Christmas concerts from country to Celtic, and then some

Hear Christmas, Celtic style, with Affiniti on Dec. 9
Hear Christmas, Celtic style, with Affiniti on Dec. 9

Nov. 29


For pretty much anyone who was a kid in 1965 or the years since, the music of A Charlie Brown Christmas is ingrained in our memory, pleasantly so. The album by composer and conductor Vince Guaraldi is part of the Christmas canon now, having sold more than 4 million copies, been inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame and included in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry due to its cultural and historical significance. A Charlie Brown Christmas is the basis for Gonzaga's annual jazz Christmas concert this year, and there's no way you can listen to the ensemble and various jazz combos play those songs without getting in the holiday concert spirit. Hemmingson Center Ballroom, $5, 7 pm, (DAN NAILEN)

Dec. 5


The Oak Ridge Boys are a natural pairing for Christmas cheer. The long-running country, pop and gospel quartet have no less than six Christmas albums in their catalog, so they have plenty to draw on for their annual Christmas tours. They also have enough secular hits to launch their shows with a "hits" segment full of non-Xmas tunes like "Elvira," "Bobbie Sue" and "Thank God for Kids" before getting fully into the spirit of the season. Fans who hit the Boys' Christmas shows every year have come to love the "rocking chair" segment, when each singer sits by an onstage fire and tells favorite stories of Christmas past. First Interstate Center for the Arts, $47-$57, 7:30 pm, (DN)

Dec. 6 & 9


It's hard to put into words, but there's just something warm about stringed instruments. Consider this year's Northwest Bachfest winter concerts your musical down comforter, then. You've got two chances to catch this quartet — first in Coeur d'Alene on Dec. 6, and again in Spokane on Dec. 9 — which will feature cellist and Bachfest artistic director Zuill Bailey alongside violinist Benjamin Breen, pianist Awadagin Pratt and viola player Martin Sher. Both programs will feature Robert Schumann's famed piano quartet, followed by Johannes Brahms' third piano quartet. Dec. 6, Hagadone Event Center, $15/students, $40/general, 7 pm; Dec. 9, Barrister Winery, $15/students, $35/general, 3 pm. (NATHAN WEINBENDER)

Dec. 9


Bridging the gap between past and present, Celtic trio Affinití — vocalist Emer Barry, violinist Mary McCague and harpist Aisling Ennis — blend the sound of traditional Irish folk tunes with more contemporary styles. Head to YouTube to hear their unusual takes on Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and Evanescence's "My Immortal" and you'll see what we mean. Their Christmas concert features seasonal classics both American and Irish, and they'll be accompanied by pianist Randy Kaping and vocalist Howard Crosby, Bing Crosby's nephew. The odds are good you'll walk out humming "White Christmas." Bing Crosby Theater, $13-$22, 7 pm, (NW)

Dec. 15

Zuill is back for Bach on Dec. 6 and 9. - YOUNG KWAK
Young Kwak
Zuill is back for Bach on Dec. 6 and 9.


Mark O'Connor is an instrumental beast, winning various national competitions on fiddle, guitar and mandolin early in his career, and performing with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma and Chris Thile later on, winning Grammys in categories ranging from bluegrass to country to classical. His An Appalachian Christmas album blends stunning instrumental work with stirring vocal harmonies, and it went Top 20 on three different charts when it was released in 2011. O'Connor will revisit that album, and surely add a few new Christmas tunes to the show, with an assist by Washington-born country ace Brandy Clark. Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox, $28-$78, 7 pm, (DN)

Dec. 22-23


The Symphony's Holiday Pops concerts have become annual traditions for a lot of Spokane families, and that sense of warmth and familiarity fills the theater every year. Led by conductor Morihiko Nakahara, the orchestra runs through what amounts to a greatest hits collection of Yuletide songs. This time around they'll be joined by soprano Lisa Vroman, who has appeared on Broadway in The Phantom of the Opera, as well as the Spokane Symphony Chorale and vocalists from the Spokane Youth Orchestra. We've also got it on pretty good authority that Santa Claus himself could make an appearance. Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox, $27-$60, Sat at 8 pm, Sun at 2 pm, (NW) ♦

Departure Festival @ Happy Meadows Venue

Fri., Aug. 6 and Sun., Aug. 8
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About The Authors

Dan Nailen

Dan Nailen is the managing editor of the Inlander, where he oversees coverage of arts and culture. He's previously written and edited for The Salt Lake Tribune, Salt Lake City Weekly, Missoula Independent, Salt Lake Magazine, The Oregonian and KUER-FM. He grew up seeing the country in an Air Force family and studied...

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.