Celtic, country and classical: The Christmas concerts that could become your newest yuletide tradition

click to enlarge Cirque Dreams comes to the FIC on Nov. 29.
Cirque Dreams comes to the FIC on Nov. 29.

NOV. 29: CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE

Who says you have to schlep off to Vegas to take in Cirque Dreams? The Florida-based troupe's biggest profile is in Sin City, but they tour all over the country with their annual Holidaze show, which ushers in the Christmas season with real razzle dazzle. It's a variety show filled with musical numbers and dance-heavy set pieces that evoke holiday iconography, with elaborate costumes and gravity-defying acrobatics. First Interstate Center for the Arts, 7:30 pm, $38-$68, inbpac.com

NOV. 30: THE TENORS: WONDER OF CHRISTMAS

The holidays are all about harmony, and the Tenors take that notion to its most literal extreme. The Canadian trio of Victor Micallef, Fraser Walters and Clifton Murray have voices that blend together about as well as a dollop of honey melting at the bottom of a hot cup of lemon tea, and their setlists include songs both secular and spiritual — expect standards, carols, showtunes and even a few pop hits. It's a night of old-fashioned entertainment that even your grandmother could enjoy. Bing Crosby Theater, 7:30 pm, $38-$53, bingcrosbytheater.com

DEC. 7: SPOKANE JAZZ ORCHESTRA: NUTCRACKER SUITE

Since 1975, the Spokane Jazz Orchestra has been bringing the swing to the Inland Northwest, and their Christmas concerts always draw a crowd. The centerpiece of their upcoming December program is Glenn Miller's Nutcracker Suite, the 1940s jazz composer's reinterpretation of the Tchaikovsky opera. The orchestra is joined by local singer-songwriter Cami Bradley, performing her own jazzy arrangements of Christmas standards. Bing Crosby Theater, 7:30 pm, $19-$32, bingcrosbytheater.com

DEC. 7: MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER CHRISTMAS

It's hard to find a band that everyone in the family can agree on, but Mannheim Steamroller is a good candidate. The project of musician Chip Davis started in the 1970s producing instrumental rock of the New Age persuasion, but it quickly became synonymous with Christmastime, having released dozens of holiday albums, compilations and box sets. The Steamroller makes its regular December pilgrimage to our neck of the woods, and this time it's celebrating the 35th anniversary of its famous Christmas showcase. First Interstate Center for the Arts, 7:30 pm, $51-$115, inbpac.com

DEC. 10: MARK O'CONNOR: AN APPALACHIAN CHRISTMAS

Fiddler extraordinaire Mark O'Connor came through the Inland Northwest same time last year, and he obviously had a good time because he's back again with his Appalachian Christmas concert. Known for a style that blends jazz, bluegrass, country and classical, O'Connor treats this yuletide show as both a celebration of Applachian music — by way of Christmas standards, of course — and as a nod to the importance of family traditions. Keeping true to that notion, he'll be performing with members of his own family, who have aptly christened themselves the Mark O'Connor Band. Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox, 7:30 pm, $30-$65, foxtheaterspokane.org

click to enlarge Bring a Celtic lilt to your holiday celebration.
Bring a Celtic lilt to your holiday celebration.

DEC. 15: AFFINITI CELTIC CHRISTMAS

The angelic voices of Affiniti will transport you right to the rolling hills of Ireland. Emer Barry, Aisling Ennis and Mary McCague are all classically trained, and they also bring harp and violin into the mix, bringing a Celtic lilt to songs from all over the world. They've become regular Spokane presences around Christmastime, and this truly international act comes with a regional twist: They'll be joined at Bing Crosby's namesake theater by the crooner's nephew, vocalist Howard Crosby, and you can probably guess which song they'll be singing. Bing Crosby Theater, 7 pm, $22, bingcrosbytheater.com

DEC. 21: BLUE CHRISTMAS WITH SAMMY EUBANKS

When Elvis sang about having a "Blue Christmas," he might have been referring to a show like this. Spokane blues guitarist Sammy Eubanks has been a local institution for years, and anyone who has paid every cursory attention to our music scene has seen him shred at least once. He tours around the country pretty regularly, but we always relish a hometown concert, and his now-annual Christmas concert is one you won't want to miss. Expect Eubanks and his ace group of backing musicians to put their own spin on some classics, alongside fellow locals Tuck Foster and the Tumbling Dice. Knitting Factory, 8 pm, $5, sp.knittingfactory.com

DEC. 21 & 22: HOLIDAY POPS WITH VANESSA WILLIAMS

The final Symphony Pops concert of the year is quite a doozy. Actress and singer Vanessa Williams has been one of the biggest stars of adult contemporary radio for decades, and she'll be performing a roster of yuletide standards with the Spokane Symphony the weekend before Christmas. But don't be surprised if Williams dips into her roster of pop hits, from "Dreamin'" to "Save the Best for Last" to the Oscar-winning "Colors of the Wind" from Disney's Pocahontas. And rumor has it — Santa Claus might stop by. Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox, Sat at 8 pm and Sun at 2 pm, $33-$104, foxtheaterspokane.org

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About The Author

Nathan Weinbender

Nathan Weinbender is the Inlander's Music & Film editor. He is also a film critic for Spokane Public Radio, where he has co-hosted the weekly film review show Movies 101 since 2011.