A fine selection at Birmingham's Town Hall and Symphony Hall

By cw Monday 12 November 2012 Updated: 16/11 12:47

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Oh help, oh no... it's a Gruffalo.

THERE are festive treats aplenty at Birmingham's Town Hall and Symphony Hall this Christmas with popular and classical music, carol singing and dance, acappella and folk to big band.

Highlights include a staged adaptation of The Gruffalo’s Child, the much-acclaimed Swingle Singers, Handel’s Messiah from the renowned Choir of King’s College, Cambridge and Symphony Hall’s traditional Christmas Festival.

The carol singing gets underway on December 10 as Thomas Trotter leads the audience in Sing Carols with the City Organist.

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge – famous through their annual televised Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols on Christmas Eve – visit Symphony Hall to perform Handel’s Messiah, and star violinist Nicola Benedetti plays Concertos for Christmas at Town Hall.

Carols by Candlelight (December 16) heralds the traditional Symphony Hall Christmas Festival and is the first of two atmospheric candlelit-style concerts with the Mozart Festival Orchestra performing in extravagant 18th century costume, the second concert is The Four Seasons by Candlelight (December 30).

Perennial favourites include the Last Night of the Christmas Proms (December 27 and The Glory of Christmas (December 24) as well as the New Year’s Eve Gala.

This year’s children’s production at Town Hall is The Gruffalo’s Child, a stage-adaptation of the book by Julia Donaldson which runs from December 22 to January 16.

Show-stoppers from the West End and Broadway feature in Musicals of the Night (December 28) with songs from Mary Poppins, The Phantom of the Opera, South Pacific and many more.

Soloists Jacinta Whyte and Tim Howar join the London Concert Orchestra in Jingle Bell Christmas (December 22) while the elegance and grace of the Viennese Waltz is celebrated in One Night in Vienna (January 1) as dancers in glorious costume, led by the irrepressible showman and conductor Rainer Hersch, perform waltzes from the Strauss family, Tchaikovsky, Lehar and others.

Charles Dickens gave his first ever public reading – of A Christmas Carol - in Birmingham’s Town Hall and actor Clive Francis returns with his popular recreation of the occasion (December 23) and there’s more story-telling from writer and raconteur Gervase Phinn (December 16), who lights up Christmas with his witty anecdotes, poems and readings.

Two leaders in the field of a cappella music appear at Town Hall in December in the form of the five-time Grammy award-winning Swingle Singers (December 10) and the Midlands’ own Black Voices (December 21).

Kate Rusby at Christmas (December 19) finds the folk songstress re-visiting the carols and Christmas songs of her childhood accompanied by her band, complete with brass quintet, for new variations of familiar carols as well as old favourites.

For a great, non-festive, night out, there’s musical delight, fun and frolics from the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (December 17), while the unique sound of The Overtones (December 10) combines the essence of vocal groups of yesteryear with the best of classic, present-day British pop.

Concerts take place across Town Hall & Symphony Hall Birmingham. Full details, tickets and information are available from the Box Office on 0121 780 3333 or www.thsh.co.uk/christmas2012.

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Buy photos» Black Voices.

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Carols by Candlelight.

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Buy photos» Orchestral delights at THSH this Christmas.

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