The Oratorio Society of Queens

Between the carols, the Santa Claus events, the window displays, and grandma ─ who got run over by a reindeer again — holiday celebrations are everywhere in Queens these days.

Some are well-known and long-running, while others are under-reporter or brand new. Here’s a guide to local fun that demonstrates the real reason for the season.

First, the annual ones with big names.

The National Ballet Theatre of Odessa will present “The Nutcracker” at Queens College’s Colden Auditorium on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. Tickets run from $23 to $42 for this classic which follows a little girl’s journey through a fantasy world of sugar plum fairies, toy soldiers, and an evil mouse.

Then there’s the Oratorio Society of Queens Holiday Concert at Queensborough Performing Arts Center in Bayside on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 4 p.m. Maestro David Close conducts the 125-member chorus and orchestra during this annual tradition, whose first half features selections from Handel’s “Messiah.” The second half mixes Christmas and Hanukkah songs. (General admission is $35.)

Then there’s some potential confusion. Another large ensemble with a similar name, Queensboro Symphony Orchestra, will offer its annual holiday concert at Mary’s Nativity Church in Flushing on Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m. (No tickets, but donations accepted.)

The brainchild of Korean-born conductor, composer, pianist, and violin teacher Dong-Hyun Kim, this orchestra debuted on March 22, 2015. (For perspective, the above-mentioned Oratorio Society of Queens debuted 88 years earlier in 1927.) With roughly 35 professional musicians and conservatory students, the group will offer a program of Christmas carols and Vivaldi’s “Gloria.”

The Quintet of the Americas and the Jackson Heights Orchestra will provide another holiday concert at P.S. 69 in Jackson Heights on Dec. 15 at 4 p.m. The free event is actually the culmination of a year-long collaboration between recorder players from P.S. 69, the chorus at P.S. 149, members of the Catherine Sheridan Senior Center, composer Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin, and the two music groups.

The program will include orchestral works such as “The Gordian Knot” by Henry Purcell, Gabriel Faure’s “Masques et Bergamasques Suite,” and Ilan Rechtman’s “America (Suite Popular),” plus Zhurbin’s “For the Sparrows.”

Zhurbin wrote the first movement of his work based on interviews with seniors from Catherine Sheridan. The next movement, which is based on the white-throated sparrow’s call, is for the recorder players and the quintet. Another movement brings all the groups together.

The Eden Lane jazz band will do songs from the Great American Songbook and the Prohibition Era while candlelight tours are offered at the Onderdonk House in Ridgewood on Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. (The suggested donation is $5.)

Built in about 1709, this stone farmhouse’s interior is mainly exposed post-and-beam construction with wooden floors. There are double Dutch doors, numerous shuttered windows, and a gambrel roof. Live noire music will add to the atmosphere as candles provide the only light on Saturday.

Queens will also host some holiday-inspired events that won’t revolve around music.

The Douglaston Village Winter Festival will unfold near the LIRR station, 235th Street and 41st Avenue, on Dec. 15 at noon. Organizers will erect an outdoor, public ice rink. Other highlights will include carnival rides, vendors, and an ugly sweater contest for dogs.

A similar event will take place over both weekend days (Dec. 15 and Dec. 16) in front of the Black Spectrum Theatre in Jamaica, always starting at noon. Some Kwanzaa elements, such as a kinara candle lighting, will take place amid a holiday market and such children’s activities as train rides, a scavenger hunt, inflatables, and a tree lighting. Students from the music school Keiko Studios will perform.

Finally, the East Village Dance Project will present “The Shell-Shocked Nut,” an adaptation of “The Nutcracker,’ at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center on Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. This version takes a war veteran, a wandering child, and a cast of lively characters on a journey through old New York City.


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