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Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre

Weekend Roundup, December 10 to 12

Friday: Help Wintersleep raise money for the Daily Bread Food Bank (photo by Dustin Rabin)

Friday, December 10
Help support the Daily Bread Food Bank by jamming to Jingle Bell Rock. Venerable Canadian indie rockers Wintersleep are one of five bands performing at the Phoenix Concert Theatre for a worthy cause.

The Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre employs eclectic modern dance and ballet to illuminate a tapestry of solstice traditions in its 23rd annual installment of Wintersong— Dances for a Sacred Season. Marvel at the grace of these young performers tonight (and Saturday afternoon) at Harbourfront Centre.

Enjoy the soaring strains of the boys of St.Michael’s Choir School, which presents its 71st annual Christmas Fantasy concert. The holiday harmonies of these talented young singers fill Massey Hall tonight and tomorrow.

Saturday: Cheer on Dion Phaneuf (just back from injury) and the rest of the Maple Leafs

Saturday, December 11
Are you still looking for that special present for someone on your holiday gift list? The 401 Richmond Artisans Marketplace offers truly unique selections from numerous local artists. Browse through the diverse designs to find something that is truly one-of-a-kind.

Let Forte: The Toronto Men’s Chorus serenade you with its performance of Four Strong Winds—Songs for a Canadian Winter at the Metropolitan United Church. In addition to classic seasonal favourites, the group will sing tunes by Stan Rogers, Ian Tyson, Joni Mitchell and Sarah McLachlan.

Our hometown hockey heroes—the Toronto Maple Leafs—renew their age-old rivalry with Montreal Canadians tonight. Find your seat at the Air Canada Centre to see if the buds can get back on a winning track.

Sunday: Take heart in the soaring songs performed by André Rieu

Sunday, December 12
Experience a witty interactive theatre twist on a classic holiday tale as DuffleBag Theatre Company performs its version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. The show will have you and your family rolling in the Solar Stage Theatre aisles.

Hurry, hurry! The holidays are coming to an end in the Distillery Historic District—its Toronto Christmas Market concludes today. Don’t miss out on foraging through the fairy tale forest maze that leads to Santa’s house and Rudolph’s reindeer zoo.

Don’t miss a celebration of classical music as entertaining violinist, conductor and composer André Rieu—accompanied by his 55-piece Johann Strauss Orchestra—brings joyous waltzes, polkas and romantic ballads to the Air Canada Centre.

Holiday Happenings: Seasoned Performances

This season is bursting with festive, holiday-themed shows and concerts, from the classical and magical to the satirical.

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

Triple the Hallelujahs
Torontonians are spoiled for choice when it comes to enjoying one of the world’s cherished Christmas classics, George Frideric Handel’s Messiah. One version of the oratorio will be performed by the esteemed Toronto Symphony Orchestra on December 16, 18, 19, 20 and 21. Dubbed “Toronto’s Favourite Messiah,” the uplifting concert is highlighted by the debut of three young talents: conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni, countertenor Matthew White and baritone Tyler Duncan. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St., $35 to $99; call 416-872-4255 or visit here for tickets.

Ballet Creole’s Soulful Messiah promises to delight with a unique, movement-oriented take on Handel’s masterpiece. Its shows on December 11, 12 and 13 combine the company’s trademark African and Caribbean dance influences with tap, contemporary R&B and the voices of legendary black singers for a joyous and moving celebration. Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay W., $20 to $45; call 416-973-4000 or click here for tickets.

A third—and beloved—interpretation of the Messiah, by the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir on December 20, encourages audience participation. Conducted by a feisty, white-wigged “Maestro Handel,” the Sing-Along Messiah lets you lift your voice in song with 2,700 other audience members and guest soloists. A special offer lets groups of six save $10 per ticket off the regular price. It’s enough to make you shout “Hallelujah!” Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St., $25 to $39; call 416-872-4255 or see Tafelmusik’s website for details and tickets.

Two Cheers for the Children
There’s nothing more angelic than children’s voices soaring in perfect harmony. On December 11 and 12, the St. Michael’s Choir School stages Sing We Noel, Noel We Sing, its annual Christmas concert. Featuring a special performance of Dancing Day for choir and harp composed by John Rutter, the show includes sacred music from the Catholic tradition and Christmas sing-along favourites. Massey Hall, $22.50 to $36.50; call 416-872-4255 or navigate here to purchase tickets.

The youthful yet very professional members of the Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre present Wintersong: Dances for a Sacred Season on December 18 and 19. The tapestry of five dances comprising the show mixes mid-winter solstice dance influences from Native Canadian, Jewish, Christian and secular traditions. Live Celtic music adds to the enchanting atmosphere. Fleck Dance Theatre, $15 to $28; call 416-973-4000 or visit this link for information and tickets.

The Nutcracker (photo by Bruce Zinger)

The Nutcracker (photo by Bruce Zinger)

Favourite Fairy Tale
Even heretofore hardened hearts hearts will melt at the National Ballet of Canada’s magical production of The Nutcracker on December 12, 16, 17 and 18. Featuring a full orchestra, a gorgeous set, a dancing horse, a lively battle and the participation of the VIVA! Youth Singers of Toronto, this classical ballet takes audiences on an amazing adventure through a dreamscape where toys comes to life, snowflakes waltz and the Sugar Plum Fairy falls in love with the Nutcracker Prince to the heavenly sound of the celesta. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, 145 Queen St. W., $33 to $121; call 416-345-9595 or click here for tickets.

Season for Satire
In a month that can change from cheerful to stressful faster than you can say “Happy Holidays,”
The Second City gives us two reasons to laugh. What the Elf?!? is a family-friendly musical about a lost tin soldier trying to find Santa’s sleigh. An interactive improv show follows the musical on December 21, 22, and 23; parents and their young children to participate. For adults, Second City’s Dysfunctional Holiday Revue on December 19 pokes fun at holiday traditions, family reunions, Christmas carols—even the relationship between Joseph and Mary. 51 Mercer St. What the Elf?!? $12 per ticket or $40 for a family four-pack. Dysfunctional Holiday Revue $22; call 416-343-0011 for tickets.