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A Christmas list of holiday music offerings

Christmas music can be a lot like snow. It has been known to start early. And you sometimes get deluged in it.

No worries. Let it snow! We'll sort it out for you. Here is a curated selection of concerts -- in categories, all over the yuletide map. Choose what appeals to you. Better still, choose one from each category -- we dare you! Now there's a merry Christmas.

Christmas classics

The Amherst Symphony Orchestra is performing "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" at 3 p.m. Dec. 3 at Amherst Middle School (55 Kings Highway, Amherst). It includes Prokofiev, Korngold, a Mozart aria, and a carol sing-along. Free.

The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra performs "A Classical Christmas" at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 8 and 8 p.m. Dec. 9 at Kleinhans Music Hall. Soprano Aundie Moore sings "Ave Maria" and "O Holy Night." BPO Principal Cellist Roman Mekinulov and his son, Benjamin, play a Vivaldi concerto for two cellos. Corelli's "Christmas Concerto,"  a "Joy to the World" fanfare are also on tap. $36-$86. 885-5000.

BPO Principal Pops Conductor John Morris Russell leads the BPO's Holiday Pops. This year, one guest star is Mike Randall of Channel 7. He'll read "The Polar Express" as the BPO plays the orchestral score and the beautiful illustrations are projected above the orchestra. Jazz singer Katy Miner, Girlchoir, and Normal Street Entrance are all featured. $36-$86. 885-5000.

The choir of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo (695 Elmwood Ave.) will perform the Bach Christmas Oratorio, Part IV at its Sunday service at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 10. Free.

"Nutcracker" and "Messiah"

The American Academy of Ballet dances "The Nutcracker" at 1 p.m. Dec. 2 and 3 at the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts. The production features Daniel Ulbricht, principal dancer of the New York City Ballet; and Misa Kuranaga, principal dancer of the Boston Ballet. $19.50-$28.50. 645-6915.

Orchard Park Presbyterian Church plays host to a full performance of Handel’s masterwork “Messiah” performed by the musical forces of the Advent Chorale of Western New York, four vocal soloists and the Western New York Chamber Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 1 in Orchard Park Presbyterian Church (4369 South Buffalo St., Orchard Park); $10. A second performance is 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 in the Baker Memorial United Methodist Church (345 Main St., East Aurora); $10.

Rockin' around the Christmas tree

Make it a blue Christmas. Horton's Holiday Hayride, starring the Rev. Horton Heat and Junior Brown, is at 8 p.m. Dec. 7 in the Tralf Music Hall. Ages 21 and older; $29. 852-2860.

Have a honky tonk Christmas. Bill Kirchen brings his Honky Tonk Holiday Show, a raucous, proven holiday hit, at 5 p.m. Dec. 10 to the Sportsmen's Tavern, 326 Amherst St. It's for ages 21 and older. $20. 874-7734.

Mannheim Steamroller paved the way for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra by making Christmas rock its own genre.The band also gained respect for spotlighting the sound of the Renaissance. Hear its time-honored take on holiday classics like "Deck the Halls," "Pat-a-Pan" and more at 8 p.m. Dec. 1, when the band steamrolls into Shea's. $32-$62. 847-1410.


A strictly Buffalo Christmas

The Scintas, top Las Vegas draws, are mourning the loss of Joey Scinta. But Frankie Scinta, Joey's brother, put it: "We know the audience will heal our hearts." And the show by these extraordinary Buffalo natives goes on. Share the joy at the Scintas’ Christmas Holiday Celebration, 8 p.m. Dec. 2 at the Riviera Theatre (65 Webster St., North Tonawanda). $49-$59. 692-2413.

Celebrate Christmas and a treasured Buffalo landmark at 1 p.m. Dec. 9, when the BPO performs Holiday Music Under the Dome at the former Buffalo Savings Bank building downtown. Free.

Marsha McWilson will give a Christmas show featuring Vegas entertainer Richie Derwald at 6 p.m. Dec. 9 at Niagara Catholic High School, 520 66th St., Niagara Falls. She's inspired by Etta James and Gladys Knight; he by Tom Jones and Neil Diamond. Proceeds go to help struggling families with tuition assistance so their kids can go to Niagara Catholic. $20 includes wine and hors d'oeuvres. Call 283-8771.

The American Legion Band of the Tonawandas routinely claims national championships, thanks to its excellence. It presents its annual Christmas extravaganza at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at the Riviera Theatre. The music ranges from popular secular tunes to traditional religious favorites, with other festive classics along the way. $16. 692-2413.

Harmonia Chamber Singers will have three performances of "Christmas by Candlelight."

Sweet singing in the choir

The Vocalis Chamber Choir invites you to relax with an intimate choral Christmas. There are two performances. The first is at 8 p.m. Dec. 1 at S.S. Peter & Paul Church (5480 Main St. Williamsville). The second has become a popular draw because of its atmospheric location. It takes place at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at  Karpeles Manuscript Museum (220 North St.). Visit

Buffalo Choral Arts Society's Christmas Concerts, "Ringing in the Season" performances are Dec. 1 at Saint Mary's Church of Swormville, Dec. 3 at Saint Joseph Cathedral and Dec. 9 at Saints Peter and Paul RC Church. $20. Appearing with BCAS once again will be the Royalton Ringers Handbell Quartet. One highlight: the arrangement of "A Visit From St. Nicholas" made popular by Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians. Visit

The Freudig Singers' "A Christmas Pie" is a very popular program of holiday favorites, old and new. A pie and beverage reception will follow each concert, and signature pies baked by members of the ensemble will be raffled at intermission. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 2 at Holy Mother of the Rosary Cathedral (6298 Broadway, Lancaster) and 3 p.m. Dec. 3 at Blessed Trinity Church (317 Leroy Ave.).

Harmonia Chamber Singers' "Christmas By Candlelight" is becoming a tradition. The choir presents three performances: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at St. Bernadette Church (5930 S. Abbott Road, Orchard Park), 7 p.m. Dec. 16 at St. Peter's Church (620 Center St, Lewiston) and 4 p.m. Dec. 17 at St. Joseph University Church (3269 Main St.).  A $15 donation is requested at the door.

For kids from 1 to 92

Mozart's "The Magic Flute" has become a holiday hit, thanks to the Metropolitan Opera's colorful, abridged production that caught on a few years past. At 8 p.m. Dec. 1 and 2:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at Buffalo State College's Rockwell Hall, Buffalo Opera Unlimited will be performing the opera, also abridged to make it more user friendly. The cast includes James Judd as Tamino, Eric Kesler as Papageno, Emily Yancey as Pamina, Sarah Blewett as Papagena, and Kofi Hayward as Sarastro, and Karen D’Angelo as everyone's favorite diva, the Queen of the Night The opera is sung in English. Tim Kennedy, artistic director of Buffalo Opera Unlimited, will conduct. $30, $20 seniors over 60, $10 students. 878-3005.

Tiny tots will find their eyes all aglow at Jingle Bell Jam, the BPO's annual Christmas children's concert at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 10 in Kleinhans Music Hall. After the concert, join Santa and Mrs. Claus for milk and cookies. Come at 1:30 PM to make cards for our friends in the military. $14-$24. 885-5000.

Be there for the famous tree lighting at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The AK Café will host a reception following the lighting and concert, at 3 p.m. Dec. 10 in the gallery auditorium. Also savor the sight of the gallery's 18th century Neapolitan Crèche. Given in memory of Helen Northrup Knox by her close friend the late Mrs. Howell H. Howard, it is a Buffalo treasure. Free.

"A Celtic Family Christmas"

Christmas around the world

The Irish Tenors sing at 7 p.m. Dec. 6 at Kleinhans Music Hall. Need we say more? Finbar Wright, Anthony Kearns and Buffalo favorite Ronan Tynan show you how those carols are supposed to sound. They also sing Irish songs and a few folk mass favorites. $36-$86.

Another Irish Christmas celebration happens Dec. 10, when the UB Center for the Arts welcomes virtuoso fiddler Natalie MacMaster and fellow high-energy fiddler Donnell Leahy, joining forces in "A Celtic Family Christmas." $39-$49. 645-6915.

Seek Gemuetlichkeit at the Deutsches Weihnachtskonzert, a German Christmas Concert, presented by the Buffalo Schwaben Chor and the Schwaben Spatzen (meaning, the Swabian Choir and the Swabian Sparrows) is at 3 p.m. Dec. 10 at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church (7700 Goodrich Road, Clarence). Treats follow in the church hall. Admission is by free-will donation.

The group of Polish singers, musicians and dancers called the Lira Ensemble of Chicago is presenting "A Polish Holiday: Carols, Song and Dance" at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 in the UB Center for the Arts. The evening includes beautiful Polish and American carols, music of major Polish composers, and an entire act of Polish folk song and dance presented with multiple changes of colorful Polish regional folk attire. $35-$55, tickets for ages 16 and younger are half-price. 645-6915.

The Lira Ensemble of Chicago.

Chill with a jazz Christmas

Picture it: an intimate environment, a century-old Buffalo house, a real piano, and the Ed Croft Trio performing music from "A Charlie Brown Christmas." It happens at 8 p.m. Dec. 9 in Pausa Art House, 19 Wadsworth Ave. $7, $5 students with ID. 697-9075.

Head to MusicalFare Theatre for "Big Band Christmas 2017!," a holiday show that is becoming a tradition. It features the Phil Sims Cabaret Big Band and vocalist Katy Miner. MusicalFare Theatre is located at 4380 Main St. (Daemen College), Amherst. Performances are at 4 and 8 p.m. Dec. 9. $25. 839-8540.

Jingle Bell Jazz features songs of the season played by the Buffalo Dolls and Ladies First Jazz Big Band at noon Dec. 10 at the Tralf. $25, $20 in advance. 852-2860.

MusicalFare toasts the holidays again at 4 and 8 p.m. Dec. 16 with "A MusicalFare Christmas!" Therese Quinn, Randy Kramer, John Fredo and other cabaret talents do seasonal show tunes. "We Need a Little Christmas" from "Mame," "I Don't Remember Christmas" from "Starting Here, Starting Now," and songs from "Rent," "Leader of the Pack" and more. $20. 839-8540.

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