We already know how busy the Sarasota music scene can be since many of us have to juggle our schedules so we’re not double and triple booked almost every day of the week. Now, the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota has planned a triple-header of important holiday concerts that makes this presenting group look busier than all of Lincoln Center in season.
On Dec. 21 and Dec. 22, the Series is offering “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" starring Andrea McArdle, Broadway’s original “Annie,” with pianists Steve Marzullo, singers that include Todd Donovan and Maria Wirries, dancers from the Carreno Dance Festival, and ensembles from Le Voci di Venezia and Gloria Musicae. Although McArdle will be at the Historic Asolo both evenings, the program each night is slightly different so check the schedule to be sure you get to hear the people you’re most interested in. Better still, go to both concerts.
You can do that and still attend the Artist Series Concerts’ 2 p.m. performance at the Historic Asolo on Dec. 21st of “Amahl and the Night Visitors.” This Christmas classic by Gian Carlo Menotti, was originally produced on television back in the 1950s. Since then, it’s become about as synonymous with the holidays as “White Christmas,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” and Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol.” The cast features several local singers and instrumentalists, making this production especially dear to Sarasotans who enjoy home-grown talent.
To really get into the holiday spirit, catch the annual Christmas Concert and Community Carol Sing at Sarasota’s First United Methodist Church at 7 p.m. on Dec. 15th. Elizabeth Goldstein, the organist and director of music at this downtown church, has programmed a “Gloria” by Kevin Memley that she says is “more exciting and glorious than almost any other setting I know.” That’s some recommendation, coming from someone who’s conducted most of them from Vivaldi’s “Gloria” to the stunning setting by Rutter.
Just about every big and little church around is planning at least one, if not multiple, Christmas Eve services chock full of all the carols we love to sing. And the beautiful Selby Garden’s annual “Nights in Bloom” runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 20 to Dec. 23 and Dec. 26 to Dec. 30 with life-sized, garden-themed holiday lights, live music and even some holiday snacks.
To top it off, Sarasota’s 28th annual Christmas Boat Parade of Lights will take place Saturday, Dec. 14, on the Sarasota Bay side of Bayfront Park and, like all great parades, there will be music wafting across the lapping waves mixing with those spectacular yachts and fun boats decked in their holiday finery.