CCC). Enjoy the sound of the season and a feeling of community with this group, founded in 2003 by Artistic Director Dr. Keith T. Hampton,  numbers over 130 singers from all walks of life. Face masks are required for all Holiday Sing-Along guests. Free Chicago masks available (while supplies last).

Last-minute shoppers can delight in family fun at Blitzen’s Holiday Experience, from December 16-23, a festive holiday pop-up at Artifact Events, 4325 N. Ravenswood Avenue, in the Ravenswood area, near Lincoln Square.  Blitzen’s offers a holiday market, a bar with festive drinks, photo-ops, and more experiences to discover. Hours are Thursday & Friday: 5pm-10pm (last time slot at 9 pm), Saturday & Sunday: 12pm-10pm (last time slot at 9 pm). From December 20 – 23rd, the hours are Monday-Thursday: 12pm-10pm (last time slot at 9 pm). Hipster Santa pays a visit, and shoppers can indulge in Christmas Karaoke, beverages and décor, and more! For ticket information, click here

For a non-holiday event, NeonNation’s  CircEsteem’s  Winter Circus on Saturday, December 18 at 3pm and 6:30pm transports a group of Gen Z teens back to the 1980s. As their website notes, through rad aerial and acrobatics, and gnarly manipulation acts, the Teens are shown the power women held in the 1980s. CircEsteem’s mission is to unite youth across all backgrounds and identities by fostering self-esteem and mutual respect through the practice and performance of circus arts. Tickets are $7-$40 and benefit CircEsteem’s programs. Check website for address and details. 

“Here we go a wassailing, a wassailing…” A week before Christmas, make it memorable by Caroling at the Driehaus  …also known as the Richard H. Driehaus Museum, 40 East Erie Street, on Saturday, December 18th from 3pm to 6pm. Bask in the Victorian splendor of the former Nickerson Mansion, while participating in the festivities, including caroling, roasted chestnuts, and holiday cheer. Free.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” Sing out, loud and proud at the 46th Annual Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Messiah at the Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist, 55 E. Wacker Drive, on Sunday, December 19, at 2pm. Presented by the International Music Foundation, Covid-19 has required a few adjustments to the beloved holiday gathering: the one-time performance will be 90 minutes in length, with no intermission. Additionally, tickets are free, but reservations are required and can be made online.

Alison Moran and Dean’s Team Chicago