The Arts Buzz: A blog about "A Creole Christmas" at the Schwartz Center, Tahira's Kwaanza celebration, "A Christmas Carol" and jazz by Aniya




Hot, Hot, Hot for the Holidays

If you’d like a little Cajun spice with your holidays, be sure to see the Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s “Creole Christmas” concert at the Schwartz Center for the Arts in Dover on Dec. 17. The venerable band, 50 years young 2011, will help the Schwartz celebrate its 10th anniversary by playing such favorites such as “Blue Christmas,” “Swinging in A Winter Wonderland,” “Bells Will Be Ringing” and “The Dreidel Song.” Before the show, hear an informal lecture about the history of jazz, blues and New Orleans music, followed by a short documentary on the story of Preservation Hall. The show is sure to start the season on the right note. 678-3583, schwartzcenter.com

A Kwaanza Story

Like Christmas, Kwaanza is meant to be lived all year long—a point storyteller Tahira plans to make clear when she makes a special presentation at the Wilmington Public Library on Dec. 14 and the North Wilmington branch on Dec. 20. Blending story, song, other music and poetry, Tahira will explain the seven principles and symbols of Kwaanza in a way all children—and their parents—will understand. “Know your history,” she says, “and know that mutual respect improves all communities.” Registration is required. Call downtown at 571-4100 and North Wilmington at 761-4290.

A Global Celebration

This one is for the kids. Hagley celebrates World Holiday Traditions Dec. 17-18 with craft making—dreidel cards, mkeka mats, popcorn corn cobs and coloring sheets—a story time, and performances by the Ursuline Academy choir and Diamond State Chorus (Saturday) and the St. Mark's High School and Concord Christian Academy choirs Sunday. Here’s a special gift: admission is free for children 14 and younger on weekends in December. 658-2400, hagley.org

The Christmas Shows Continue

The New Candlelight Theatre presents a modern, Broadway-oriented retelling of “A Christmas Carol” through Dec. 23. You’ll hear tunes such as “It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year,” “Baby It's Cold Outside” and “We Need A Little Christmas.” (475-2313, nctstage.org) Delaware Children’s Theatre presents “Scrooge: The Musical” at its historic playhouse through Dec. 18. It’s the same story as the classic Charles Dickens tale, but with music. Don’t miss it. Call 655-1014, or visit dechildrenstheatre.org. Delaware Theatre Company continues its premiere of “A Cappella Humana” by Kevin Ramsey. It tells the nativity story in part through powerful renditions of “Go Tell It On the Mountain” and “Mary Did You Know,” as well as original compositions. “A Cappella Human” runs through Dec. 18. 594-1100, delawaretheatre.org

A Classic Musical

In celebration of its 18th birthday, City Theater Company has revived Stephen Sondheim's “A Little Night Music,” which breezes through a weekend in the country with a perfectly Sondheim-ean score and unforgettable characters. CTC promises that “A Little Night Music” will “keep up our tradition of reinvigorating classic shows like ‘Cabaret’ and ‘Sweeney Todd’ with CTC's trademark bravado and intimacy.” See it through Dec. 17. 220-8285, city-theater.org

Jazzed

Jazz lovers, here’s one for you. Local group Aniya performs its unique style of music at The Crystal Center in Wilmington on Dec. 18. You’ll hear a little Gospel, a little reggae, a little Latin jazz, a little Afro-beat, a little R&B and everything between. The four-year-old group is preparing to release its fourth CD, so here’s an opportunity to hear what you’re in for. 428-1964, thecrystalcenter.com

Don’t Forget

Yuletide at Winterthur—that tribute to old-fashioned Christmases from Colonial times through World War II—offers an opportunity to tour the former home of famed collector Henry Francis du Pont, and see a world-class display of decorative arts. The highlight this year is a recreation of a traditional Twelfth Night ball in the Powell and Walnut rooms, which are included on the tour for the first time this year. The name refers to the 12-day break American colonists took from farm chores. The 12 days eventually yielded to a holiday oriented toward children and charity, one that included a Christmas tree. Yuletide at Winterthur will display a lavishly decorated Victorian-era tree, along with dozens of toys and a colorful “spider’s web” of ribbons that children followed to collect their gifts. There’s more, of course—room after room decorated in the fashion of its time—and it’s a sight to see. Visit through Jan. 8. 800-448-3883, winterthur.org

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