Best bets: Find holiday spirit through music
Holiday carols get a full orchestral backing in the Elgin Symphony Orchestra concert "Let It Snow!" Also on tap are guest pianist Rich Ridenour and soprano Rachel DeShon, with the Elgin Choral Union, Elgin Children's Chorus and Midwest Dance Collective, all at the Hemmens Cultural Center, 45 Symphony Way, Elgin. $26-$46. (847) 931-5900 or elginsymphony.org. 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15; and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16.
Comedian Chris Hardwick is not only the author of "The Nerdist Way: How to Reach the Next Level (In Real Life)," he's also the host of the fanboy show "The Talking Dead." Catch him live this weekend at two Zanies locations: 1548 N. Wells St., Chicago. $30 plus a two-item menu purchase. (312) 337-4027; also at 5437 Park Place, Rosemont. $25 plus a two-item menu purchase. (847) 813-0484 or zanies.com. 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, in Chicago; 8 and 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, in Rosemont
Ring them bells
Hear holiday music as pealing bells when The Agape Ringers perform the concert "Sounds of the Season," featuring guest artists from Midwest Ballet Theatre this Saturday at the Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church, 155 W. Brush Hill Road, Elmhurst. $25-$35. (309) 365-2910 or agaperingers.org. 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15
Suburbanites seeking "The Nutcracker" this weekend are in luck with multiple productions. Ballet Legere's"The Nutcracker Ballet" performs at Dominican University's Lund Auditorium, 7900 W. Division St., River Forest.$25-$27; $20-$22 seniors/kids. (773) 237-1874 or legeredancecentre.com. 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16 in River Forest
• Dancenter North tours "The Magic of the Nutcracker"to the Genesee Theatre,203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan. $15-$36. (847) 782-2366 or dancenter-north.com. 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15 and 16
• Dance West Ballet brings its "The Nutcracker"to North Central College's Pfeiffer Hall,310 E. Benton Ave., Naperville. $30; $23 students/seniors. (630) 637-7469 or northcentralcollege.edu/showtix. 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14, 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday Dec. 15, 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, in Naperville
• State Street Dance Studio presents its take on "The Nutcracker"at Batavia Fine Arts Centre,1201 Main St., Batavia. $28; $23 kids ages 10 an younger. (630) 232-0444 or statestreetdancestudio.com. 1 and 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16
See Brookfield Zoo all lit up with thousands of twinkly lights via its seasonal Holiday Magic displays at First Avenue and 31st St., Brookfield. $10.50-$15 general admission (extra for rides and special photos). $10 parking. (708) 688-8000 or czs.org. 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and daily from Wednesday, Dec. 26, through Monday, Dec. 31
Longtime fans of Fox's reality singing competition "American Idol" won't want to miss second-season finalist Clay Aiken bring his Christmas Special concert this Saturday to the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles. $39-$95 (630) 962-7000 or oshows.com. 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15
The award-winning Illinois Brass Band presents traditional and jazzed up versions of seasonal songs for its "A Christmas Fantasy" concert at two locations: Cutting Hall, 150 E. Wood St., Palatine. $12; $6 kids. (847) 202-5222; also at Cosman Cultural Center, 12015 Mill St., Huntley. $10; $5 kids. illinoisbrassband.org. 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, in Palatine; 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22, in Huntley
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