Arts Watch: December

Rajender Kaur-Dugal

Rajender Kaur-Dugal

Contributed photo

The Ridgefield Arts Council presents this monthly column on a roundup of the month’s key arts and culture events in town to celebrate the numerous arts organizations that make Ridgefield’s vibrant and thriving art scene possible and to promote Ridgefield as Connecticut’s first cultural 
district. 

If, like me, you are tired of the retail frenzy of Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays, then hasten you to the many Holiday themed events in town for art therapy that will soothe your soul and calm your nerves by evoking the heartwarming spirit of the season.

On Dec. 10, for instance, both the Jesse Lee and First Congregational church will be hosting their annual Christmas concerts. While Jesse Lee’s concert will feature the SymphoNYChorus performing their signature blend of traditional, Gospel, and contemporary Christmas music, the 
Congregational Church’s Christmas concert promises a festive evening featuring the Chancel Choir, Celebration Ringers Handbell Ensemble, and Children’s Choir, apart from other soloists and musicians singing your favorite carols.

Camerata d’Amici will be performing in This Christmastide Concert at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church on Sunday, Dec. 11 at 4 p.m. Camerata d’Amici is a thirty member selective choral ensemble, drawn from towns in Fairfield and Westchester counties, and in the words of their artistic director, Kristin Sponheim, they “perform exceptional music… that inspires singers and audience members alike.” Congregation Shir Shalom will host “Jewish Caroling: The Music of Carole King, Carole Bayer Sager and Carole Leigh” which celebrates the work of Jewish songwriters, King, Bayer Sager, and Leigh, all of whom share the first name, “Carole.” The songs will be sung by Debbie Zecher, cabaret singer and rabbi on Sunday, Dec. 11. 

These concerts are not all that is on offer, there is a plethora of Christmas themed musical events on the schedule for December at the Ridgefield Playhouse headlined by some marquee names: Kenny G, Marie Osmond, Chris Ruggiero, and Darren Chriss, among others. Besides 
these notable artists, several Ridgefield arts organization will be presenting Christmas themed events at the Playhouse as well.

The Holiday Pops Concert by the Ridgefield Chorale is bound to be an enthralling event. And how can you miss Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker presented by the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance, under the direction of Mary Beth Hansohn? Besides these, the Playhouse will host several family friendly interactive events such as the Sound of Music Sing Along, and an encore presentation of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

The Magic Flute is the Met’s abridged English-language version of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, an uplifting fairy tale that moves freely between earthy comedy and noble mysticism. The Ridgefield Symphony Orchestra is going to be playing a starring role in the Marie Osmond Holiday show. Magical too will be the RSO’s aptly named concert, Magic, its largest orchestra of the 2022/23 season, at the Clune Auditorium in Wilton. The concert will feature Zlatomir Fung, 2019 first prize winner of the prestigious International Tchaikovsky Competition, who will join the RSO as soloist for Dvořák’s Cello Concerto in B minor, widely considered the greatest concerto for cello ever 
written.

In other happenings, the Theatre Barn debuts a campy musical revue Super Nifty Holiday Bash, an original holiday show that opens December 2nd and will run through Dec. 18. 

And true to the fun filled sensibility of most Theater Barn shows, Super Nifty Holiday Bash promises to be a rollicking performance that pokes sly fun at the undercurrents of holiday stress, the ache of unrequited love, petty jealousies and resentments that run just below the surface at 
any family gathering and celebration. ACT returns again this year with an audience favorite, Broadway Unplugged, a unique and intimate concert experience led by ACT of CT's resident music supervisor Bryan Perri who brings one of his Broadway celebrity friends to town for an 
evening of song, story and fun conversation. 

On a related note of determined optimism and the commitment to serve one’s fellowmen, but in a very different context, do check out the Library’s Author Talk event featuring Scott MacMillan’s Hope Over Fate: Fazle Hasan Abed and the Science of Ending Global Poverty” about Fazle Abed, the founder of BRAC, originally the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee. A former finance executive with almost no experience in relief aid, Abed founded BRAC in 1972, to help war refugees of the 1971 Bangladesh war of independence from Pakistan.

Now, almost half a century later, BRAC is among the largest nongovernmental organization in the world—and by many accounts, the most effective anti-poverty program ever. The book embodies the power of hope in in the fact that our civic commitment and understanding that we can make a transformative change can go a long way in breaking the poverty trap. In addition, the library will host, Tuesday Night at the Movies: Surprising Shorts with RIFF, a program of five short finalist films from the 2022 submissions season.

Of the five films, “Cracked” and “Paradise” confront the present and future water shortage in very different ways. In “Cracked” a little girl nurses her favorite pet, a flower; while “Paradise” depicts a postapocalyptic world where two sisters search for water to survive, but find much more. Thoughtful fare and an important reminder of how artists, film makers, and conscientious individuals continue to engage at the ground level with the important issues of our time, climate change and poverty, being related inextricably to each other. 

These are just a select few of the art events in town. For more information on these, and other events check out the websites of all these organizations.