The start of the new year is a time for looking ahead and for making resolutions. It's also a time to begin thinking about the wide array of performing arts available in Anne Arundel County in the wintry month of January.
The old year can end on a high note with the Annapolis Chorale's performance this evening of Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors at 7:30 p.m. at St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Annapolis.
Written for a 1951 television production, the short opera tells the story of a crippled boy and his mother housing the Three Wise Men on their way to Bethlehem.
Under the direction of J. Ernest Green, members of the Annapolis Chorale and St. Anne's Choir will join soloists John Artz, Christopher Rhodovi and Jimi James as the Three Kings, with Laurie Hays as Amahl's mother and Max Kalifut as Amahl.
There will be hot chocolate and cookies after the performance. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door.
Tomorrow, First Night Annapolis - the family-oriented New Year's Eve celebration - begins at 3 p.m. and goes through midnight. The cost is $15 in advance for those age 13 and older ($20 on the day of the event), $10 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for children age 5 and younger.
First Night Annapolis celebrates the arts with more than 200 performances staged throughout the downtown historic district. Among the events are a presentation of the original musical Amelia's Journey, about aviator Amelia Earhart and her husband/promoter George Putnam. It premiered last summer at Chesapeake Arts Center, where every performance was sold out.
Next month, the Colonial Players continues its 55th season with the Jan. 14 opening of Douglas Carter Beane's As Bees in Honey Drown, to be directed by Carol Youmans and featuring actors Cliff Gilmore, Jud Wegner, Mary Rogers, Richard McGraw, Vicki Wuest and Marky Regensberg.
Running Thursday through Sundays through Feb. 12 at Colonial's East Street theater, this 1997 urban comedy traces the role celebrity plays in the lives of those captivated by it. Information: 410-268-7373.
Procrastinators may choose to celebrate the New Year stylishly late on Jan. 15 at the Annapolis Chorale's fund-raiser, "The Importance of Being J. Ernest" at Loews Annapolis Hotel. A cocktail reception for J. Ernest Green at 6:30 p.m. will be followed by a gourmet dinner at 7:30 p.m., including a champagne toast honoring Green's many accomplishments on his 20th anniversary with the chorale.
Tony Spencer will serve as master of ceremonies, and guest artists will include long-time chorale favorites Andre Bierman, Mack Bailey, Sarah Blaskowsky, Ryan DeRyke, Stephen Markuson, Susan Fleming, Scott Root, Stef Scaggiari and Sue Matthews in addition to Tom Magette, Laurie Hayes, Carolene Winter and Christopher Rhodovi.
Tickets for the fund-raiser are $100 or $190 per couple. Information: 410-263-1906.
At 3 p.m. Jan. 16, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts will offer A Marvelous Children's Concert. The show features three of the country's best-known singer/songwriters of children's music - Tom Paxton, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer - performing silly songs and leading a sing-along. Tickets, at $10 and $12, can be purchased online at www.mdhallarts.org.
Also on Jan. 16, a Chamber Music Annapolis Concert featuring Irish fiddler Liz Carroll and guitarist John Doyle will be presented at 7 p.m. at McDowell Hall (The Great Hall), at St. John's College. Tickets are $18 to $20. Information: 410-849-2494.
The month closes out Jan. 28 and 29 with performances by the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. Guest conductor Robert Moody will lead the ASO, with Zuill Bailey on cello, as it performs works by Tchaikovsky, Marquez and Rachmaninoff at Maryland Hall at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 to $35. Information: 410-263-0907.