Decembers in Minnesota.
They are synonymous with cold, snow, ice, more cold … and some of the best live musical performances.
While people in other parts of the country would consider hibernation when faced with the sometimes-brutal weather known to invade Minnesota Decembers, Minnesotans not only take it in stride … they embrace it. And for doing so, they are warmly rewarded with the gift of a string of soul, jazz, gospel and holiday concerts. Several have already passed, but there is an abundance of great music still coming this way.
On the very first day of the month the Minnesota Orchestra invited jazz virtuoso Gregory Porter into its chamber for a nearly two-hour show featuring Porter originals and songs from his most recent album, “Nat ‘King’ Cole and Me,” a tribute to Cole, one of the greatest voices in music. Days later – and a block away in downtown Minneapolis – it was R&B crooner Kenny Lattimore’s “Christmas and Love” at the Dakota. Both shows treated listeners to an array of soul, jazz and even a bit of opera. In the case of Porter, five inches of fresh snow didn’t keep fans away as he filled the seats at the orchestra while his voice beautifully filled the chamber. And bitter cold was no match for the allure of seeing Kenny Lattimore live, as fans filled seats for two shows at the famed Dakota.
Upcoming shows will most certainly be similarly successful as music lovers are offered holiday treats in the form of three annual and cherished shows.
Beloved gospel family, the Steeles, take to the Fitzgerald stage in St. Paul for two shows this Friday and Saturday (Dec. 14 and Dec. 15) for “It’s Christmas with the Steeles.” Fans can expect to be delighted by sacred and secular songs including, “This Must Be Christmas,” “We Worship You,” “Grateful,” “You Will Know,” “Turned Away,” “Let It Snow” and more. Tickets for the shows are $26-$58 and available at www.fitzgeraldtheater.publicradio.org/events.
Dec. 20 Sen. Bobby Joe Champion once again offers Twin Cities music lovers a free holiday dinner and concert, “Music for the Holidays.” The event takes place at the Minneapolis Convention Center and features performances by R&B icon Stokley Williams, pop/soul star Paris Bennett, gospel stars Kierra Sheard and Robert Robinson, Sara Renner and singer and radio personality, Esti Price. The event is free, but patrons must have a ticket to enter. Tickets are available at www.MusicForTheHolidays.com. The dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Rounding out the trio of upcoming holiday shows is one of the most anticipated each year, the Grammy Award winning Sounds of Blackness’ “Night Before Christmas – A Musical Fantasy.” The soulful, jazzy, hip-hop and comedic take on the classic Christmas poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” comes to the Pantages Theatre in downtown Minneapolis on Dec. 22. Tickets for the musical are $28.50-$58.50.
So, as the Christmas song says, “Let it Snow,” because rain, sleet, hail nor snow will keep hearty Minnesotans away from being a part of these delightful, family-friendly holiday events.