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Sights and sounds of the holidays take center stage in Anne Arundel

In Anne Arundel County, we celebrate Christmas on stages at Maryland Hall or Anne Arundel Community College's Kauffman Theater or St. John's College's Key Auditorium or the Chesapeake Arts Center and at several area churches.

Here is a rundown of seasonal fare, which comes with a suggestion to order tickets promptly to avoid disappointment — many will sell out.

• On Saturday, Dec. 7, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m., a 67-year Christmas tradition continues with selections from Handel's "Messiah," sung by the Naval Academy Glee Club joined by Metropolitan Opera soloists and members of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, at the Naval Academy Chapel. Tickets range from $20 to $35. For details, call 410-293-8497 or go to tickets.com.

Also at the academy chapel, the Naval Academy Band offers a free holiday concert of seasonal favorites with sing-along on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. No tickets are required. Call 410-293-0263 or go to usna.edu/music for information.

• Several holiday shows are planned at the Chesapeake Arts Center, 194 Hammonds Lane. In the center's Studio Theater is Pasadena Theatre Company's "A Christmas Carol," running Dec. 6-15, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Tickets are $19, with some discounts available. Call 410-636-6597 or go to chesapeakerarts.org.

In Chesapeake's Main Theater, "Hack & Slash Christmas Massacre," a favorite comedy, will be performed at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13 and 14, and at 3 p.m. Dec. 15. For ticket information, go to hackandslash.com.

And on Saturday, Dec. 21, at 5 p.m., Chesapeake will host its "Holiday Show," with the Harbor City Music Company Chorus offering holiday favorites. This event also offers free photos with Santa for children. For information, go to chesapeakearts.org.

• Music of the season arrives in Eastport on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m., when the choristers of Arundel Vocal Arts Society continue their 30th season with "Christmas Around the World." The program offers international carols, including a sing-along conducted by JoAnn Kulesza, and will be held at Eastport United Methodist Church, 926 Bay Ridge Ave. Tickets are available at the door, $20 for adults; free for children. For information, go to arundelvocalarts.org.

• Also on Sunday Dec. 8 at 3 p.m., Calvary United Methodist Church, 301 Rowe Blvd., will host a holiday treat of arias in "Celebrate Opera" with Annapolis Opera artistic director Ron Gretz conducting such soloists as tenor William Davenport, soprano Anna Nogle and mezzo Patrizia Conte. Tickets are $45 for adults, $20 students. Go to annapolisopera.org.

• On Friday, Dec. 13, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 14, at 3 p.m., Opera AACC presents "Amahl and the Night Visitors" at the community college's Kauffman Theater, 101 College Parkway, Arnold. Admission $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, students, children, active military and groups.

In the spirit of holiday giving, the Kauffman Fund holiday music benefit, "Merry Christmas with Love," will be held at the Kauffman Theater at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19. The show features talent from the September 2012 benefit concert, current AACC Dance Company members and alumni, and Children's Theatre performers and alumni. The performance benefits the annual Kauffman Fund supporting AACC's Theatre Arts Department. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door or by calling Joy Ajello at 410-777-2457.

• Also on Friday, Dec. 13, at 8 p.m. at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, 801 Chase St., Annapolis, J. Ernest Green conducts the Annapolis Chorale, Youth Chorus and Chamber Orchestra in "A Celebration of Christmas" concert of holiday favorites, with guests including Grammy nominee Jenny Oaks Baker and Celtic Woman singer Alex Sharpe. Tickets are $48 with special rates for students. Go to liveartsmaryland.org or call 410-280-5640 to order.

A favorite holiday tradition, improving each year under director Dianna Cuatto, is Ballet Theatre of Maryland's "Nutcracker," with performances at Maryland Hall, Saturdays, Dec. 14 and 21, at 7 p.m., and Sundays, Dec. 15 and 22, at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Patrons of Sunday matinee performances will be treated to a free Sugar Plum Party, with a visit from Santa. For tickets, call 410-280-5640 or go to balletmaryland.org.

At 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20, at Maryland Hall, the vocal quintet Five By Design joins Jose-Luis Novo and the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra for a festive "Holiday Pops, Christmas in Annapolis." Tickets are $40 and $45, with student tickets $10. Purchase at annapolissymphony.org or call 410-263-0907.

• Returning to Key Auditorium at St. John's College, 60 College Ave., for nine high-energy performances, the Talent Machine Company will present "Holiday Magic 2013" featuring a cast of 57 children ages 5 to 18, singing and dancing favorite songs. Weekend matinee and evening shows run Dec. 13-22. For a full listing of dates and times, and to order tickets, go to talentmachine.com or call 410-956-0512.

• "Carols by Candlelight" will be performed at St. Anne's Church, 199 Duke of Gloucester St., at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, with J. Ernest Green conducting the Annapolis Chorale Chamber Chorus and Chamber Orchestra, with guest soloists Oaks Baker and Sharpe in a holiday concert. Tickets are $37 for adults, $12 for students. Order at liveartsmaryland.org.

At 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 20-21, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, J. Ernest Green will conduct the Annapolis Chorale in "Messiah" performances joined at St. Anne's Church. Soloists include bass Christian Zaremba, soprano Ashley Thouret, mezzo Catrin Davies and tenor Frederic Rey. Check the options available during Messiah weekend and order your choice at liveartsmaryland.org.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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