Frank's Weekend Faves, Dec. 3, 2017

Frank's Weekend Faves, Dec. 3, 2017

Three weeks to Christmas, and The News-Gazette's On the Go calendar only has a half page of events coming up locally? Surely there must be more going on around here this time of year. Are you serious?

No ... well, rarely. And don't call me Shirley. But thank you for providing me another opportunity to plug our website, where you can find our complete calendar listings (which, in ink, would occupy considerably more than a half-page permits). And you're right — if you check out our online events calendar, you'll find a whole lot more holiday season entertainment going on than we had room to print in our Thursday pull-out. But never fear, Frank's Weekend Faves are here to spotlight more yuletide pleasures and treasures than you can shake a nutcracker at, starting with:

Classical Christmas music. Three words that in these parts evoke three more ear-pleasing words: Sinfonia da Camera.

Conductor-pianist Ian Hobson's University of Illinois- and Kranner Center-affiliated chamber orchestra will perform its "Noel" concert at 7:30 p.m. today in Krannert's Foellinger Great Hall. The UI Oratorio Society will join them to present J.S. Bach's "Weihnachtsoratorium (Christmas Oratorio)." The first half of the six-part oratorio will be performed tonight. Tickets are $5 to $40.

If you're out and about today, and up for double the musical pleasure, no doubt you have enough time before the previous holiday treat for yet another — at C-U's other institution of higher learning: Parkland College.

At 3 p.m. today, Parkland's Chamber Singers and Wind Ensemble will present a joint wintertime concert, "Visions of Winter," at Harold and Jean Miner Theatre, 2400 W. Bradley Ave., C. And yes, the performance is free and open to the public.

OK, no one has time to take in everything, and classical music isn't everyone's cup of tea. So if you prefer more guitar picking with your Christmas classics, here's another option also going on today ...

Grammy-nominated country guitarist Tommy Emmanuel brings his "Classics & Christmas Tour" to the Virginia Theatre in downtown Champaign at 7:30 p.m. today. Best-known for his complex, fingerstyle technique, the versatile guitar man's show features a full set of his solo acoustic songs and a full set of Christmas favorites with Pat Bergeson, John Knowles and Annie Sellick. Tickets are still available for $39.50 to $49.50.

And if you can hold on a little longer, one of my favorite Christmas-concert performers is returning to town next week.

I'm not exactly what you would call a country music fan, but I am a fan of Martina McBride. She's easily one of the most accessible artists and spectacularly talented vocalists I've ever seen, and she puts on a family-friendly Christmas concert like it should be done. Her "Joy of Christmas" tour will be back in town Thursday, Dec. 14, starting at 8 p.m. at the Virginia Theatre. Tickets range from $49.50 to $125, so you might just put those on your before-Christmas gift list — and make sure you leave it where your loved ones can't miss it!

Have a question, suggestion or fave nomination for Frank? We'd love to hear from you. Please email it to fpieper@news-gazette.com.

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