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See & Do

Back in 1742, George Frederic Handel became the king of glory after writing the music of Messiah. But for some wacky reason, the composer intended his transcendent "Hallelujah Chorus" and all the rest of his heavenly oratorio for Easter rather than Christmas. Wisely, Charlotte Symphony and the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte have reserved their treasurable annual performances exclusively for the Yuletide season, when antidotes for Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman are more desperately needed. Scott Allen Jarrett, in his first year as director of the Oratorios, will conduct the concert at the 7:30pm performance at First United Methodist Church. If the United's murky acoustics aren't to your liking, you can catch an encore tomorrow at the same time in Matthews at Christ Covenant Church. General admission tickets are $20. Call 704-972-2000. (Tannenbaum)

A renegade band of five vocalists -- with no instruments -- is bravely injecting new life into the a cappella genre. Rockapella is here to spread their gospel, an eclectic mix of R&B, rock, soul, and a sprinkling of jazz. For two consecutive nights, they'll take over McGlohon Theatre, beginning at 8pm. In time for -- and in tune with -- the holidays, the quintet will emphasize the songs from their Comfort and Joy album, mixing them with other familiar Rockapella pleasures. Tickets are $12.50-$25. Call |704-372-1000. (Tannenbaum)

If you haven't yet OD'd on Clara and her Sugarplum Fairy, pirouette over to Ovens Auditorium tonight or tomorrow evening for the Moscow Ballet's version of the Great Russian Nutcracker. This touring production has become a holiday tradition throughout the US, and its beautiful scenery and costumes, exquisite dancers, and Tchaikovsky's music never fail to enchant. Tickets for the 7:30pm performances are $25-$49, and are available through Ticketmaster (704-522-6500 or, at www.ovensauditorium. com, or at the Cricket Arena/Ovens Auditorium Ticket Office at 2700 Independence Blvd. It's open Monday through Friday from 10am-5pm. (Vespa)DECEMBER16THURSDAY
Noel Gallery at Transamerica Square is one of three galleries closings this month. WDO at Hearst Plaza and Blue Pony of NoDa are calling it quits too. Sad times for Charlotte. Noel Gallery will lock the doors on December 24 at 6pm, so stop in before it's too late to appreciate one of the city's treasures. B.E. Noel's contribution can't be calibrated on a spreadsheet or reported in quarterly statements. She's just another little lost piece of the heart and soul of a would-be World Class City. Thanks to Noel, Mary Lou Sussman at Blue Pony and Rob Williams at WDO. Don't it always seem like that -- we won't know what we had till it's gone. (Lucas) DECEMBER17FRIDAY
Chris Thompson has toiled by day as a performing artist at CMS schools and by night as the drummer who brought acclaimed sound effects to CAST's production of A Colored Museum. Now he's moving closer to the spotlight as Chris Thompson & the Cultural Ensemble present A Journal of Dance for two nights upstairs at the Afro-American Cultural Center in the Attic Theatre. What's coming down at the Attic, beginning at 8pm, is a variety of dance styles -- African, jazz, tap, and modern -- interwoven with monologues and music from the 70s to the present. Tickets for adults are $15 and $12 for seniors or children. Call 704-374-1565. (Tannenbaum)

From axe-wielding guitar virtuoso in Joe Ely's touring band in the early 90s to one of today's most respected singer/songwriters, the long journey of Ian Moore culminated in this year's highly regarded solo disc, Luminaria. Blessed with a pitch-perfect voice equally at home in upper and lower registers, Moore's live shows have long been admired for their intensity, whether solo or backed by a full band. Moore's shows on this tour have been divided into acoustic and full-band sets, and the Sylvia Theatre fans can expect to experience the same tonight. Tickets for the 9pm show are $8 in advance through, and $12 at area outlets. For more information, go to http://www.secondwindmusic. com/ST/ or call the box office in York, SC at 803-684-5590. (Schacht)

NashVillains In-The-Round are David Mead, Jason White and Matthew Ryan. Mead's falsetto rides shotgun to his acoustic country while White's country-rock tunes are harder-edged and sing of lovers, loners and losers and Ryan's knack is for composing cinematic numbers. Ryan is the most intriguing of the bunch and is grounded in all things Americana with a whispered vocal style and moody songs that weigh in with country, rock and ethereal flourishes. At the Evening Muse, 10pm. $10 at the door, further details 704-376-3737 or (Shukla)DECEMBER19SUNDAY
The Charlotte 49ers, led by sweet-shooting guard Brendan Plavich and backcourt mate Mitchell Baldwin (the fastest college cager in the country, some say), take on UNC-Asheville today at 3pm at Halton Arena on the campus of UNC Charlotte. Tickets are $12-16, available at the door or online at <>DECEMBER20MONDAY
Chamber Music at St. Peter's serves up "food for the soul" as they treat Charlotte's uptown homeless citizens to a holiday brass concert at the Urban Ministry Center at 10:30am today. Everyone is welcome to attend as Brass Charlotte, a group of Charlotte Symphony musicians, perform a variety of tunes during the 45-minute concert, including a sing-a-long "Silent Night." The Urban Ministry Center is at 945 N. College St. For more information, call 704-335-0009.


Today's your last chance to see our recommendation as the city's most fun holiday show, A Mad Mad Madrigal, a raucous, screwball solstice celebration presented by Epic Arts Repertory Company that mixes festive dancing, New Age mysticism and rampant drumming with a motherlode of pure Monty Python silliness. Adult tickets are $20 and children 12 and under pay $10. Call 704-347-2817. (Tannenbaum)

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