Houston is mixing things up, musically speaking, for the holidays.
Yes, there will be endless renditions of “O Holy Night” and “Jingle Bells.” But the outlook also includes old-school R&B, western swing, country, classical-crossover superstars and, of course, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Mayor’s Holiday Celebration and Tree Lighting
Dennis Edwards and the Temptations Review headline the annual event. Edwards replaced lead singer David Ruffin in 1968 and sang on the hits “Cloud Nine,” “Just My Imagination,” “Ball of Confusion,” “I Can’t Get Next to You” and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.” Mayor Annise Parker, Santa and others will light a 63-foot white fir tree, followed by a fireworks presentation featuring music from the Ernest Walker Band, along with the Abundant Life Cathedral and Gospel Music Heritage choirs. Anyone who brings a new, unwrapped toy (donated to the Salvation Army Greater Houston Area Command) will receive a light-up Santa hat. 6 p.m. Nov. 30 at City Hall, 901 Bagby. Free; houstonspecialevents.org.
Andrea Bocelli and Katherine Jenkins
The classical-crossover duo will probably work several warm, fuzzy moments into this show. Jenkins, runner-up earlier this year on “Dancing With the Stars,” is plugging a new Christmas album. Also on the bill are the Houston Symphony and Chorus and soprano Maria Aleida. 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Toyota Center, 1510 Polk. $75-$375; 866-446-8849 or houstontoyotacenter.com.
The Rat Pack Is Back
The sounds of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin and Joey Bishop are re-created alongside a 12-piece orchestra. Holiday tunes are in the setlist. 8 p.m. at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. $35-$90; 713-227-4772 or spahouston.org.
It’s not Christmas without this prog-rock staple. The current tour includes an orchestral string section, rock band, multiple vocalists, a narrator, extensive pyrotechnics, lasers and a snowfall. 4 and 8 p.m. Dec. 21 at Toyota Center; $43-$73.
The Nutcracker and Other Bon Bons
Local woodwind group WindSync, offers holiday favorites and a retelling of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” complete with choreography and costuming. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at First Unitarian Universalist Church, 5200 Fannin. Pay-what-you-can admission; windsync.org.
The Last Place You Look
Houston’s hard-working, hard-rocking, bearded heroes host a third annual holiday bash and release a new EP. And, yes, there will be Christmas tunes. 7 p.m. Dec. 21 at Warehouse Live, 813 St. Emanuel. $5 also gets you the EP; 713-225-5483 or warehouselive.com.
The Baltimore Consort: Wassail, Wassail
Fute, cittern, viols, crumhorns, recorders, rebec and percussion breathe life into carols and dance tunes from the British Isles, Germany, France, Spain and the New World. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11 at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas. $10-$35; 281-846-4222 or houstonearlymusic.org.
Houston Symphony Holly Jolly Spectacular
Holiday classics and popular carols in The Woodlands’ winter wonderland. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Woodlands Pavilion, 2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands. $15 orchestra, free lawn and mezzanine admission; 281-363-3300 or woodlandscenter.org.
The Brian Setzer Orchestra: Christmas Rocks!
A swinging Christmas concert from the original Stray Cat. 8 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Arena Theatre, 7326 Southwest Freeway. $49.50; 713-772-5900 or arenahouston.com.
For Unto Us
The Houston Chamber Choir performs Baroque classics, the Christmas portion of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah and Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Midnight Mass for Christmas. Also on the program is Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto in C Major for 2 Trumpets and Strings. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 8 at Church of St. John the Divine, 2450 River Oaks Blvd. $40; 713-224-556 or houstonchamberchoir.org.
Christmas at the Villa
Familiar carols in fresh arrangements, along with new works for the season. Guest artist Cynthia Clawson has earned a Grammy and five Dove awards. Matinee performances will feature the Treble Choir of Houston at Christ Church Cathedral, comprised of local children. 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 and 16 at Chapel of the Villa de Matel, 6510 Lawndale. $40; 713-224-556 or houstonchamberchoir.org.
A Peter White Christmas
Acoustic, contemporary jazz guitarist is joined by Rick Braun and Mindi Abair. 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Dosey Doe, 25911 Interstate 45 N., The Woodlands. $105-$145; 281-367-3774 or doseydoescoffeeshop.com.
The Kingston Trio Holiday Show
Folk and pop music preserved from the 1960’s. 8 p.m. Dec. 22 at The Grand, 2020 Postoffice, Galveston. $20-$58; 800-821-1894 or thegrand.com.
The Texas Tenors — Deep in the Heart of Christmas
Trio blends country, classical, gospel and Broadway. You might remember them from “America’s Got Talent.” 8 p.m. Dec. 15 at The Grand.
Holidays Roast with Guy Forsyth & Carolyn Wonderland
Two Austin stalwarts join forces for a “hipster holiday show” featuring blues, folk and big band. 8:30 p.m. Nov. 30 at the Dosey Doe; $58-$98.
Suzy Bogguss’ Swingin’ Little Christmas
The country singer had her biggest successes in the early ’90s. Since then, she’s turned to jazz and western swing. She’ll mix ’em all up in this holiday-themed show. 8:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Dosey Doe; $78-$118.
Larry Gatlin Christmas
The country vet puts his spin on the season. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Dosey Doe; $78-$118.
Pam Tillis Christmas Trio
More country twang for the holidays. Tillis, a former Country Music Association female vocalist of the year, released “Just in Time for Christmas” in 2007. 8:30 p.m. Dec. 21 at the Dosey Doe; $78-$118.
Ruthie Foster Christmas
Texas-bred blues and folk. 8:30 p.m. Dec. 22 at the Dosey Doe; $58-$98.
Toys for Tots
Annual fundraiser, featuring music from Lisa Morales, Brennen Leigh and Texas Johnny Boy, as well as the University of Houston Men of Moores a capella ensemble. 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk. Admission is an unwrapped toy; 713-528-5999.
Bruce & Kelly Holiday Show
The husband-wife, singer-songwriter duo of Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis started the tradition in 1999, taking only one year off for the birth of their twins. This show features a full band, tunes from 2003’s “Happy Holidays” and original, non-Christmas tunes. Previous years have always sold out quickly. 7 and 9:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Mucky Duck; $75 advance, $80 at the door.
Trish and Darin Christmas Show
Austin singer-songwriter Trish Murphy and brother Darin will deck the halls and actually do the cooking for patrons between songs. Trish has a food blog on her official site and teaches a cooking class at Austin’s Whole Foods. 7 p.m. Dec. 18 at the Mucky Duck; $55 advance, $60 at the door.
Martin Burniston’s Christmas Singalong
Annul event, featuring holiday favorites and dinner. 7 p.m. Dec. 20-22 at the Mucky Duck; $10-$40.
Wishing You a “Mele Kalikimaka”
The Houston Horizon Chorus teams up with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Choir for a “Hawaiian tropical Christmas celebration.” 7 p.m. Dec. 13 at Grace Presbyterian Church, 10221 Ella Lee Lane. $10, $5 for ages 6-12, free for kids ages 5 and younger; 713-419-1546 or houstonhorizon.org.
Holidays in the Plaza
The Houston Choral Showcase performs pop, jazz, swing, showtunes and holiday tunes with choreography, staging and costumes. 7 p.m. Nov. 30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at Sugar Land Town Square, 2700 Town Center Blvd. N., Sugar Land. Free; sugarlandtownsquare.com.
“Come On, It’s Christmas!”
Houston Choral Showcase puts a jazzy spin on holiday tunes. 3 p.m. Dec. 16 at Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 8300 Katy Freeway. $8-$15; 381-346-0161 or houstonchoralshowcase.org.
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