Music is part of any seasonal holiday celebration, from classic hymns and carols to new interpretations of the holiday mood, and the sound of music will fill Downtown in the coming month. Carolers serenade holiday shoppers throughout the skywalks, while outside, strains of a carillon waft down to the sidewalk strollers. In addition, a number of special concerts promise to infuse everyone but Scrooge with the holiday spirit.
Keyboardist John Tesh may have come to prominence on television, as host of Entertainment Tonight, but he was a musician long before he landed on the small screen. Since his first album in 1988, he has become a superstar of New Age instrumental music, with a full array of recordings, videos and supporting merchandise. His music has taken a recent more overtly Christian turn, leading to this year's releases, A Deeper Faith and Christmas Worship. Tesh has not abandoned his catalogue of love songs, but this current tour is focusing more on tunes inspired by faith, worship and the season. He'll be at the Opera House on Friday, Dec. 6 at 7 pm. (Tickets: $20-$35. Call: 325-SEAT)
Pop legend Neil Diamond comes to town on Sunday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 pm as part of a fall tour that has taken him all across the country. After 40 years in the business, Diamond is one heckuva performer, according to reviewers who've caught his shows this year. Although he hasn't had a hit single in a couple of decades, Diamond's albums are consistently strong sellers, and he is one of the top-grossing concert draws around. His 2001 album, Three Chord Opera, was his first recording of original tunes in several years, but it's a sure bet that his show will be filled with many of his memorable hits of the past like "Sweet Caroline," "Cracklin' Rosie" and, of course, "America." (Tickets: $37.50-$57.50. Call: 325-SEAT)
Spokane's own Singing Nuns of Mount St. Michael bring their annual Christmas Evermore concert to the Met for four shows on December 17-18, with a 2 pm matinee and a 7:30 pm concert each day. The sisters, in their bright blue habits, are a local holiday institution with their lilting treble harmonies and classic Christmas repertoire.
"Our Christmas concert is by far the most emotional performance we offer to our audiences," says Sister Mary Bernadette, directress of the Singing Nuns.
Local artist Edward Myers, and Grammy-award winner Sherman Andrus, former lead singer of the Imperials, with Lonny Bingle as the Andrus & amp; Bingle Duo, also appear. (Tickets: $12-$15. Call: 325-SEAT)
Yet another local tradition, the Holiday Pops concert by the Spokane Symphony, is always filled with seasonal favorites and special guests. Joining the orchestra this year are the Von Trapp Children, the great-grandchildren of Colonel Von Trapp of The Sound of Music fame. The children - Sofia, 13; Melanie, 11; Amanda, 10; and Justin, 7 - perform songs from classical and folk traditions, as well as favorites from The Sound of Music. Native American performer Karen Therese makes a special appearance, along with the Spokane Area Children's Chorus and the Spokane Symphony Chorale. Shows are Saturday, Dec. 14, at 8 pm, and a 2 pm matinee with special family-friendly pricing on Sunday, Dec. 15. (Tickets: $10-$37. Call: 624-1200)