Holiday Pops, with maestro Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops Orchestra, is a sure sign that the Christmas season is here. And this year's Pops concert at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Sunday, Dec. 16, will be filled with sleigh bells jingling, jolly old Saint Nick and familiar carols people know and love.
"This year's concert skews towards the traditional and reminds us what's real and lasting," Lockhart said recently. "People appreciate that when things are unsettled."
The Metropolitan Chorale will perform, and Lockhart and the orchestra will introduce a new Hanukkah arrangement. The audience will also enjoy the Christmas carol sing-along.
The LMA Holiday Pops appearance is one of several run-out concerts the orchestra makes during the Christmas season to cities around New England. There are also nearly 40 concerts at Symphony Hall in Boston this year, including seven family matinees.
"We have three performances where the orchestra is accompanying the film 'Home Alone,' and in Boston, we are introducing the newly formed Boston Symphony Children's Choir," Lockhart said.
Whether people decide to see Holiday Pops in Lowell or Boston, Lockhart assures them they will come away with the holiday spirit.
"We love bringing Holiday Pops to Lowell and always look forward to it," he said.
The Dec. 16 concert starts at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $49-$129 and are on sale at the box office, by calling 978-937-8688 or at www.lowellauditorium.com.
Nancye Tuttle's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the marquee
IT'S A MYSTERY: Balefire Productions presents "Sherlock Holmes: The Final Problem" at Gallery Z, 167 Market St., Lowell, this weekend. The show is written and directed by Jera Mercurio. Performances are Thursday, Dec. 6, through Sunday, Dec. 9, with doors opening and dinner at 6 p.m., followed by the performance. Tickets are $30 at www.balefireproductions.org/tickets.
CHARMING CLASSIC: Boston Children's Theatre invites audiences to celebrate the holidays in Paris with "Madeline's Christmas." The debut production, destined to become a classic family play, is a musical about everyone's favorite French school girl who, along with her schoolmates, all come down with the flu at Christmastime. The show is based on the book by Ludwig Bemelmans, and features book and music by Jennifer Kirkeby and Shirley Mier. Performances are Dec. 20-23 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts on Tremont Street in Boston's South End. Visit www.bostontheatrescene.com/season/madelines-christmas for tickets.
ANOTHER CLASSIC: Cannon Theatre reprises its popular "A Christmas Carol Radio Show" for three performances this weekend at its Great Road space in Littleton. Telling the familiar story of Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the Cratchits, the show is on Friday-Saturday, Dec. 7-8, at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m. Call 978-448-2108 or visit www.thecannontheatre.com for tickets.
STUDENTS IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Beauty is in the eye of the ogre in "Shrek The Musical Jr.," based on the Oscar-winning DreamWorks Animation film and Broadway musical. More than 70 students at Blanchard Middle School in Westford will put on the play Friday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 8, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $10, except for the Saturday matinee performance, which is $5. ... Meanwhile, across town at Nashoba Valley Technical High School, the Theatre Company will produce three performances of the '80s cult favorite "Xanadu" at the 100 Littleton Road campus. Showtimes are Thursday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m., Fri., Dec. 7 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and students, at NTxanadu.brownpapertickets.com.