Holiday Happenings: Rock with Aaron Meyer on Christmas weekend
The big day comes Saturday, Dec. 25 — Christmas — but you and yours have plenty of time to still take in many of the holiday events and attractions in the Portland area.
Here's what's going on:
• Rock violinist Aaron Meyer has been putting on holiday concerts for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to go the television route for his annual Portland shows.
The 2021 version, "Rock The Holidays," showcases Meyer and several Northwest performers, including the Brown Sisters and Metropolitan Youth Symphony string players. The one-hour celebration airs 10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 24, and 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 25, as well as Saturday, Jan. 1 on KPTV 12. For updated info, see www.aaronmeyer.com.
In the show, with a combination of musical performances and narration, Meyer shares his story from his start as a young, classically trained musician, through his evolution into a concert rock violinist.Â
"Our goal this year," said Meyer, "is to weave together a sense of holiday tradition with my own journey of music and faith."
He and his five-piece band play everything from "Sugar Plum Fairy" from "The Nutcracker," featuring Oregon Ballet Theatre dancers, to Aerosmith's "Dream On."
• Pink Martini said it had "such a blast" doing an online concert last year that it's doing it again for the holidays.
Featuring Thomas Lauderdale, China Forbes and guest vocalists Jimmie Herrod and Edna Vazquez, the band performed in front of a live audience in San Francisco and "it's a right jolly banger." There are 90 minutes' worth of holiday classics and Pink Martini hits for the band to share via streaming, 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 23, through Christmas Day via www.OurConcerts.live.
• The Benson Portland, Curio Collection by Hilton has produced its 50th anniversary gingerbread masterpiece, "The Polar Express," at the hotel, 307 S.W. Broadway. It's more than 100 pounds of gingerbread, 50 pounds of white chocolate, 25 pounds of sculpting chocolate and five pounds of rice treats, all used to replicate the beloved train and North Pole setting of the classic children's book and movie. It's on view through Dec. 26.
As far as what continues to go on …
• There are daily vocal performances at Pioneer Courthouse Square. For the schedule, see thesquarepdx.org.
• Walk or drive through Oregon ZooLights, an animal-themed display featuring 1.5 million lights at the zoo, 4001 S.W. Canyon Road. They show pretty much daily until Jan. 9.
• "Critters Make Merry" is the theme of this year's Christmas exhibit at Pittock Mansion, 3229 N.W. Pittock Drive, through Jan. 4.
• All Classical Portland, 89.9 FM, presents something for everyone on the radio (and Internet). Included is Gratitude Program, Karaoke Carols and Festival of Carols, celebrity chefs, Cinnamon Bear on the International Children's Arts Network (daily at noon, through Jan. 7) and Classical Countdown on New Year's Eve.
For a complete schedule: www.allclassical.org/holiday-2021.
• The Grotto Christmas Festival of Lights, 8840 N.E. Skidmore St., presents everything from puppet shows to choral performances to lights and tranquility, through Jan. 2 (except Christmas Day).
• Take in Winter Wonderland, a lights spectacular at Portland International Raceway, 1940 N. Victory Blvd., from the comfort of your motor vehicle, 5-11 p.m. nightly through Jan. 1. It's tabbed as the "Largest Holiday Light Show West of the Mississippi."
• Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and three ghosts star in "A Christmas Carol" at Portland Playhouse, 602 N.E. Prescott St, through Dec. 31.
• Oregon Ballet Theatre, under the direction of new Artistic Director Peter Franc and featuring several new dancers, presents its annual holiday show, "George Balanchine's The Nutcracker," through Dec. 26 (excluding Christmas Day) at Keller Auditorium, 222 S.W. Clay St.
• The Peacock Lane lights displays brightens the neighborhood between Southeast Stark and Belmont streets with shows from 6-11 p.m. through Dec. 31.
For more, see Peacock Lane's Facebook page.
• Michael Allen Harrison's "Christmas at The Old Church" has returned with live shows through Dec. 27 at the venue, 1422 S.W. 11th Ave., but there'll also be a livestream option at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 22.
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