You can’t get much more truth in advertising than the title of the Fresno Philharmonic’s “Home for the Holidays” concert. The evening’s guest artist, Broadway star Heidi Blickenstaff, is literally coming home – back to the place where, in her childhood, she grew to love the theater.
The concert is my top arts pick in a weekend crammed with holiday happenings.
Home for Heidi
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The draw: For years, people in Fresno have read about Blickenstaff’s successes on the Broadway stage, including originating roles in two hit musicals: “[title of show]” and “Something Rotten!” She’s just finished a world premiere run in Washington, D.C., of a new musical adaptation of the movie “Freaky Friday.” Aside from a brief stop in a touring musical at the Saroyan Theatre more than 15 years ago, this will be the first opportunity for Blickenstaff – who in 1983 played the title role in a Good Company Players production of “Annie” – to perform for a hometown audience.
The program: Expect a wide-ranging lineup (including a Christmas song from Sara Bareilles) from Blickenstaff, who turns 45 on Dec. 28. “It’s mostly Christmas favorites that everyone will be able to sing along with, but there are a few surprises in there,” she says.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Saroyan Theatre, 700 M St. www.fresnophil.org, 559-261-0600. $25-$79.
The event: The annual holiday concerts of the San Joaquin Chorale will brighten the vocal landscapes of Reedley and Fresno.
The draw: The chorale, a Fresno Pacific University ensemble featuring community members, will perform Gloria by Antonio Vivaldi and Gloria by John Rutter. It is directed by Dan Bishop and accompanied by Kevin Memley. It’s a chance to hear top-notch choral music in a festive setting.
Details: The Reedley concert is at 8 p.m. Friday, First Mennonite Church, 1208 L St., Reedley. Admission is free. The Fresno concert is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Shaghoian Hall, 2770 E. International Ave. $15 general, $10 seniors. events.fresno.edu, 559-453-2267.
The draw: Bolding’s “Home for Christmas” concert, his second, will feature holiday favorites, some Broadway tunes and a few original pieces. A former singer for Holland America and Carnival cruise lines, he also appeared as the Wolf and Cinderella’s Prince in the Selma Arts Center production of “Into the Woods.” A portion of the proceeds will go to the Selma Cares food giveaway.
Details: 8 p.m. Saturday, Selma Arts Center, 1935 High St., Selma. www.devanbolding.com, (559) 891-2238. $10 presale, $15 day of event.
The event: The Fresno Community Concert Band offers its annual holiday concert, “Let the Bells Ring,” featuring the University Presbyterian Church Handbell Choir as guest artists.
The draw: From “Sleigh Ride” to “Silent Night,” the band offers a lineup of holiday favorites. Vocalist Marissa Clay will contribute to the festivities. It’s a great option if your budget (or the size of your family) doesn’t allow for a professional orchestra.
Details: 3 and 7 p.m. Sunday, Shaghoian Hall, 2770 E. International Ave. www.fresnocommunityband.org, 559-440-9429. $12, $7 children.