What to Do/Hear/See | Dec. 6-12

Curated by Thom Mariner

Holiday music dominates the week ahead, but there are plenty of opportunities to stimulate the other senses, as well. Check out our hand-picked sampler and share with your friends and family…

Cultural Exhibits

Heritage Village Museum | 11450 Lebanon Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45241. 513-563-9484

Holly Days at Heritage Village

  • Dec. 9-10, 12-4 p.m. “Holly Days,” 1800’s decorations with storytelling, crafts, model train display and more
  • Dec. 9, 9 and 10:30 a.m. Breakfast with Father Christmas

Step back in time to Ohio Christmases past. Experience traditional decorations from the 1800’s, storytelling, craft making, model train displays, music, holiday treats, and more. And where else can you and your kids grab pancakes with Father Christmas?



Urban Appalachian Literary Salon Series | Lydia’s on Ludlow, 329 Ludlow Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220

Writer Crystal Wilkinson

Writer Crystal Wilkinson

  • Dec. 7, 7-9 p.m. Affrilachian Writer Crystal Wilkinson

This wraps up the fall series of presentations celebrating the rich culture of Appalachians in Greater Cincinnati. Wilkinson, raised by her grandparents in rural Kentucky, shares stories of what she calls her “enchanted childhood,” and the inspirations for her award-winning writings. She is currently writer-in-residence at Berea College.



Cincinnati Camerata |

  • Dec. 9, 7 p.m. “Mary Echoes” (at St. Mary Church, 2853 Erie Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45208)
  • Dec. 10, 2 p.m. Encore (at St. Catharine of Siena Church, 2848 Fischer Pl., Cincinnati, OH 45211)

For the Camerata’s annual Marian concert, music director Brett Scott has recently focused on influences from Orthodox Christianity. This year is no exception, with music evoking the Virgin Mary by Poland’s Henryk Gorecki and Paweł Łukaszewski, Estonia’s Arvo Pärt, the Russian Sergei Rachmaninoff, Orthodox convert John Tavener and his student, Ivan Moody, plus a variety of songs of the season. Whether you live on Cincinnati’s east or west, there’s a performance near you.

Conductor Robyn Reeves Lana

Conductor Robyn Reeves Lana

Cincinnati Children’s Choir | Corbett Auditorium, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221. 513-556-4183

  • Dec. 9, 2 and 5 p.m. Holiday Concert

The gifted Robyn Reeves Lana leads the award-winning Children’s Choir Bel Canto singers – plus vocalists from the organization’s eight regional satellite choirs – singing holiday music from around the world. Go hear the future of choral music. You’ll be impressed.

Cincinnati Pops | Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-381-3300

  • Dec. 8-10. (Pops) “Holiday Pops,” with Liz Callaway and Denzal Sinclaire. John Morris Russell, conductor

Vocalist Denzal Sinclaire (Pops)

As with most Pops holiday concerts, this is a real smorgasbord of styles cooked up by JMR. Singer Callaway may be best known to younger audiences as the singing voice in several animated classics. Sinclaire is among Canada’s most popular jazz singers. Plus, there are dancers, a choir, inspired arrangements…a true Pops extravaganza.

Collegium Cincinnati |

  • Dec. 9, 7 p.m. “Messiah,” by Handel (at St. Anne’s Church, 6461 Tylersville Rd., West Chester, OH 45069)
  • Dec. 10, 6 p.m. Encore (at Christ Church Cathedral, 318 E. Fourth St., Cincinnati, OH 45202)

It would not be Christmas without a “Messiah” performance, and this should be a good one. Unique in this region for its use of only 16 singers and a small chamber orchestra, all highly skilled pros, soloists will step out from the ensemble. The talented and creative Chris Eanes is on the podium. And there are also two dates/locations from which to choose.

Knox Music Series | Knox Church, 3400 Michigan Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45208. 513-321-2573. 

  • Dec. 10, 3 p.m. Earl Rivers, conductor. Arvo Pärt: “Salve Regina,” Respighi: “Lauda per la Natività del Signore,” and J.S. Bach: “Magnificat,” BWV 243

Earl Rivers leads an eclectic program of shorter, sacred masterworks, including more elegiac Marian music from Pärt; the gorgeous, yet seldom-heard Respighi Christmas cantata; and Bach’s magnificent Magnificat, in case you missed the May Festival Chorus’s November performance. Soloists are past and current CCM students, with a professional orchestra and one of Cincinnati’s best volunteer church choirs.

No Promises Vocal Band |

  • Dec. 7-21. “A Very Merry Christmas”

No Promises

This excellent male a cappella group offers a different side of Christmas ensemble singing, combining intricate jazz and pop harmonies with a serious groove. There are three performances in the days ahead: Thursday, at The Carnegie; Friday, at the New Thought Unity Center in East Walnut Hills; and Sunday, at Montgomery Universalist Church. Check these guys out. Highly recommended.

Xavier Music Series | Gallagher Center Theater, Xavier University. 513-745-3161. xavier.edu/musicseries

  • Dec. 8, 8 p.m. Kneebody


Kneebody is an almost unclassifiable band, offering up jazz, funk, fusion and more. A product of the Eastman School of Music, and founded in the early 2000s, this adventurous instrumental quintet continues to push at boundaries. An aural amuse-bouche amidst the holiday fare that’s seemingly everywhere.



Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati | Taft Theatre, 317 E. Fifth St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-569-8080 x10

  • Dec. 9-17. “Cinderella”


Theater for, not by children, this excellent company routinely pleases and often fills the Taft with its fine shows, so grab your tickets early.

Cincinnati Black Theatre | Word of Deliverance Center, 693 Fresno Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45240. 513-621-2787

  • Dec. 8-9. “Black Nativity – Jesus: the Hope, the Pulse, the Heart”

Here’s an exploratory option for those looking for different manifestations of the Christmas story. This production is a spirited, colorful retelling, with book by Langston Hughes, complete with gospel arrangements of traditional carols, along with some original songs.


Visual Art

Cincinnati Art Club | 1021 Parkside Pl., Cincinnati, OH 45202 513-241-4591

  • Dec 9-10, 16-17, noon – 5 p.m. Holiday Art Sale

Cincinnati Clay Alliance | Lindner Event Center Annex/Kennedy Heights Art Center, 6620 Montgomery Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45213

  • Dec. 9, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Holiday Pottery Fair, works by 29 local ceramic artists

For those who have everything, give the timeless gift of art this season. Your shopping is made easy with these two events featuring dozens of outstanding local artists.

Cincinnati Nature Center | 4949 Tealtown Rd., Milford, OH 45150

  • Dec. 10, noon. “A Holiday with the Harpers”

Artist Brett Harper shares items from his private family holiday card collection, containing pieces designed by his famous local family of artists: father Charley, mother Edie and himself. Plus, he will offer a demonstration of the family’s signature screen printing techniques. The presentation is followed by a reception, from 1-3 p.m. The exhibit runs Dec. 9-31 in the Nature Shop.

Priya Rama: ‘An Hour in the Life of Thumbelina’

Women’s Art Club | The Barn, 6980 Cambridge Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45227. 513-272-3700.

  • Friday, Dec. 8, 6-9 p.m. (I)NTREP(ID): Art by Priya Rama

Artist Rama (priyarama.com) has suffered from migraines for many years. She discovered that, at the onset of a headache, she would experience vivid visions or auras. She decided to capture these on canvas, giving her a distracting point of focus, and transforming pain into beauty. The show continues through December, with a closing reception, 1-4 p.m., New Year’s Eve.

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