Must-See Xmas 

The Cleveland Orchestra rings in the holidays.

The Cleveland Orchestra’s Holiday Festival holds a revered place in our town’s hearts. The season just isn’t complete without it, according to Robert Porco, director of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and conductor of the shows. “It really is a cross between entertainment for the family and a spiritual experience,” he says. “It’s not a standard concert at all. It occupies this niche all by itself.”

This year’s program includes perennial favorites like “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Deck the Halls,” and selections from The Nutcracker. Four local choirs -- the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, the Youth Chorus, the Children’s Chorus, and the Cleveland State University Chorale -- join in. “There’s nothing more communicative than seeing 120 people singing directly to you,” says Porco. “It’s an inspirational thing.” He spends the months leading up to the holidays putting together a repertoire that balances new pieces and the standards audiences expect to hear. “It’s a juggling act.”
Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 3 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 3 & 7 p.m. Starts: Dec. 15. Continues through Dec. 24

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