Concert Review: The Choral Arts Society of Washington DC presents “A Family Christmas” at the Kennedy Center


“A Family Christmas Concert” at the Kennedy Center. Photo courtesy of the Choral Arts Society of Washington.

Every year at the dawn of Thanksgiving and the dawn of December, I pledge to make it a festive holiday season for my family of three by enjoying all the sights and events the DMV area has to offer. . See the National Christmas Tree; drive through the Festival of Lights at the Upper Marlboro Festival of Lights; and shop till dawn at Midnight Madness in Annapolis!

Each year, however, between a busy work schedule and many social obligations, our family never seems to make it to any of these places.

Luckily, this year we were able to book time for “A Family Christmas” with Choral Arts at the Kennedy Center, and how glad I am! Along with my husband and seven and a half year old son, I attended the Christmas Eve show, which lasted 60 minutes full of holiday cheer, incredibly talented musicians and a few special guests.

However, don’t think for a second that ‘A Family Christmas’ was just an hour of stilted Christmas carols that had all the children present sitting patiently waiting for it all to be over.…it just might become an annual family tradition.

The Choral Arts Society is led by Artistic Director Scott Tucker (who announced in August that this will be his final season with the organization), who served as conductor and emcee of the family show . The choir, decked out in holiday attire, was joined by the brass ensemble, as well as pianist Brandon Straub, percussionist Thomas Dell’Omo and guitarist Michael Bard.

The program featured holiday classics, including beautiful arrangements of “White Christmas” and “Joy to the World” (the latter was conducted by an 11-year-old representative from the Children’s Chorus of Washington, D.C., whom I, unfortunately, name, did not understand).

However, don’t think for a second that “A Family Christmas” was just an hour of stilted Christmas carols that had all the kids in attendance sitting patiently until it was all over. Oh no, the whole audience stood and stood to join in the singing and dancing fun of “Rudolph Pokey” and, somewhat exhaustingly but also entertaining, “The 12 Days of Christmas.” The little princes and princesses were also thrilled to see “Princess Tesla” – as she’s known in this age of litigation – perform “Let It Go” from Disney’s “Frozen.”

This first, a variant of the “Hokey Pokey”, welcomed a special guest, Rudolph himself, on stage. (At the end of the song, as Rudolph waved him goodbye, my son mumbled sadly, “I miss him already.”) Later, a uninvited guest visited, the green bully himself, for a rendition of “You’re a Bad Guy, Mr. Grinch.” The kids got a real kick out of it with The Grinch sneaking around the stage balcony, Mr Tucker looking oblivious as the kids yelled and pointed at the unwanted visitor.

Of course, no family Christmas pageant would be complete without a visit from the jolly elf himself, Santa Claus. Frosty also came! The whole holiday gang wrapped up the show in perfect time, just when the kids are ready to move on to the next activity, no matter how fabulous the performance may have been.

After the depressing holiday season of 2020, it was so wonderful to enjoy a live Christmas concert this year. (Note: All guests, regardless of age, must show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test, as well as wear a mask at all times.) Next year when I promise a vacation for m fun, I You’ll remember Choral Arts’ “Family Christmas” – it just might become an annual family tradition.

“A Family Christmas” was performed on Saturday, December 18 at 2:00 p.m. and Friday, December 24 at 11:00 a.m. at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, 2700 F St NW, Washington, DC 20566. For more information on upcoming offerings at Kennedy Center, please visit here.

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