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Your weekend arts forecast: It’s all about the holidays

Bill DeYoung



Singer Vanessa Thomas joins the Florida Orchestra for its Holiday Pops concerts this weekend. Photo: Perry Bennett.

Daniel Black, who became the Florida Orchestra’s officially-titled Assistant Conductor a year ago August, has baton duties for this weekend’s TFO Holiday Pops concerts.

This is always a big weekend for TFO – there are five performances, all with Black conducting and guest vocalist Vanessa Thomas: Friday at the Straz Center, two shows Saturday (matinee and evening) at the Mahaffey Theater, and matinee and evening shows Sunday at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Tickets for all (except the Straz, which is sold out) are available here.

Vanessa Thomas is a versatile singer from the Kansas City, Missouri area. She sings pop, jazz and even opera – she operates her own voice studio – and is most famously the regular singer for the Doc Severinsen group (the 92-year-old trumpeting legend is a longtime Missouri resident).

Next weekend, TFO really ups its Christmastime wattage with performances of Handel’s Messiah with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay.

And so much more

The amazing acoustic jazz guitarist Nate Najar is at the Palladium tonight (Thursday, Dec. 11) with his annual holiday show. The Nate Najar Trio includes bass legend John Lamb and drummer Jean Bolduc. Guest performers for tonight’s concert are James Suggs, trumpet, multi-instrumentalist Adrian Cunningham and vibraphonist Chuck Redd. Tickets here.

St. Petersburg Opera Company’s cabaret-style Holiday Sparkle is in full swing this weekend (and next) at the group’s Opera Central headquarters. Wednesday in the Catalyst, artistic director Mark Sforzini discussed this unique concert production. Read it here.

“A Tuna Christmas.” Photo: Straz Center.

At the Jaeb Theatre in Tampa’s Straz Center, director David M. Jenkins (the co-founder and artistic director of Jobsite Theatre) is helming the evergreen two-person comedy A Tuna Christmas now through Dec. 11. Jenkins talks about this, about his career and his theatrical thoughts and beliefs, and a bunch more stuff, Friday in the Catalyst.

Irish storyteller Tomáseen Foley is 24 seasons into his touring show A Celtic Christmas, in which musicians, dancers and tale-spinners re-create the night before Christmas in a remote farmhouse in Foley’s native parish of Teampall an Ghleanntáin in the west of Ireland – in the 1950s. The show is onstage at 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday at the Central Park Performing Arts Center in Largo. Tickets and info here.

It’s an oldies bash masquerading as a holiday concert: Bowzer’s Holiday Rock ‘n’ Roll Show, Saturday (Dec. 14) at Ruth Eckerd Hall, features Mark Lindsay (from Paul Revere & the Raiders), Peter Noone (Herman’s Hermits), Henry Gross (of “Shannon” fame and more), Gary Puckett and the Union Gap and others. Bowzer and Gross were members of the doo wop/comedy group Sha Na Na, back in the day.  Tickets here.

Saturday at the Capitol Theatre, British guitarist Peter White is back with his Christmas show, an annual favorite up Clearwater way. White’s fellow travelers include sax player Euge Groove, singer Lindsey Webster and multi-instrumentalist Vincent Ingala. Tickets here.

And the ArtWalk

It’s Second Saturday ArtWalk weekend again, and as it’s the last one before you-know-when, here’s your semi-regular reminder that locally-created art makes a great gift.

Of course, the ArtWalk (5-9 p.m.) is primarily an opportunity for us to travel amongst and visit local studios and galleries (there are 40 on the official tour), to see who’s making what, watch artists at work and otherwise get acquainted.

The looper trolley is free; download the map and guide here.

Our friends at Soft Water Studios, in the Warehouse Arts District, have a new show opening with a reception Saturday. “A Feast For the Eyes” is “inspired by the abundant and indulgent nature of the harvest and the holiday season, these works explore appetite and consumption through a variety of mediums including oils, brass, glass, ceramics, and wood.”

The artists include your hosts Carrie Jadus and Mark Aeling, plus Sloane Adams, Rob & Zoe Bocik, Wendy Durand Pottery LLC, Angela Faustina, Bailey Gumienny, Macy Higgins, Lauren Hope, Beth Burley Kokol, Nikita Rosalind, Soluna Art Glass and Robert Sutherland.

  • We can’t stress this enough: If we don’t know about your event, we can’t write anything about it. So please remember to add bill@stpetecatalyst.com to your mailing list today!



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