Though your uncle’s eggnog-fueled Bing Crosby impression has its place, one of the most magical parts of the holiday season can be found in the music that defines it. Here are some of highlights of Montreal’s Christmas Concert lineup…
The Orchestra at the Basilica: The combination of the OSM and the Notre-Dame Basilica will always be one of Montreal’s most popular holiday partnerships. The sound of the full orchestra playing in one of the city’s most spectacular spaces is truly one of the most festive presents one could give their ears. It begins, as always, with Kent Nagano conducting Handel’s Messiah, the 200-year old baroque piece that has come to symbolize the season for many people and is always OSM’s most popular performance of the year. You can catch it on December 11 and 13th- if you get your ticket immediately. For those that miss it (or just want more), on the 15th and 16th you can return to the Basilica when the OSM presents a Christmas Celebration accompanied by the Choeurs des Enfants de Montreal. These shows take a more varied approach to the repertoire, covering everything from Tchaikovsky to Schubert to Handel.
Dans La Rue and the CBC: Though you’ve missed the chance to participate in the CBC’s Caroling Challenge, you’ve still got all month to donate to Dans La Rue, an organization dedicated to helping street kids. Just scratch one gift off your shopping list and send that money their way. You also still have the chance to attend the 31st Annual CBC Christmas Sing-In at The Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, where all proceeds go to Dans La Rue. The concert will air on Christmas day on CBC- take a listen to what it sounded like last year.
Serenata at St-John’s: Now in its seventh year, this Sunday afternoon series culminates in a December 12th “concerto for trumpet and 2 oboes”. Located in the historic (and sonorous) St. John’s Lutheran Church, the concert will feature members of the MSO and other prominent Montreal musicians.
The Choeur Quebecois: The big event on this Quebec choral groups’ Christmas calendar can be found on December 12th at the Maisonneuve Presbyterian Church and features veritable smorgasbord of yuletide hits.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Those revelers looking for a musical bridge between Christmas and New Year’s Eve need look no further than the MMFA’s Arte Musica Foundation’s Christmas Concerts. Held in the museum’s Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion on December 28th-30th, these choral concerts feature the Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal performing the music of Bach, Mendelssohn and Brahms. The MMFA’s volunteers have also curated some classical Christmas concerts being held in the same Pavilion: on December 12th it’s the Orpheus Singers, while on December 20th, the excellent Le Choeur de la Montagne take over.