By Janet Goetze
For the Hollywood Star News
December’s holidays bring music, lights, family and community traditions. In North and Northeast Portland, secular, religious and just plain fun events are filling the calendar.
For those who want to make their own music, the annual “Sing Along Messiah” is planned at Central Lutheran Church. Music scores are provided for the chorus parts, and no one need worry about comparison with the soloists. They aren’t there. This free event is strictly for those singing the chorus parts. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. Dec. 18 at the church, 1820 N.E. 21st Ave. A prelude will be 6:45-7:45 p.m. Singing will begin at 8 p.m., but arrive early because the place gets packed.
To mark Chanukah or Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, Chabad Northeast is partnering with Orchard Supply Hardware, 4030 N.E. Halsey St. Children and older people may build menorahs at the hardware store at 10 a.m. Dec. 6, the first day of the eight-day festival.
Another seasonal event is Kwanzaa, a celebration of family, community and culture. It extends from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, drawing on the best of African thought and practice, said Joyce Harris, who helps organize regional events.
Unity Day, striving for unity in family, community, nation and race, will be observed 6-9 p.m. Dec. 26 with a traditional candle-lighting ceremony, drumming, poetry and a children’s activity at Matt Dishman Community Center, 77 N.E. Knott St. Self-determination Day, to define and speak for one’s self, will be observed at 2 p.m. Dec. 27 at North Portland Library, 512 N. Killingsworth St.
For gifts of the season, young dancers will present the story of a girl seeking Christmas magic to bring her toys alive. Aeros, the youth performers with the A-WOL Dance Collective, will present “Toy Box” at 7 p.m. Dec. 12 and 2 p.m. Dec. 13 at the A-WOL Grand Warehouse, 513 N.E. Schuyler St. Tickets: $12 to $20 at www.awoldance.org. Information: (503) 351-5182.
Here’s a list of more seasonal events:
The Christmas Festival of Lights at The Grotto, the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, includes regional choirs, outdoor caroling, puppet shows and an animal petting zoo from 5-9:30 p.m. Dec. 1-30. Closed Dec. 25. The main entrance is at Northeast 85th Avenue and Sandy Boulevard. General admission is $10, seniors and military $9, children 3-12 $5, 2 and younger free. Check the schedule for information and a favorite choir: www.thegrotto.org.
A musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” will run from Dec. 2-24 at Portland Playhouse, 602 N.E. Prescott St. Most matinees at 2 p.m. and evenings at 7 p.m. Tickets $20 to $32. Information and tickets: www.portlandplayhouse.org.
The “Winter Wonderland” of dazzling lights and animation is Dec. 2-27 at Portland International Raceway, North Victory Boulevard, exit 306B from I-5. Hours are 5-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Closed Dec. 7. See the Wonderland from vehicles. Tickets: $20-$45 per vehicle. A leashed dog walk with no cars is Dec. 2. Riders over 12, with helmets and properly lighted bikes, may “Bike the Lights” Dec. 8 for $6. Information: www.winterwonderlandportland.com.
The Nowhere Band, a Beatles tribute organization, plays the “White Album” as the Wanderlust Circus at 8 p.m. Dec. 3 to 12 at the Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 N.E. Alberta St. Tickets $30 to $50. www.albertarosetheatre.com.
ScanFest features the sights, sounds, tastes and traditions of a Nordic Christmas market from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 5 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 6 at Memorial Coliseum, 300 N. Winning Way. Tickets $7 adults, $6 seniors and students; $15 family of two adults, two children; children under 12 free. Music, dancing and a Pippi Longstocking children’s craft area included. Information: www.scanheritage.org.
The Laurelhurst Winter Bazaar, including the work of more than 80 local artisans, will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 6 at 840 N.E. 41st Ave. Proceeds benefit the Laurelhurst School Parent-Teacher Association.
“Christmas Memories” will begin with a contemporary cantata, “Morning Star,” at 3 p.m. Dec. 6 at Rose City Park United Methodist Church, 5830 N.E. Alameda. The 90-minute program continues with the Rose City Brass Ensemble, choir, Wesley Bell Ringers, soloists and ensembles. Free-will offering. Information: (503) 281-1229 or www.rcpumc.org.
The 140-member Portland Symphonic Choir will present “Winter Song” with the St. Mary’s Academy Marian Singers at 7 p.m. Dec. 12 and 13 at Central Lutheran Church, 1820 N.E. 21st Ave. Tickets: $25-$35, students $10; brownpapertickets.com or call 800-838-3006. The Westminster Concert Bells will present a “Celebration in Bronze” at 1 p.m. Dec. 13 in Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1624 N.E. Hancock St. A free-will offering will support the handbell program. (503) 287-1289. www.westprespdx.org.
Bravo! Northwest will present Handel’s “Messiah” at 3 p.m. Dec. 13 at The Madeleine Church, 3123 N.E. 24th Ave. Tickets $30 general, students 18 and younger free with adult. Bravo! office (360) 906-0441; The Madeleine office (503) 281-5777. Online: www.bravoconcerts.com or www.themadeleine.edu/concerts.
Soloists will join the Portland Chamber Orchestra and Westminster Presbyterian Church’s Chancel Choir in “The Messiah” at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18 at Westminster, 1624 N.E. Hancock St. The program repeats at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19 at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, 806 N.E. Alberta St. Tickets: $25-$30 seniors and general, $15 youth, $5 children. www.portlandchamberorchestra.org/season/.
The Cantata Choir will present J.S. Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio,” Parts 1-3, at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18 at Rose City Park Presbyterian Church, 1907 N.E. 45th Ave. Tickets: $30 adults, $25 students and seniors. Contact www.brownpapertickets.com. Information: (503) 702-1973.