Holiday concerts trumpet songs of the season

Variety of performances range from medieval pieces to brand new works

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It might be cold outside, but music is a surefire way to warm up and spread some cheer.

Fortunately, there's a variety of concerts in the Vancouver area that can elevate your holiday spirits. The range of music stretches from medieval pieces to brand new works and jazz. Many of the concerts offer sing-along opportunities. So don't forget to warm up your vocal chords.

Here are some of the concerts:

Pacific Arts Ensemble

The Pacific Arts Ensemble will give two Christmas concerts, under the direction of Tony Bump. The choir will present traditional pieces and original music at Vancouver Heights United Methodist Church. Both performances are fee, but donations will be accepted.

What: Pacific Arts Ensemble.

Where: Vancouver Heights United Methodist Church, 5701 MacArthur Blvd., Vancouver.

When: 7 p.m. today and 2 p.m. Saturday.

Cost: No admission charge; donations accepted.

Information: 360-213-5174 or www.pacificstageworks.com

Christmas with Jim Fischer & Friends

This annual concert benefits the Friends of the Carpenter nonprofit in Vancouver, a ministry aiding the homeless.

Guests include the Northwest Harmony Chorus, directed by Nancy Kurth at the 3 p.m. show, and Kings Way Christian School Choir, directed by Randy Frasier at both shows. Vocalists are Kyra Smith, Trevor Smith and Tobaj. Musicians are Keith Collins on bass, Everett Carlson on drums, Ed Bisquera on keyboards, Dave Raynor on guitar and Catarina New on saxophone. David Michael Lee joins Jim Fischer for four-handed piano.

What: A Christmas concert featuring Vancouver pianist and vocalist Jim Fischer, with choruses, vocalists, soloists and ensemble musicians.

Where: First Presbyterian Church, 4300 Main St., Vancouver.

When: 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday.

Cost: Tickets are $ 20.

Singing Christmas Tree

The 41st Annual Singing Christmas Tree presents "A Joyful Night," with a 60-voice choir under the direction of Randy Frasier, plus solos by pianist Jim Fischer and vocalists Timothy Greenidge and Ashley Waldbauer. The concert will also offer a sing-along with some favorite carols including orchestral instruments, a hand bell choir under the direction of Mark E. Kelly, a preschool choir under the direction of Babette Terry, a children's choir under the direction of Darrel Hossler, the Tree Carolers under the direction of Terry Mendenhall, and hand mimes under the direction of Pastor Julie Murphy. Dramatic pageantry directed by Pastor Jan van Amerongen will consist of shepherds, angels, wisemen, Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.

What: Singing Christmas Tree.

Where: Vancouver Church (formerly First Church of God), 3300 N.E. 78th St., Vancouver.

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, Dec. 13.; 2 p.m. Saturday , Dec. 14; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15.

Cost: No admission charge; canned goods accepts for food pantry.

Information: 360-574-1611.

In Mulieribus

In Mulieribus, a women's vocal ensemble that specializes in music written before 1750, will present a concert of Advent, Christmas, and New Year's music from 14th and 15th century England. The ensemble will perform songs and carols from old manuscripts, such as the Selden carol book. It dates back to the 1450s and is part of the Bodleian Library at Oxford University. Originating in the Worcester Cathedral, the Selden contains motets and carols, generally in English, with many addressed to the Virgin Mary. In Mulieribus will also sing pieces from the Ritson manuscript, which dates back to the 16th century and is now in the British Library. Also on the program is the world premiere of Cum Natus Esset Iesus, written by British composer Ivan Moody.

What: In Mulieribus: Nowell Syng We: Songs and Carols from Medieval England.

Where: St. James Catholic Church, 218 W. 12th St., Vancouver.

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20.

Cost: $25 premium seating, $20 general, $15 students/ seniors; www.boxofficetickets.com or at the door.

Information: 503-283-2913 or www.inmulieribus.org

Junior Symphony of Vancouver

Led by conductor Collin Heade, the Junior Symphony of Vancouver is an ensemble of young instrumentalists who take music making seriously but want to have fun, too. On its Christmas program are "Christmas Time In Germany," the finale from Haydn's Symphony No. 25 in C major, "Christmas Toys on Parade" and "Winter Music" by Russell Peck, plus sing-alongs. Bring your sweet tooth because a delicious dessert buffet is included in the price of the ticket to this concert.

What: Junior Symphony of Vancouver.

Where: Water Resource Education Center, 4600 S.E. Columbia Way, Vancouver.

When: 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15.

Cost: $20 at the door (includes dessert buffet).

Information: 360-696-4084 or www.oregonchamberplayers.org/jsv.html

Portland Ensign Choir and Orchestra

The Portland Ensign Choir and Orchestra will give two presentations of "Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child." Featuring a 120-voice choir and an orchestra of 45, the concert will have music for children and traditional sacred Christmas music including "O Come All Ye Faithful " and "Angels We Have Heard on High," modern, popular pieces such as "Grown-Up Christmas List," and music from Christmas movies such as "Home Alone" and "Polar Express." Vocal selections will be led by the choir's music director David Thomas and orchestral pieces will be directed by Ed Higgins. The concert is a benefit for Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

What: Portland Ensign Choir and Orchestra: "Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child."

Where: Skyview High Concert Hall, 1300 N.W. 139th St., Vancouver

When: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14.

Cost: Economy $15. Standard $18. Premier $20.

Information: 503-974-4339 or www.portlandensign.org

Clark College Concert Choir and Concert Band

The Clark College Concert Choir, under the direction of April Duvic, and the Concert Band, under the direction of Richard Inouye, will present their fall concert, "Celestial Light," featuring a variety of vocal and instrumental works. The concert choir will open with J.S. Bach's "Break Forth, O Beauteous, Heavenly Light" and Gretchaninoff's "Holy, Radiant Light." The Men of Concert Choir will sing the traditional Spanish carol "La Virgen Lava Pañales" with soloist Grace Skinner. The choir will also perform Clark College alumnus and local composer Brandon Stewart's "Bogoroditse Devo" and be joined by the Clark College Women's Choral Ensemble to sing "Hope for Resolution" by Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory. The Concert Band will play "Shooting Stars" by Richard Saucedo and "An Original Suite" by English composer Gordon Jacob.

What: Clark College Concert Band and Concert Choir.

Where: Royal Durst Theatre, Vancouver School of Arts & Academics, 3101 Main St., Vancouver

When: 7:30 p.m. today.

Cost: No admission charge.

Information: 360-992-2662 or www.clark.edu/news_events/MusicDepartmentConcerts.php

Big Horn Brass with Valerie Day

Presented by the Vancouver Symphony, the Big Horn Brass ensemble will return to Lifepoint Church with its annual Christmas Concert. The acclaimed brass ensemble, now in its 30th year, includes 16 professional musicians who will play a mix of holiday favorites, from traditional carols to swinging versions of popular holiday tunes. A special feature of this concert is a new musical adaptation of Clement Moore's classic poem "The Night Before Christmas," composed by Anthony DiLorenzo and narrated by Valerie Day. A video of the story will accompany the music.

What: Big Horn Brass with Valerie Day.

Where: Lifepoint Church, 305 N.E. 192nd Ave., Vancouver

When: 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14.

Cost: $25 for adults and $10 for students.

Information: 360-735-7278 or vancouversymphony.org.

Bravo! Vancouver Messiah

Michael Kissinger will lead the 60 members of the Bravo! Vancouver Chorale, the Washington Chamber Orchestra and soloists in a performance of Handel's "Messiah." The soloists are Russian soprano Inessa Crown, alto Valerie Saul, tenor Brian Tierney and bass Douglas Webster. Webster has sung the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables on Broadway and is featured in the Grammy-nominated recording "A Disney Spectacular" with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops.

What: Bravo! Vancouver "Messiah."

Where: Crossroads Community Church. 7708 NE 78th St., Vancouver.

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Cost: General admission $25.

Information: 360-906-0441 or www.bravoconcerts.com

Bravo! Vancouver Christmas Concert

Maria Manzo conducts the 60 voices of the Bravo! Vancouver Chorale, the Michael Kissinger Jazz Quartet, and soloist Douglas Webster in an old-fashioned Christmas concert. The program includes sacred and popular Christmas songs. The audience will be invited to sing along with several selections.

What: Bravo! Vancouver Christmas Concert.

Where: Camas High School Theatre, 26900 S.E. 15th St., Camas.

When: 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15.

Cost: General admission $25.

Information: 360-906-0441 or www.bravoconcerts.com