Young Talents Spread Holiday Wonder

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Photo courtesy of Christine Prisk
Barriskill Dance Theatre’s cast features dancers between the ages of 7-18.

Though North Carolina’s outdoors may not always provide us with the snowy winter wonderland of classic holiday stories, the sights and sounds of the season fill our halls, auditoriums and theaters this time of year. In the Triangle, we are blessed with an abundance of talented and hardworking kids who are thrilled to share glad tidings.

Whether your ears crave carols sung by choirs, or your eyes want to feast on the majesty of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, “The Nutcracker,” you’ll have no problem finding a youth holiday performance, no matter what your budget is or where you live in the Triangle.

Barriskill Dance Theatre’s “The Nutcracker”

Dec. 15-17 at Reynolds Industries Theater at Duke University, Durham

The cast of this spectacular event consists of 130 performers, ages 7-18. Executive and Artistic Director Mari O’Donnell says the choreography changes every year to fit the dancers and that this year is especially significant. “This is the first year our Clara has ever been on pointe,” O’Donnell says.

This production serves as a wonderful introduction to the holiday classic as the dancers are younger and children in the audience can envision themselves on stage. “We always know that there is someone out there who is seeing it for the first time and it’s magic for them,” O’Donnell says, adding that audiences should enjoy the battle scenes this year, to which they’ve added more “mischief.”

Purchase tickets for $15-$30 through the Reynolds Industries Theater box office at Group rates are available.

Triangle Youth Ballet’s “The Nutcracker”

Dec. 2-3 at Hanes Theater at Chapel Hill High School, Chapel Hill

Dec. 9 at Carolina Theatre, Durham

This is the 23rd annual production of “The Nutcracker” for Triangle Youth Ballet. Family-friendly ticket prices range $10-$27. Enjoy live Tchaikovsky music conducted by Andrew McAfee.

City Ballet Raleigh’s “The Nutcracker”

Dec. 8-9 at North Carolina State University’s Stewart Theatre, Raleigh

City Ballet is celebrating its 25th annual performance of “The Nutcracker.” Tickets for this full-length production, which promises rich staging and costuming, are priced at $15, $25 and $30 and can be purchased at

Capital City Girls Choir Winter Concert: “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

Dec. 15 at Meredith College, Raleigh

Celebrate the Capital City Girls Choir’s 30th anniversary season at this year’s winter concert, titled, “Do You Hear What I Hear.” The audience will be treated to a wide range of music written by composers from all over the world.

“All three choirs, from the training choir to the internationally known Cantabile Singers, will be singing at our December concert,” says Fran Page, founder and conductor. “We will be singing a variety of music to celebrate the holiday season, and the audience will have an opportunity to sing favorite Christmas carols.”

Page adds that alumnae will also perform. “Each year, we invite alumnae to return to the concert to sing Rutter’s arrangement of “Personent Hodie,” she says. “This is often the highlight of the concert for me.” 

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door. For more information, email

Cary Ballet Company’s “The Nutcracker Suite”

Dec. 15-17 at Cary Arts Center, Cary

Not sure your little one can sit through a full-length production? Cary Ballet Company offers a solution with a family-oriented, one-hour performance of “The Nutcracker Suite” for $8. A Ballerina Tea follows the morning shows. Tickets for the Ballerina Tea are $10 and sold separately. The full ballet will be presented at the evening performances, and tickets for those performances range $21-$25 and can be purchased online at

Raleigh Boychoir Sings “Carols of Christmas”

Dec. 22 at Edenton Street United Methodist Church, Raleigh

It’s the golden jubilee year for Raleigh Boychoir, as this Raleigh institution celebrates 50 years of creating beautiful harmonies. Join the singers for a night of yuletide favorites during “Carols of Christmas” to hear all of the choirs perform.

Katie Gillespie, mother of singers Logan and Joe Gillespie, says she appreciates the timing of this event.

“It’s one of the last major events right before Christmas, so when you are there it’s a perfect time to be able to truly relax and appreciate the music and what these timeless songs are really saying.”

Tickets are $8-$18 and can be purchased online at

Cary Youth Voices Presents “A Joyful Celebration” 

Dec. 8 at Greenwood Forest Baptist Church, Cary

This evening concert features the talented voices of all three Cary Youth Voices choirs accompanied by piano, trumpet, violin and percussive instruments. Admission is free. 

Triangle Youth Philharmonic Presents “Musicians With a ‘Crowdsourced Chorus’”

Dec. 8 at Edenton Street Methodist Church, Raleigh

Get your vocal cords warmed up for this annual singalong of Handel’s “The Messiah” — free to the public. Food bank donations are appreciated.

Triangle Youth Philharmonic Holiday Concert

Dec. 17 at Athens Drive High School, Raleigh

The concert will take place in the auditorium and tickets are available at the door for $5-$15.

“A Fairytale Christmas Carol” and “The Great Big Holiday Bake Off: A Confectionary Christmas Musical”

Dec. 8-10 at Halle Cultural Arts Center, Apex

This unique two-for-one opportunity includes a one-act play and a one-act musical. Director Kathleen Rudolph says she formats the show this way every year so she can “Get the actors who like to sing, and the ones who prefer not to!”

Kids of all ages will enjoy the upbeat, fast-paced and original holiday performance, which mingles the story of “A Christmas Carol” with classic fairy tales. When Scrooge is the Big Bad Wolf and his nephew is Jack, who may or may not be involved with a beanstalk, anything can happen! “The Great Big Holiday Bake Off: A Confectionary Christmas Musical” spotlights contestants as they complete one final task in a confectionary cooking competition.

Arrive early so little ones can get a seat near the front. Tickets are $6-$10 and can be purchased at

Mandy Howard is a freelance writer and mother of three in Raleigh.


Categories: Enrichment