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This Weekend in N.H.: Handbells, Scrooge, and Puccini

Malmark Handbells

If you need a break from baking, wrapping and card-writing, you can immerse yourself in one of the many seasonal performances on offer this weekend.

Jean’s Playhouse in Lincoln is presenting The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, The Musical, on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.  An adaptation of the children’s book by Barbara Robinson, this “bad kids crash local Christmas pageant and chaos ensues” is high energy and madcap.

What is the holiday season without Scrooge and sugar plum fairies?  Prescott Park Arts Festival is staging the Dickens classic at the Exeter Town Hall from December 9-18.  The Nutcracker, as performed by the Northeastern Ballet Company, will be staged at the Kingswood Arts Center in Wolfeboro on Saturday, December 10 at 7:00 p.m.

If you are pining for the dulcet tones of brass bells, head over to the Monadnock Waldorf School in Keene for the Granite State Ringers Handbell Concert.  Led by director Joan Fossum, this concert will feature a variety of holiday music.  The Granite State Ringers use five octaves of MalmarkHandbells and five and half octaves of MalmarkHandchimes.

For those seeking solace from more a more serious source, the Clearlakes Chorale is presenting Puccini’s Messa di Gloria on December 10 and 11 in Alton at St. Katharine Drexel Church.  The concert will begin with the featured work for chorus, soloists and orchestra.  After intermission, the program continues with The Paradise Tree, an orchestral composition by the chorale’s conductor, Andy Campbell.

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