Monday, February 26

ENTERTAINMENT: ‘Messiah,’ Men’s Chorus, Muses celebrate the season | The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette


Perennial ‘Messiah’

The Arkansas Choral Society performs portions of George Frideric Handel’s oratorio “Messiah,” 7:30 p.m. Friday in the sanctuary at Calvary Baptist Church, 5700 Cantrell Road, Little Rock. Alto JoAna Rusche, on the faculty at the University of Central Arkansas, and Knoxville, Tenn.-based tenor Joshua Allen will join the chorus, members of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and conductor Kent Skinner to perform most of Part I (the Christmas portion), several numbers from Part II (the Passion) and three numbers from Part III (Easter), closing with the “Hallelujah” Chorus. The society has been performing all or part of the oratorio every Christmas season (absent the pandemic) since 1930. Tickets are $20, $15 for students. Visit

Men’s Chorus

The River City Men’s Chorus and conductor David Glaze perform carols and other music of the season with accompaniment by instrumentalists, organ and bells in a concert they’re calling “HOLIDAY! 2023,” 3 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Monday and Dec. 7 at St. James United Methodist Church, 321 Pleasant Valley Drive, Little Rock.

The program: “Gloria” by John Leavit; “Angel’s Carol” by John Rutter; “Gloria in Excelsis” from “Lux: The Dawn from on High” by Dan Forrest; “Lux Aurumque” by Eric Whitacre; a couple of medleys — “A Holiday Sing-Along” and “Irving Berlin’s Christmas”; and arrangements of “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” From the Realms of Glory,” Little Town of Bethlehem,” Fum, Fum,”n Christmas Night All Christians Sing,” the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Night” and “Joy to the World.”

Admission is free; doors open one hour before “curtain” — arrive early as seats generally fill up. Call (501) 377-1080 or visit

Muses’ voices

The Muses Project celebrates the majesty of Christmas with its annual “Voices of Angels” sacred classical Christmas concert, featuring professional singers, instrumentalists, a mixed-voice chorus and a corps of young dancers:

◼️ Sunday, 4 p.m., Westover Hills Presbyterian Church, 6400 Kavanaugh Blvd., Little Rock. Free. (501) 663-6383.

◼️ Wednesday, 6 p.m., Muses Cultural Arts Center, 428 Orange St., Hot Springs. Student show performance, free for artists, students and teachers — call (501) 609-9811 to register.

◼️ Dec. 7, 7 p.m., Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanities Center, 321 W. Fourth St., Texarkana. Tickets are $35, $20 for students 18 and under with ID. Call (903) 792-8681.

◼️ Dec. 8, 7 p.m., Woodlands Auditorium, 1101 DeSoto Blvd., Hot Springs Village. $35.

◼️ Dec. 9-10, 3 p.m., Muses Cultural Arts Center. $35.

Call (501) 609-9811 or visit

The program includes contemporary arrangements of sacred works by Benjamin Britten, John Rutter and Edwin R. Fissinger with texts in French, Latin, German and English.

Conway Christmas

Singer Nia Renée and dancers from the Arkansas Festival Ballet join the Conway Symphony Orchestra and conductor Israel Getzov for a “Holiday Spectacular,” 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Reynolds Performance Hall at the University of Central Arkansas, 201 Donaghey Ave., Conway. Renee, a UCA alumna, the 2022 Miss UCA and an “American Idol” contestant, will sing “White Christmas” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” The Arkansas Festival Ballet will stage several portions of Peter Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker.” Sponsor is Palmer Music with additional support from Conway Corp. Tickets are $30-$50, $15 for students and children with adult ticket purchase, with discounts for UCA faculty and staff. Call (501) 450-3265 or visit

Coterie concert

Program for the Little Rock Musical Coterie’s monthly get-together, 2 p.m. Sunday at Trinity United Methodist Church, 1101 N. Mississippi St., Little Rock, features arrangements of seasonal songs. Pianist Jeanette Hamilton will perform “Silent Night” and “Mary, Did You Know?”; pianists Trudy Kincade and Sabrina Shivley will play “Sleigh Ride Duet Fantasy” and “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing”; harpist Alexandra Rose Vigil joins flutist Sharon Burrall for “Fantasia on Greensleeves” by Ralph Vaughn Williams and soprano Katie Howell for “O Holy Night”; and Howell and organist Janine Tiner will lead a Christmas carol sing-along. Admission is free. Call (501) 920-8258.


‘Cirque Noel!’

Arkansas Circus Arts presents “Cirque Noel!,” a family-friendly tale of magic, mystique and marvel featuring professionals, young circus-arts “PreProfessionals” and adult students, 7 p.m. Saturday at the Maumelle Performing Arts Center, 100 Victory Lane, Maumelle. Doors open at 6. Tickets are $25-$50. Call (501) 725-4975 or visit

Nuts to you

The city of Keo, billing itself as the “Pecan Capital of Arkansas,” holds its second annual Pecan Festival, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday along Main Street (centering on City Hall, 226 Main). The festival features a 35-mile bicycle Pie Ride, a pecan-cooking contest at noon, a classic car show, bouncy houses, games, attractions, music starting at 1 p.m. (by the 2nd Street Baptist Gospel Choir, Blackwater Bayou, Jason Lee Hale, Ryan Harmon and headliner Billy Jeter), food trucks and the first state Pecan Pie Championship — open to professionals and home bakers (judging, with taste, appearance, flavor and creativity as factors, starts at noon with awards presented at 1 p.m.). Sponsor is the American Pecan Council. Call (501) 285-5051, email or visit For Pecan Pie Championship details, call (501) 912-2472 or email


Beebe tree lighting

Citing a forecast of inclement weather, Arkansas State University-Beebe has moved today’s Community Tree Lighting ceremony into the Centennial Bank Gymnasium in the Owen Center, 1102 W. College St., Beebe. Festivities start at 2 p.m. with a special sale of mugs crafted at a Makers Days event earlier this fall to benefit the Student Emergency Hope Fund. At 4 p.m., consume hot cocoa, cider, cookies with an opportunity to take photos with Santa Claus. The ASU-Beebe Symphonic Band performs at 4:30 p.m., followed by performances by the university Singers and Chamber Singers at 5, the lighting of the university’s Leyland Cypress Christmas tree visible via big screens at 5:30 and, starting at 5:45, performances by the Studio 360 dancers followed by headliner Wyly Bigger and the Coyotes. Admission is free. Visit

    The Wyly Bigger and the Coyotes band headline the Community Tree Lighting event at the ASU-Beebe campus today. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)

Jonesboro parade

The Foundation of Arts for Northeast Arkansas holds its 76th Jonesboro Christmas Parade, 7 p.m. Friday through downtown Jonesboro, starting at Cate and Main streets, continuing south on Main Street and ending at Oak Street. This year’s theme is “A Merry Melody.” Call (870) 935-2726 or visit


‘Razzle Dazzle’ fundraiser

The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas presents its biennial fundraiser variety show, “Razzle Dazzle: A Holiday Spectacular,” 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday on the Catherine M. Bellamy Theater stage at the center, 701 S. Main St., Pine Bluff. Sponsor is Simmons Bank. Tickets are $25. Proceeds benefit ASC’s youth theater programming. Visit For more information call (870) 536-3375 or email


Spa City gallery

Adrian Deckbar’s photorealistic paintings are among the works on display starting with a 5-9 p.m. monthly Gallery Walk reception Friday at Justus Fine Art Gallery, 827A Central Ave., Hot Springs. The gallery is also showing artwork by Mark Blaney, Donnie Copeland, Randall Good, Robyn Horn, Dolores Justus, Dennis McCann, Linda Palmer, Tony Saladino, Sandra Sell, Gene Sparling and Michael Warrick through Dec. 31. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday and by appointment. Admission is free. Call (501) 321-2335 or visit

  photo  “Bubbly Magic” by Adrian Deckbar, “Afternoon Shadows” by Dennis McCann and “Blue Pond II” by Tony Saladino are among the works on display through December at Justus Fine Art Gallery in Hot Springs. (Special to the Democrat-Gazette)

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