The Hippo


May 25, 2020








Swing into the season
Music and other nightlife for the holiday season

By Michael Witthaus

 From arena rock versions of “Carol of the Bells” to Harry Potter holiday improv comedy, there’s a bit of everything in the entertainment realm this season. Check out these options.

• Holiday Pops at Stockbridge Theatre (44 N. Main St., Derry, 437-5210) on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 7:30 p.m. $12 to $50. Members of the Pinkerton Chorale sing their favorite holiday selections. Get into the holiday spirit by joining conductor Mark Latham and the orchestra to sing along with all-time favorites.
• Trans-Siberian Orchestra at SNHU Arena (555 Elm St., Manchester, 644-5000) on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 3:30 and 8 p.m. Tickets range from $63 to $79. TSO’s tour will be a celebration of the art and accomplishments of the lauded group’s late creator-composer-lyricist Paul O’Neill and his inimitable creation, which he dubbed rock theater. Prior to his untimely passing, O’Neill worked tirelessly with his close-knit team preparing an exciting new take on The Ghosts of Christmas Eve for the 2017 tour. 
• Strafford Wind Symphony at Strand Theatre (20 Third St., Dover) on Sunday, Nov. 26, at 7 p.m. $21 at The third annual holiday show happens after the Dover Christmas parade. “Here We Go Holidays” features favorite songs of the season, followed by a sing-along. Also Dec. 10 at Emmanuel Church in Rochester.
• First Fridays! Holiday Concert at Whipple Hall (25 Seamans Road, New London 526-4444) on Friday, Dec. 1, at 5 p.m. The event has Santa, tree lighting, and holiday music for all ages, featuring The KRES Chime Tones, Exit 13 Tuba Quartet, and the Sunapee Flute Choir, plus a community sing-along.
• Community Toolbox 2nd Annual Holiday Disco Ball at 3S Artspace (319 Vaughan St., Portsmouth, 766-3300) on Friday, Dec. 1, at 8 p.m. $35. Disco tribute band Motor Booty Affair performs. Break out the platform shoes and holiday polyester for a funky good time. Cash bar, silent and live auction, and prizes for best costumes in support of a favorite Seacoast charity.
• Have Yourself a Swingin’ Christmas at Exeter Town Hall (10 Front St, Exeter, 778-0591) as the Blue Note Big Band performs on Friday, Dec. 1, 7 p.m. It’s the second year for the event, a benefit for the Exeter Arts Committee and part of the Ring in the Season festivities. Tickets are $10 ($20 per family). Email
• Annual Holiday Pops Concert at Manchester Community Music School (2291 Elm St., Manchester, 644-4548) on Friday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. $40 ($350 for a table of 10). The New Hampshire Youth Jazz and Wind Ensembles, the Dino Anagnost Youth Symphony and Concert Orchestras and the Flute Choir celebrate the sounds of the season. Holiday photo booth with props, raffle prizes, and Santa might stop by if everyone has been really good.
• Festival of Trees at Franklin Opera House (Main Street, Franklin, 934-1901) on Friday, Dec. 1, at 5 p.m. Free. Runs through Dec. 3. As in the past, the Opera House will have lit displays of floor and tabletop trees, wreaths, wall hangings, holiday stockings and a prize raffle. The classic show It’s a Wonderful Life is performed by Franklin Footlight Theatre. 
• Susie Burke and David Surette with Ken Allyn at Universalist Fellowship (20 Madbury Road, Durham) on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. $15. Featuring selections from their holiday release Wonderland, along with folk and acoustic fare from their standard repertoire, with influences and styles ranging from folk to jazz, Celtic to rock, blues to Broadway and beyond. Also at Concord Community Music School (Wall Street, Concord) on Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Del Rossi’s Trattoria (Route 137, Dublin) on Dec. 16 at 8 p.m.
• Alumni Band of the New Hampshire National Guard Christmas Concert at Merrimack Valley Baptist Church (517 Boston Post Road, Merrimack, 595-0955) on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7:30 p.m. Music includes a selection of traditional Christmas songs like “Feliz Navidad,” “Sleigh Ride” and “Fantasy on a Bell Carol,” patriotic tunes and a Christmas sing-along to celebrate the season. Also Dec. 11 at American Legion Post No. 79, Manchester and Dec. 18 at Sweeney American Legion Post No. 2, Manchester. 
• Ed Gerhard at Historic Belknap Mill (25 Beacon St., Laconia, 524-8813) on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. $24. Renowned acoustic guitarist performs a pre-holiday concert with a mix of non-holiday and Christmas favorites. Annual food drive at concert for the Laconia area food pantry. 
• Gary Hoey’s Ho Ho Hoey Rockin’ Holiday Show at Blue Ocean Music Hall (4 Oceanfront North, Salisbury, Mass., 978-462-5888) on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 to $40. The guitarist’s annual tour has become a tradition; his live show includes holiday music, older hits like “Hocus Pocus” and songs from his recent CD, Dust & Bones. 
• Strafford Wind Symphony at Rochester Opera House (31 Wakefield St., Rochester, 335-1992) on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. $12, children $7. Ring in the season with the annual Strafford Wind Symphony holiday pops concert, featuring favorite tunes old and new, a special narrated piece and the famous gift basket raffle. Great holiday entertainment for the whole family.
• Hometown Christmas at First United Methodist Church (34 S. Main St., Rochester, 948-1179) on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. $8. Featuring national award-winning recording artists MeCa, with special guests G.R.A.S.P. and The Witherell Bells. Refreshments and a meet and greet follow the show. All profits help fund local community outreach programs.
• Ugly Sweater Pub Crawl through downtown Rochester on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 1 p.m. $10 in advance. This second annual trek offers a day of beer, entertainment, food and more beer. Draft specials, WHEB personalities hanging out and giving away prizes, free food at every spot, and prizes for best dressed. First 24 people to buy tickets at each location receive a Sam Adams pint glass. Tickets at Revolution TapRoom & Grill, Lilac City Grille, Mel Flanagan’s Irish Pub & Cafe, Radloff’s Cigar Shop and On the Rox Lounge, The Garage at the Governor’s Inn and Moe’s Italian Sandwiches of Rochester.
• Matthew Lister - A Christmas Concert at Red & Shorty’s (4 Paul St., Dover, 767-3305) on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m. $10 at A classical guitarist from Dover with over a decade of professional experience, Lister studied classical guitar under the guidance of Professor Chris Kane at UNH, where he was a member of the classical guitar ensemble. 
• Greater Keene Pops Choir Holiday Concert at Colonial Theatre (95 Main St., Keene, 352-2033) on Sunday, Dec. 3, at 3 p.m. $12 in advance. Unique performing ensemble that sings popular American music in all its many styles. Under the direction of Diane Cushing and accompanied by Walt Sayre, singing music from around the world celebrating the holiday season.
• Eric Mintel Quartet; A Vince Guaraldi Christmas at First Congregational Church (10 S. Park St., Lebanon, 448-0400) on Sunday, Dec. 3, 4 p.m. $20, $10 under 18. LOH on Location show. From the White House to the Kennedy Center and beyond, the Eric Mintel Quartet has been thrilling audiences with their electrifying jazz performances. Hear them celebrating the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas.
• Seacoast Santa Jingle Bell Jam at Redhook Brewery (1 Redhook Way, Portsmouth, 343-4390) on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. $10. RoxxSaxx, Relish and Johnny & the Night Crawlers perform to help Seacoast families keep the magic of Christmas alive for their little believers. Ugly sweater contest, light appetizers and cash bar.
• Mannheim Steamroller at SNHU Arena (555 Elm St., Manchester, on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m. $41.30 and up. A 30-year holiday tradition continues as Grammy Award-winner Chip Davis has created a show that features the group’s unique Christmas music and dazzling multimedia effects. 
• Irish Christmas in America at Dana Center (100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester, 641-7700) on Thursday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m. $35.75. Features top Irish music, song and dance in an engaging performance rich in history, humor and boundless energy. The 2017 tour brings back TG4 Traditional Singer of the Year Séamus Begley and Sligo’s Niamh Farrell.
• Funky Divas of Gospel Holiday Concert at The Castle on Charles (19 Charles St., Rochester) on Thursday, Dec. 7, at 6 p.m. $8. A blend of gospel, bluegrass and traditional Christmas music. This year the Divas are joined by Seacoast area a cappella singing group Mixtape for a Christmas celebration strong on harmonies and the spirit of the season. 
• Winter Wonderettes at Seacoast Rep (125 Bow St., Portsmouth, 433-4472) on Thursday, Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m. Tickets $15 to $38. Multiple shows through Dec. 31. Join the original cast from 2016 hit The Marvelous Wonderettes as they hop back into action, this time to save the Harper’s Hardware Holiday Party when things go amiss. Hear iconic ’60s versions of classic holiday tunes like “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.” 
• Christmas with The Celts at Flying Monkey (39 Main St., Plymouth, 536-2551) on Friday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. $39 and up. Combines ancient Irish carols, contemporary Christmas standards, spontaneous humor and thrilling Irish dancing for a memorable Christmas experience. The Celts’ lineup features founder Ric Blair on vocals, guitars, bodhran and piano, Laura McGhee on vocals and Scottish fiddle, an ensemble of world-class musicians playing uilleann pipes, Irish whistles, drums, mandolin and banjo, and crowd-pleasing Irish step dancers. 
• Charlie Brown Christmas with Heather Pierson at Pitman’s Freight Room (94 New Salem St., Laconia, 527-0043) on Friday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m. $20. The Heather Pierson Quartet (Heather Pierson, piano and vocals; Joe Aliperti, alto and tenor saxes; Shawn Nadeau, bass; Craig Bryan, drums) performs the music from A Charlie Brown Christmas, as composed by Vince Guaraldi, plus other holiday favorites and classics.
• Holiday Pops with Act of Congress at Keefe Center for the Arts (117 Elm St., Nashua, 595-9156) on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. $10 to $49, under 15 free with adult. Conductor Joseph R. Olefirowicz and what NPR calls “one of the freshest sounding, exuberant bands in all of the known acoustic universe,” internationally touring Act of Congress, join Symphony NH to perform an Americana take on holiday favorites.
• Bluegrass Christmas Concert at Pilgrim United Church (197 Route 111A, Brentwood, 778-3189) on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m. $10 to $15. Now in its 14th season, this one-of-a-kind show features traditional, contemporary and original Christmas music performed with acoustic instruments and vocals. To keep the shows fresh, each performing act introduces new material each season, much to the delight of the audience.
• Concord Coachmen at Candia Congregational Church (1 South Road, Candia) on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 5 p.m. Performing an entire repertoire of classic caroling favorites and a few surprising Yuletide numbers at the long-running “Lights on the Hill” festival at Candia’s Congregational Church.
• Christmas at Canterbury at Canterbury Shaker Village (288 Shaker Road, Canterbury, 783-9511) on Saturday, Dec. 9, and Saturday, Dec. 16, 3 and 8 p.m. $18 ($8 for children 6-17). Experience the delights of Christmas in a simpler era. Go inside the historic Shaker buildings to watch a 19th-century magic show, meet Santa, make Christmas crackers, decorate cookies, admire a toy train display or listen to fiddlers. Also Dec. 16.
• Laurie Berkner Holiday Show at the Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord, 225-1111) on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 11 a.m. $35-$50, with four-pack at $25 per ticket. A kid-centric holiday show from the uncrowned queen of children’s music and the power behind the progressive “kindie rock” movement.
• FAFS-NH Holiday Party at Executive Court Banquet Facility (1199 S. Mammoth Road, Manchester, 524-1262) on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 6:30 p.m. DJ dancing and buffet. $43 per person.
• Granite Statesmen Christmas Cabaret at St. Joseph’s Parish (777 W. Hollis St., Nashua, 886-7464) on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 1 and 7 p.m. A Christmas concert performed by a group of men singing in the classic barbershop a capella style.
• Ghost Riderz at The Elks at Franklin Lodge of Elks 1280 (192 Central St., Franklin, 934-9852) on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. Christmas party for members and bona fide guests. Band plays a mix of classic rock, oldies and country music. For more information or to become a member, visit on Facebook.
• Jim Brickman: A Joyful Christmas at Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester, 668-5588) on Tuesday, Dec. 12, at 7:30 p.m. $44.50 and up. A holiday concert tradition as the Grammy-nominated songwriter and piano sensation returns to Manchester to bring the sound and spirit of the season.
• Harvey Reid & Joyce Anderson at Flying Goose Pub & Restaurant (corner of routes 114 and 11, New London, 207-363-1886) on Thursday, Dec. 14, at 7:30 p.m. $10 to $15. Seacoast acoustic music luminaries perform their 23rd annual holiday concert. Intertwined voices, Reid’s guitars, autoharp and mandolins, and Andersen’s violin and viola provide an evening of warm and brilliant holiday music.
• Christmas Revels: A French-Canadian Celebration of the Winter Solstice at Hopkins Center (2 E. Wheelock St., Hanover, 646-2422) on Thursday, Dec. 14, 6 p.m. Tickets $8 to $48. The Upper Valley’s most enduring holiday tradition. This year, a young girl in search of her heritage is drawn into the mystical tales of her ancestors in a Nordic celebration of the season. Her quest unfolds through traditional songs, dances and pageantry performed by a cast of talented locals and thrilling guest musicians and dancers. Through Dec. 17.
• Seventh Annual Buzz Ball at Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord, 225-1111) on Thursday, Dec. 14, at 7 p.m. $30 to $40. Annual benefit featuring Morning Buzz crew and Velvet Elves, an all-star band supporting area celebrities and musical guests. This is a night full of surprises.
• Dan Fogelberg Holiday Tribute at Castle on Charles (19 Charles St., Rochester) on Thursday, Dec. 14, at 6 p.m. $16. Don Campbell pays tribute to Dan Fogelberg and plays holiday favorites. It’s an uplifting event offered in an old Episcopal church renovated for private events and entertainment.
• A Charlie Brown Christmas at Seacoast Rep (125 Bow St., Portsmouth, 433-4472) Thursday, Dec. 14, at 10 a.m., continuing various days through Dec. 23. Tickets $15 and $20. Vince Guaraldi’s classic jazz score and the classic animated television special come to life in this faithful stage adaptation, in which Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang discover the true meaning of Christmas.
• Wizards of Winter at Tupelo Music Hall (10 A St., Derry, 536-2551) on Friday, Dec. 15, at 6:30 p.m. $40 and up. Featuring former members of The Trans-Siberian Orchestra and some of the mid-Atlantic’s finest rock and progressive musicians, the group performs a holiday rock opera titled Tales Beneath a Northern Star. The story is based on the music of their self-titled CD and their new album The Magic of Winter.
• Ed Gerhard at South Church Portsmouth (292 State St., Portsmouth, 664-7200) on Friday, Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m. $30. One of the country’s finest acoustic guitarists, Gerhard will perform soulful arrangements of well-loved carols as well as his own concert favorites. Fans of guitar music and Christmas alike will want to be a part of this memorable show, which includes an annual food drive to benefit the Seacoast Family Food Pantry. Also Dec. 16.
• Rockapella Holiday at Stockbridge Theatre (44 N. Main St., Derry, 437-5210) on Friday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. Tickets $15 to $32. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more influential group out there in this era of network television a cappella shows like NBC’s The Sing-Off, movies like Pitch Perfect, and innumerable college vocal groups that own the corner of cool on campuses everywhere. This has become a Stockbridge holiday tradition.
• Telly’s Annual Christmas Party at Telly’s Restaurant & Pizza (235 Calef Highway, Epping, 679-8225) on Friday, Dec. 15, at 9 p.m. Live entertainment by DJ Sean O’Brien, drink specials, appetizers and door prizes. Enter to win autographed Rob Gronkowski jersey, with Boston Bruins tickets to second-place winner and Celtics tickets to the third-place winner in the raffle. 
• Boston Pops Holiday Concert at SNHU Arena (555 Elm St., Manchester, 644-5000) on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 7:30 p.m. $43 and up. Capturing the magic of the Christmas season and the winter charms of New England, the Boston Pops will perform their signature “Sleigh Ride” as well as other holiday classics and new arrangements of seasonal favorites. Santa Claus himself will make a guest appearance during the concert’s finale. Also at Lowell Memorial Auditorium (50 Merrimack St., Lowell, Mass., 937-8688) on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2:30 p.m. ($48 and up).
• Christmas with Rocking Horse Studio at Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord, 225-1111) on Saturday, Dec. 16, 7 p.m. $25. Moving to the main stage, New Hampshire’s premier music production and recording facility presents an evening of traditional and contemporary Christmas music performed by some of New Hampshire’s finest singers and musicians. Performers will include Pat & the Hats, Lizzy Marella, Brooks Young Band, Justin Cohn, Dusty Gray, Justin Cohn, Steve Blunt and many others.
• Ronan Tynan Christmas Concert at Colonial Theatre (95 Main St., Keene, 352-2033) on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m. $29 to $43. Called the “burly tenor with a big, silvery voice” by Variety, Tynan brings his special holiday concert of traditional carols and classic Irish ballads, accompanied by his longtime pianist Bill Lewis. 
• Pemigewasset Choral Society at Silver Center for the Arts (17 High St., Plymouth, 535-2787) on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 3 p.m. $9 to $15. The Pemi Choral Society will be performing David Pinkham’s beloved Christmas Cantata with brass quintet and organ along with several seasonal favorites.
• Holiday Pops – Capital Jazz Orchestra at Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord, 225-1111) on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 4 p.m. $27.50 to $47.50. Big Band music rings in the holiday season, with special guests Ms. Patty Barkas, Ms. Laura Daigle and Mr. CJ Poole. They perform such chestnuts as “The Christmas Song,” “Let It Snow,” “Jingle Bells” and “Sleigh Ride.” Also, NHPR’s Laura Knoy recites “The Night Before Christmas.”
• Chanukah at the Palace at Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St., Manchester, 668-5588) on Tuesday, Dec. 19, at 6:30 p.m. $8 to $14. Featuring Eighth Day on the Eighth Night and magician Anthony Salazar.
• Portsmouth Symphony Holiday Pops at Music Hall (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, 436-2400) on Wednesday, Dec. 20, at 7:30 p.m. $12 to $25. An annual tradition, with guest choruses, a special performance by resident artist Randy Armstrong, and a holiday sing-along. Also Thursday, Dec. 21.
• Christmas at Hogwarts at Seacoast Rep (125 Bow St., Portsmouth, 433-4472) on Wednesday, Dec. 20, at 8 p.m. $12. Stranger Than Fiction troupe presents an improvised comedy adventure through the magical world of J.K. Rowling for a second year. This satirical interpretation of the popular Harry Potter book series will leave you searching the skies for an owl with your Hogwarts letter. Mystical creatures, whimsical spells, dangerous secrets, and holiday joy await in this next great adventure.
• Harvey Reid & Joyce Anderson at Community Church (17 Main St., Durham, 207-363-1886) on Friday, Dec. 22, at 7:30 p.m. $10 to $15. Seacoast acoustic music luminaries intertwine their voices for their 20th annual holiday concert, melding Reid’s guitars, autoharp and mandolins with Andersen’s violin and viola for an evening of warm and brilliant holiday music in this historic church.
• Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Celebration at Capitol Center for the Arts (44 S. Main St., Concord, 225-1111) on Friday, Dec. 22, at 8 p.m. Tickets $39 to $79. A night combining their hits and a Christmas celebration. Theirs is one of the most distinctive and recognizable sounds in music. The Boys’ four-part harmonies and upbeat songs have spawned dozens of country hits and a No. 1 pop smash, along with Grammy, Dove, CMA and ACM awards.
• Ugly Sweater Christmas Party at Derryfield Restaurant (625 N. Mammoth Road, Manchester) on Friday, Dec. 22, at 7 p.m. Music from DJ Terry Moran (function room), Never in Vegas (main bar) and DComp (outside deck). The fundraiser has attracted over 1,000 guests in each of the last three years, with an estimated $100,000 raised for charity; of that total $90,000 has been given to Make A Wish NH alone.
• Uncle Steve Band at Back Room at the Mill (2 Central St., Bristol, 744-0405) on Saturday, Dec. 23, at 7:30 p.m. $15. Christmas party benefit with The Uncle Steve Band playing holiday rock, soul and blues to raise money for Bristol Community Services.
• Juston McKinney’s Year in Review at the Music Hall (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth, 436-2400) on Friday, Dec. 29, at 8 p.m. $26. Also Dec. 30. Have the last laugh of 2017 with Juston as he dishes on New England life and looks back at the year that was. The comic recently filmed a special in Manchester; he’s been a guest on The Tonight Show and performed in two Comedy Central specials, including his own one-hour show. 

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