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The inimitable Mitch Miller is in town this weekend to con duct the Buffalo Philharmonic Pops in a program called "Christ mas With Mitch," one considered so special that there will be four -- count 'em, four -- performances, one of which ought to fit just about anybody's crowded schedule. Make a note of these dates and times. They're set for today at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. That's a lot of music-making over the weekend. Miller and the orchestra will be joined by the Buffalo Schola Cantorum, Thomas Swan, director, who will sing the "Hallelujah Chorus," Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring," selections from "The Wizard of Oz," "The Little Drummer Boy" and "Carol of the Bells." Alternating with these choral selections, Miller will conduct the orchestra in Hershey Kay's arrangement of "Deck the Halls," Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on "Greensleeves," Pierne's "March of the Little Lead Soldiers" and Leroy Ander son's "Sleigh Ride." And, of course, the concerts will conclude with the audience chiming in on one of Miller's patented carol sing-alongs. -- Herman Trotter
Solo 'Nutcracker' Christmas cash registers don't ring only in the malls. They ring in entertainment palaces like Shea's Buffalo. That's why the holidays have become a bottom-line time of year for some the aters and dance companies. Downtown, less than a stone's throw from one another, two "Christmas Carols" are battling it out for customers. Relative peace, meanwhile, has descended over the "Nutcracker" wars of several seasons ago (who was going to do Tchaikovsky's chestnut and where). The Empire State Ballet emerged unscathed and victorious. Its "The Nutcracker," choreo graphed by Barbara Striegel, danced by Harry Ferris and Roberta Taylor among a large cast, accompanied by its own Empire State Ballet Orchestra, comes in from the road for two performances in Shea's, at 8 p.m. next Friday and at 2 p.m. Dec. 15. Inside, all will be peace, harmony and goodwill. -- Terry Doran

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