There’s so much to do in our region! Here’s a look at what’s coming up this season in our many arts venues.
Mighty Richland Players: “Christmas Snow”
Nov. 29-Dec. 1, F-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Holiday show from Mighty Richland Players, Plum River Playhouse and Hanover Back Street Players. Dessert theater. IOOF/Masonic Hall, 203 W. High St., Orangeville, Ill. (815) 819-1310, mightyrichlandplayers.com.
Byron Civic Theater: A Classic Christmas
Nov. 29-Dec. 8, Fri-Sat 7:30 p.m., Sun 2 p.m. Christmas music and No. 1 hits of the ’50s and the ’60s, including The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Motown, girl bands and more. Byron Civic Theater, Byron Middle School, 850 N. Colfax St., Byron, Ill., (815) 312-3000, bctmagic.com.
Thomas & Friends: A Holiday Adventure
Nov. 29-Dec. 29, Fri-Sat 9 a.m. Live stage show. Preparations are in full swing for the annual Holiday Party on the Island of Sodor when unpredictable winter weather begins, and the engineers call on Thomas to help finish the planning. $15/$10 ages 14 & under; breakfast pckge. available. Forum Theater, Grand Geneva Resort, 7036 Grand Geneva Way, Lake Geneva, Wis., (800) 558-3417, grandgeneva.com.
SVCCA: Trans Infinity Orchestra
Nov. 30, 7 p.m. Some of Chicagoland’s top musicians, lighting techs and sound engineers create a tribute experience in sight and sound. Presented by Sauk Valley Community Concert Association. Historic Dixon Theatre, 114 S. Galena Ave., Dixon, svcca.org.
A Fireside Christmas
Through Dec. 22, see website for days/times. For almost twenty years, one of the area’s most beautiful and original musical revues in celebration of the most joyous holiday of the year. Fireside Dinner Theatre, Business Hwy. 26 South, Fort Atkinson, Wis., (800) 477-9505, firesidetheatre.com.
Exhibit: “Through The Ages: 100 Years Of RAM”
Through Jan. 26, 2014, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, glass, sculpture and mixed media from the RAM Permanent Collection. rare displays of historic archives. Rockford Art Museum (RAM),
711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 968-2787, rockfordartmuseum.org.
Beloit International Film Festival Year-Round
Through Feb. 5, 6-9 p.m. Wed. See films from upcoming fest, vote for those you want to see there. $5/$3 students. Bushel and Peck’s, 328 State St., Beloit, Wis., beloitfilmfestival.org.
Regional Juried Exhibition X
Through Feb. 8, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue-Fri, noon-5 p.m. Sat. Reception Nov. 15, 5-7 p.m. Features recent works by more than 160 artists from Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa, in painting, sculpture, video, performance and installation art. Freeport Art Museum (FAM), 121 N. Harlem Ave., Freeport, (815) 235-9755, freeportartmuseum.com.
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe
Through Dec. 8, 8 p.m. Fri.; 2 & 8 p.m. Sat. A new dramatization of C.S. Lewis’ classic, set in the land of Narnia, discovered by four children through an old wardrobe. Pec Playhouse Theatre, 314 Main St., Pecatonica, (815) 239-1210, pecplayhouse.org.
A Celebration for Advent & Christmastide
Dec. 1, 3 p.m. A music program for the holiday season with Elaine Uffenback (organist) and Kay Schultz (trumpeter) playing carols and concert music. Musica Maxima presentation. First Congregational Church, 801 Bushnell St., Beloit, Wis., (608) 365-9256, beloit.edu.
The Web: Joe Jencks’ Seasonal Sing-a-Bration
Dec. 4, 7:30 p.m. Join Rockford native Joe Jencks, an international touring performer and award-winning songwriter, for a holiday celebration of music and fun. MPAC, Rockford, mendelssohnpac.org.
The Wizard of Oz
Dec. 4-14, 8 p.m.; additional matinees Dec. 7-8, 14, 2 p.m. A live stage production of the 1939 Judy Garland film, with Toto, Scarecrow, the Wicked Witch and all classic songs. Studio Theatre, Rock Valley College (RVC), 3301 N. Mulford Road, Rockford, (815) 921-2160.
A Christmas Carol
Dec. 5-8, 13-15, Fri-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. By Stage One. Dickens’ classic holiday tale of miserly Scrooge’s visit from three ghosts and his redemption. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
“Ceremony of Carols” and “St. Nicholas”
Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m. Join the Mendelssohn Chorale and MCO Ensemble in celebrating Benjamin Britten’s 100th Birthday with this collaborative performance. MPAC, Rockford, mendelssohnpac.org.
The North Atlantic Music Ensemble
Dec. 6, 7:30 p.m. Tes Slominski, director. Performing traditional material from Atlantic Europe, North America and the Nordic Countries. Hendricks Center for the Performing Arts, Beloit College, Beloit, Wis., (608) 363-2366, beloit.edu.
Miracle on 34th Street
Dec. 6-8, 7 p.m. Fri-Sat.; 2 p.m. Sun. A live stage production based on the 1947 20th Century Fox film. Presented by Polo Area Community Theatre. Polo Town Hall, 117 N. Franklin St., Polo, Ill., polotheatre.org.
AE: The Gifts of the Magi: A Musical Fable
Dec. 6-22, see website for times. A lovely musical treat for the holidays, taken from two short stories by O. Henry: Jim and Della are a penniless couple facing a bleak Christmas in New York City; Soapy, an itinerant hobo, decides to find a way to spend the winter months in a warm cell. Artists’ Ensemble (AE), Cheek Theatre, Rockford University, 5050 E. State St., Rockford, (815) 394-5004, artistsensemble.org.
MTG: Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
Dec. 6-24, Fri-Sat 7:30 p.m., Sun 2 p.m. This musical based on the 1954 Paramount movie starring Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby, withe favorite Berlin songs like “Sisters,” “Blue Skies,” “Love, You Didn’t Do Right by Me” and, of course, “White Christmas.” Monroe Theatre Guild (MTG), Monroe Arts Center, 1315 11th St., (608) 325-1111, montroetheatre.com.
Flute Club of Rockford
Dec. 7, noon-1 p.m. Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies as their flute choir performs holiday music at the Visitors Center. Included with the regular garden admission; members free. Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden, 2715 S. Main St., Rockford, (815) 965-8146.
DSO: Holiday Pops Family Concert
Dec. 7, 1 p.m. William Intriligator, conductor. Sarah Ellis, soprano. Special one-hour performance with full Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, members of the Heartland Ballet and a choir of local elementary students. A holiday mix of classical and contemporary, with audience sing-alongs and visit from Santa. Five Flags Center, 405 Main St., Dubuque, Iowa, (563) 557-1677, dubuquesymphony.org.
Kids Concert: Magical Journey to the North Pole
Dec. 7, 3-4 p.m. Join Rob Erdmann and his special puppet friends for the holiday program of fun and adventure. Free. Jarrett Center, Byron Forest Preserve, 7993 N. River Road, Byron, Ill., (815) 234-8535, byronforestpreserve.com.
FAM: Stateline Music
Dec. 7, 3-4:30 p.m. Pianist Borah Kang performs. FAM, Freeport, freeportartmuseum.com.
“Coming Home” Christmas Concert
Dec. 7, 7 p.m. Christmas Concert to benefit Jarrod and Amanda Stichter’s adoption. Plus desserts and silent auction. $10/$5 ages 2-12. Park Hills Church, 2525 W. Stephenson St., Freeport, (815) 238-4100.
A Tuna Christmas
Dec. 7, 12-14, 7:30 p.m. In this hilarious sequel to Greater Tuna, it’s Christmas in the third smallest town in Texas. Radio station OKKK news personalities Thurston Wheelis and Arles Struvie report on various Yuletide activities, including hot competition in the annual lawn display contest. Winneshiek Players, 28 W. Clark St., Freeport, (815) 232-7023, winneshiekplayers.org.
RSO & Rockford Dance Co. present: The Nutcracker
Dec. 7-8, Sat. 7 p.m.; Sun. 3 p.m. Guest performers from nationally renowned dance companies join the Rockford Dance Company and the RSO to present Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic, a treat for the whole family. CPAC, Rockford, (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
DSO: Holiday Celebration Concerts
Dec. 7-8, Sat. 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m. William Intriligator, conductor. Sarah Ellis, soprano. The orchestra the Dubuque Chorale and members of the Heartland Ballet perform seasonal favorites, including a new piece by Dubuque native and composer Michael Gilbertson. Five Flags Center, Dubuque, dubuquesymphony.org.
Beloit College Holiday Choral Concert
Dec. 8, 4:30 p.m. Susan Rice, conductor. Annual Holiday Choral Concert featuring Anacrusis, Chamber Singers and the Masterwork Chorus. Public invited; free. Eaton Chapel, Beloit College, College and Chapin streets, Beloit, Wis. (608) 363-2755.
Highland Community College Youth Choir Performance
Dec. 9, 5:30 p.m. Enjoy holiday carols and tour the FHN Community Festival of Trees. Freeport Public Library, 100 E. Douglas St., Freeport, (877) 600-0346×901.
Film Screening: Say Amen, Somebody (1983)
Dec. 10, 6:30 p.m. This documentary film breaks down the roots of gospel music and focuses on two of the movement’s pioneering forces, Thomas A. Dorsey and Willie May Ford Smith – two gospel stars who helped create the genre from which so many other forms of music flowed. Monroe Public Library, 925 16th Ave, Monroe, Wis., (608) 328-7010.
RCCA: The Sound of Christmas
Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m. The Carolian Brass plays favorite seasonal music from classical to sacred to pop, joined by Elisabeth von Trapp, the granddaughter of the legendary Maria & Baron von Trapp, whose story inspired The Sound of Music. CPAC, Rockford, coronadopac.org.
Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m. The story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs propels this enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship. Broadway at the Coronado, CPAC, Rockford, coronadopac.org.
“Everywhere, Everywhere Christmas Tonight”
Dec. 13, 7 p.m. Rock Valley Children’s Choir with music for Rockford’s Heritage, with the Nelson Family Guitars. MPAC, Rockford, mendelssohnpac.org.
Mannheim Steamroller: Christmas
Dec. 13, 8 p.m. Celebrate the spirit of the season with the “18th century rock band” that has become one of the most popular and best-selling acts in the last 30 years. CPAC, Rockford, coronadopac.org.
Exhibit: Young at HeART
Dec. 13-Jan. 24, 2014, Tues.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Driftless Area Artists Group Show of works in watercolor, acrylic, gouache, oil; photography; pencil and charcoal; mixed media. MAC, Monroe, monroeartscenter.org.
Young Artists Studios: Winter Landscape
Dec. 14, 2-4 p.m. Ages 8-13. FAM’s collections of winter scenes inspire as attendees learn techniques to paint their own winter landscapes. $5/FAM members free. FAM, Freeport, freeportartmuseum.com.
Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m. This Nashville-based singer/songwriter marries old time roots gospel sounds with his own unique arrangements. $22. Severson Dells Forest Preserve, 8502 Montague Road, Winnebago, Ill., (815) 335-2915.
BJS: Holiday Spectacular
Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m. Robert Tomaro, conductor; A broad program of cherished holiday classics, joined by local high school choruses. The Eclipse Center, 100 Eclipse Center, Beloit, Wis., (608) 313-1200, beloitjanesvillesymphony.org.
Mt. Zion Gospel Choir
Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m. Led by Leotha Stanley for the past 30 years, the choir has a reputation as one of the best gospel choirs in southern Wisconsin It’s a jubilant evening of gospel and holiday songs. MAC, Monroe, monroeartscenter.org.
12th Annual Handel’s Messiah
Dec. 15, 3 p.m. The Highland Chorale Music Department present George Frideric Handel’s Messiah in the beautiful surroundings and majestic acoustics of the United Presbyterian Church. $10. United Presbyterian Church, 302 W. Stephenson St., Freeport, (815) 599-3718.
Christmas Dinner & Kantorei Concert
Dec. 15, 5 p.m. cocktails; 4:45 seating. Enjoy a traditional Christmas dinner, along with a festive program of familiar carols and songs of the season, performed by Kantorei, The Singing Boys of Rockford. Anderson Japanese Gardens, 318 Spring Creek Road, Rockford, (815) 229-9390, andersongardens.org.
Christmas With Kantorei
Dec. 15, 3 p.m. Christmas around the world in a festive program of familiar carols and songs of the season, performed by Kantorei, The Singing Boys of Rockford. $15/$10 students; $18/$12 at door. Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 3300 Rural St., Rockford, (815) 963-2544, kantorei.com.
FHN Festival of Trees Holiday Movie Series
Dec. 18, 1 & 7 p.m. Enjoy the special holiday movie White Christmas. Limited seating; free-will offering and/or a food drive contribution. Lindo Theatre, Freeport. (877) 600-0346×901.
Charlie Brown Meets the Grinch
Dec. 19, 7 p.m. The JPAC Radio Players present an evening of Christmas radio drama featuring A Charlie Brown Christmas and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
A Cash & Carter Christmas
Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m. In “A Tribute to Johnny Cash & June Carter,” Neil and Jamie Morrow tell the couple’s story through their songs, including “Jackson,” “Long-Legged Guitar-Pickin’ Man,” “It Ain’t Me, Babe,” backed by a lived band. JPAC, Janesville, janesvillepac.org.
Christmas With Kantorei
Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m. Celebrate Christmas around the world in festive program of familiar carols and songs of the season performed by Kantorei, The Singing Boys of Rockford. $15/$10 students; $18/$12 at door. First Lutheran Church, 225 S. 3rd St., Rockford, (815) 963-2544, kantorei.com.
RPL: Dave Rudolf Holiday Songs
Dec. 21, 11 a.m. Fun, interactive Christmas show featuring hilarious songs and stories. All ages. From Rockford Public Library (RPL). Nordlof Center formerly Sullivan Center), 118 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 965-6731, rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
Bel Canto Singers: “A Choral Christmas”
Dec. 21, 7 p.m. Under the direction of Allen Redford, this local group presents its annual program of seasonal songs. St. Victor Catholic Church, 1760 14th St., Monroe, Wis., monroeartscenter.org.
RSO: Holiday Pops!
Dec. 21-22, Sat. 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 3 p.m. Stephen Larson, conductor. Featuring Pianist Rich Ridenour in his original arrangements of Carol of the Bells, Billy Joel’s Egg Nog Rag, Christmas Time is Here, Nutcracker Rock, and more. CPAC, Rockford, (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
English Christmas Lessons & Carols
Dec. 22, 4:30 p.m. Rob Campbell conducts The Canterbury Singers joined by organist Todd Gresick. Ends with singalong of O come, all ye faithfull, In the bleak mid-winter, The First Nowell, and Hark! the herald angels sing. St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 221 W. 3rd St., Dixon, Ill., canterburyconcerts.com.
A Christmas Carol Radio Show Broadcast
Dec. 24-25, TBA. this audio presentation features local actors playing multiple characters with ingenious and dramatic sound effects. Experience the magic and nostalgia of radio and create a new holiday memory. MAC, Monroe, monroeartscenter.org.
The Web: Radoslav Lorkovic
Jan. 10, 7:30 p.m. With influences ranging from elegant classical and jazz styles to the rawest, most basic blues, country and soul, this pianist takes on a broad musical spectrum. Emerson House, Rockford, mendelssohnpac.org.
Jan. 10-12, 7:30 p.m. Published author and life-long Milton resident Jim Lyke with a show based on his book Mirror Image, as a part of Local Talent Month. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
RSO: Spectacular Strings
Jan. 11, 9:30 a.m.-noon. This family friendly program introduces children ages 5 to 10 and their parents to the woodwind, percussion, brass and string section of an orchestra. Following the performance, audience members may attend a Musical Instrument Playground and have a chance to try playing some of the instruments demonstrated during the program. Symphony Saturdays series. Kresge Hall, Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
RSO: Legendary Loves
Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m. Stephen Larson, conductor; Lee Chin, violin. Offenbach: Overture to La belle Helène; He Zhanhou: The Butterfly Lovers violin concerto; Wagner: Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde; Tchaikovsky: Romeo & Juliet Overture-fantasy. CPAC, Rockford. Tickets: (815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m. The eight-member international percussion sensation uses everything but conventional percussion instruments – matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters, hubcaps – to fill the stage with magnificent rhythms. Broadway at the Coronado. CPAC, Rockford, coronadopac.org.
UW-Rock County Orchestra
Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m. Join the UW-Rock County Orchestra for this free concert as a part of Local Talent Month. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
Which Witch is Which?
Jan. 18, 1, 3 & 7 p.m., Jan. 19, 2 & 4 p.m. Which witch will win the spell casting contest at the annual Witch-fest? An original dance-theater production for children by Mathew Keefe and Stephen F. Vrtol III. Kresge Hall, Riverfront Museum Park, 711 N. Main St., Rockford, (815) 963-3341, rockforddancecompany.org.
Metropolis Piano Quartet
Jan. 19, 4:30 p.m. Free. Presented by Canterbury Music Society. Philander Hall, 308 Deer Chase, Dixon, Ill., canterburyconcerts.com.
New Comma Baroque
Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m. The Chicago-based ensemble features Baroque violinist Matthew C. Cataldi, historical flautist Leighann R. Daihl, viola da gambist Phillip W. Serna and historical keyboardist Emily J. Katayama. MPAC, Rockford, mendelssohnpac.org.
BCT: Seniors of the Sahara
Jan. 30-31, Feb. 6-7, 2014, 7:30 p.m., Feb. 1 & 8, 7:30 & 3 p.m. It’s “Golden Girls” meets Aladdin. A retired New Jersey school teacher brings home a sounvenir teapot from Israel containing a besotted geriatric genie. She must keep him secret from her best friends and avoid the genie’s former master, who’s out to get her. Beloit Civic Theatre (BCT), Elizabeth Reinholz Theatre, Beloit Memorial High School, 1225 4th St., Beloit Wis. (608) 362-1595, beloitcivictheatre.org.
Elizabeth Horvath Flute Recital
Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m. JPAC’s Executive Director, Elizabeth Horvath, comes to the stage for a flute recital as a part of local talented month. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
MAC: Exhibit: Winter Bloom
Jan. 31-March 14, Tues.-Sat. 10 a.m.- 5p.m. Exhibit of original paintings by Pat Troyer. MAC, Monroe, monroeartscenter.org.
LGSO: Chamber Music Concert Series
Feb. 1, 3 p.m. Performances by The Anderson Trio and The Lake Geneva Symphony Orchestra (LGSO) Brass. Holy Communion Episcopal Church, 320 Broad St., Lake Geneva, Wis., (262) 359-9072, lakegenevaorchestra.org.
RSO: Tragic Desire
Feb. 1, 7:30 p.m. Stephen Larson, conductor. Brahms: Tragic Overture; Berlioz: Three Pieces from The Damnation of Faust; Schumann: Manfred Overture; Shostakovich: Symphony No. 5 in D minor. CPAC, Rockford, 815) 965-0049, rockfordsymphony.com.
Janesville Little Theatre: Sabrina Fair
Feb. 7-9, 14-16, Fri-Sat. 7:30 p.m., Sun. 2 p.m. Dinner both Saturdays. This romantic comedy follows the daughter of a wealthy family’s chauffeur who returns from school in Paris transformed from a shy girl into a confident woman and is wooed by the playboy son who once ignored her. Basis for the 1954 Billy Wilder film starring Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, and the 1995 remake starring Julie Ormand and Harrison Ford. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
LGSO: Beethoven & Brahms
Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m. David Anderson, conductor; Christopher Martin, CSO, trumpet. Beethoven: Symphony No. 7; Brahms: Academic Festival Overture; Arutunian: Trumpet Concerto. Elkhorn Area High School, 482 E. Geneva St., Elkhorn, Wis., (262) 359-9072, lakegenevaorchestra.org.
DSO: Dance and Romance
Feb. 15-16, Sat. 7:30 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m. William Intriligator, conductor. Jim Langenberg, tuba. Mendelssohn: Wedding March; Cimarosa: Overture to the Secret Marriage; Elgar: Salut d’amour (Love’s Greeting); Gluck: Dance of the Blessed Spirits; Ravel: Pavane for a Dead Princess; Vaughn Williams: Tuba Concerto; Schubert: Unfinished Symphony No. 9; Faure: Pavane; Mascagni: Intermezzo from Cavalleria rusticana; Albeniz & Arnold: Tango in D. Five Flags Center, Dubuque, dubuquesymphony.org.
Tim Glander: Fantastic Mr. G!
Feb. 18, 11-11:45 a.m. this talented performer. entertains all ages with his magic, balloon sculpting, storytelling and humor. Sullivan Center, Rockford, rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
Photography Project Exhibition
Feb. 22-April 5, Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m.-5 p..m.; Sat. noon-5 p.m. Opening reception, Feb. 21, 5-7 p.m. Photography Project by Scott Cavanah and Matt Buedel. Freeport Art Museum (FAM), 121 N. Harlem Ave., Freeport, (815) 235-9755, freeportartmuseum.org.
Avalon String Quartet
Feb. 21, 7 p.m. One of the country’s top string ensembles, now in residence at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. MPAC, Rockford, mendelssohnpac.org.
A Night on Broadway!
Feb. 22, 7 p.m. Canterbury Music Society soloists with Rob Campbell perform hits from the Great White Way. The Next Picture Show, 113 W. 1st Ave., Dixon, Ill., canterburyconcerts.com.
Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m. Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack perform their unique American Roots-Celtic Soul music blend on mandolin, guitar and bass and vocal harmonies. JPAC, Janesville, (608) 758-0297.
Jabali African Acrobats
Feb. 22, 2-3 p.m. Direct from Mombassa, Kenya, their performance includes acrobats, contortions, tumbling, human pyramids, chair balancing, dance and comedy. Sullivan Center, Rockford, rockfordpubliclibrary.org.
The Irish Rovers “Farewell to Rovin’ Tour”
Feb. 22, 7:30 p.m. All hailing from Ireland, these international ambassadors of Irish music have charmed and entertained audiences around the world with their exciting stage shows for decades. Monroe High School Performing Arts Center, 1600 26th St., Monroe, monroeartscenter.org.
SVCCA: National Lutheran Choir
Feb. 27, 7 p.m. Members of this sixty-plus mixed voice chorus based in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area come from a variety of choral backgrounds. Historic Dixon Theatre, Dixon, svcca.org.
Feb. 27-March 2, 7:30 p.m. Thu.-Sat.; 2 p.m. Sun. A weekend party on a country English estate sees affairs begin, engagements end and a young woman’s dilemma of whether to marry for love or money. From George Bernard Shaw, the master of wit and social thought. Maddox Theatre, Rockford University, Rockford, (815) 226-4032, rockford.edu.