Celebrate the season in a way you couldn't last year with these Vermont holiday arts events

·6 min read

The 2020 holiday season was about as lonely as could be, with the COVID-19 pandemic wiping out pretty much any public-gathering event and dimming the lights just a bit on Christmas.

In the past year, though, COVID vaccines and safety plans enacted by arts-and-entertainment venues mean holiday events can happen once again. Many activities require proof of vaccination and/or wearing masks, so check the rules before you go. Some events are also offering livestreams for those unable or unwilling to rejoin the throngs right now.

But if you are able and ready to go out, consider these holiday events to brighten up your days:

The Unmentionables improv-comedy troupe presents "A Very Unmentionables Christmas!" at the Vermont Comedy Club.
The Unmentionables improv-comedy troupe presents "A Very Unmentionables Christmas!" at the Vermont Comedy Club.

5-8 p.m. select dates through Jan. 1, the Shelburne Museum’s “Winter Lights” event, which began Thanksgiving weekend, lets visitors see a dozen buildings and gardens festooned in multicolored light arrangements (mostly Thursdays-Saturdays). $10-$15; free for children 2 and under. www.shelburnemuseum.org

Shelburne Museum: Love holiday lights? This Vermont museum is hosting a winter lights extravaganza.

7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, “Hanukkah Funk,” presented by JamJews, features Hanukkah blessings from founder and executive director Tzipporah Horowitz and music from the band Swimmer, The Double E, Essex. $10-$72. www.doubleevermont.com

The Middlebury Acting Company offers its take on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."
The Middlebury Acting Company offers its take on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."

7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3-Saturday, Dec. 4 and Thursday, Dec. 9-Saturday, Dec. 11; 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5 and 12, the Middlebury Acting Company offers its take on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” Town Hall Theater, Middlebury. “Pay as you can” admission. www.townhalltheater.org

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, singer and Vermont resident Maxine Linehan presents her new holiday concert, “This Time of Year,” Southern Vermont Arts Center, Manchester. $25-$100. www.svac.org

"This Time of Year," an album by Maxine Linehan of Manchester Center.
"This Time of Year," an album by Maxine Linehan of Manchester Center.

2 and 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4-Sunday, Dec. 5, the University of Vermont Department of Theatre and Dance presents a live radio-play version of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” Royall Tyler Theatre, UVM, Burlington. $22. https://www.uvm.edu/cas/theatreanddance/current_production_season

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, the Vermont Choral Union performs holiday favorites as well as the premiere of “Missa Pandemica: Mass in Time of a Pandemic” by Winooski composer Maarten van Ryckevorsel, First Congregational Church, St. Albans. The program will be repeated at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, Cathedral of St. Joseph, Burlington. $15-$40. www.vtchoralunion.org

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, the Vermont-based Bella Voce Women’s Chorus performs its arrangements of Christmas carols in the program “Rejoice and Sing!” at the McCarthy Arts Center, St. Michael’s College, Colchester. $17-$20. www.bellavocevt.org

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7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8, the retro-swing band Squirrel Nut Zippers brings its “Holiday Caravan” tour featuring holiday songs and the band’s own songs, with opener Atom & the Orbits, to the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, Stowe. $25-$55. www.sprucepeakarts.org

7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9, the Broadway-styled performance “Songs I’ve Lived: Home for the Holidays” hosted by Vermont native Merritt David Janes includes dinner-and-a-show options with nearby restaurants Salt & Bubbles and the Black Flannel Brewing & Distilling Co., The Double E, Essex. $20-$320. www.doubleevermont.com

Owen Ashworth of the musical act Advance Base
Owen Ashworth of the musical act Advance Base

8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9, Advance Base – the Chicago act led by Owen Ashworth, formerly of Casiotone for the Painfully Alone – performs a set of original Christmas songs in a concert also featuring Ruth Garbus and Katy Davidson, Epsilon Spires, Brattleboro. $15. www.epsilonspires.org

7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, Ripton mandolin player Matt Flinner joins the American roots band Low Lily to celebrate the Winter Solstice in a concert at the Chandler Center for the Arts, Randolph. $10-$50. www.chandler-arts.org

American roots band Low Lily
American roots band Low Lily

7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, the vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth performs a holiday program as part of the University of Vermont Lane Series, UVM Recital Hall, Burlington. $5-$38.50. www.uvm.edu/laneseries

7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra performs its annual holiday-pops concerts, starting at the Barre Opera House. $9.43-$28.30. Ensuing concerts are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, the Flynn, Burlington ($8.35-$54.23) and the Paramount Theatre, Rutland ($10-$34). www.vyo.org

7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10-Saturday, Dec. 11 and Thursday, Dec. 16-Saturday, Dec. 18; 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, the Shelburne Players perform a live radio play of “It’s A Wonderful Life,” Shelburne Town Hall. $15-$18. www.shelburneplayers.com

7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, local improv-comedy troupe The Unmentionables presents “A Very Unmentionables Christmas!” at the Vermont Comedy Club, Burlington. $15. www.vermontcomedyclub.com

Canadian/Celtic group Coig
Canadian/Celtic group Coig

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, Canadian/Celtic group Coig brings its holiday show to the Barre Opera House. $15-$35. www.barreoperahouse.org

4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, the Vermont Youth Orchestra holds its traditional holiday performance, “OrchestraPalooza,” which includes “The Night Before Christmas” with guest narrator Ray Vega, the Flynn, Burlington. $15-$20. www.vyo.org

The Vermont Youth Orchestra performs its annual "OrchestraPalooza" concert at the Flynn.
The Vermont Youth Orchestra performs its annual "OrchestraPalooza" concert at the Flynn.

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14, the holiday group Mannheim Steamroller performs its annual holiday show, the Flynn, Burlington. $56.75-$77.75. www.flynnvt.org

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15-Saturday, Dec. 18; 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18-Sunday, Dec. 19, the holiday favorite “Winter Tales” returns to Vermont Stage, Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center, Burlington. $34.50-$38. www.vermontstage.org

8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15, singer Morgan Myles presents a Mariah Carey Christmas tribute, Higher Ground Showcase Lounge, South Burlington. $15-$18. www.highergroundmusic.com

7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 16, Vermont singer Myra Flynn and her band perform a holiday concert featuring the Plattsburgh State Gospel Singers, Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, Stowe. $15-$35. www.sprucepeakarts.org

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4:45 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17, the ninth “Home for the Holidays” benefit concert features music from Troy Millette & the Fire Below, The Owl Stars, The Blue Rock Boys, Chris & Erica and Conant and benefits Northwestern Counseling and Support Services, 14th Star Brewing, St. Albans. Admission by donation. https://www.facebook.com/14thstarbrewing/events/

7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17, storyteller Willem Lange delivers a reading of “A Christmas Carol,” Lost Nation Theater, Montpelier City Hall Arts Center. $10-$20. www.lostnationtheater.org

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, the Onion River Chorus gives two Christmas concerts, Bethany Church, Montpelier. $15. www.onionriverchorus.org

2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, the Vermont Ballet Theater School presents “Vermont’s Own ‘Nutcracker,’” the Flynn, Burlington. $19.43-$44. www.flynnvt.org

2 and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19, the Hinesburg Artist Series returns for two performances featuring the South County Chorus and instrumentalists, St. Jude Catholic Church, Hinesburg. Free; tickets required in advance. www.hinesburgartistseries.org

Related: Consider these Vermont-related books, just in time for holiday-shopping season

Contact Brent Hallenbeck at bhallenbeck@freepressmedia.com. Follow Brent on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BrentHallenbeck.

This article originally appeared on Burlington Free Press: Holiday arts events in Vermont are back after last year's hiatus

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