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updated: 12/11/2012 11:28 PM

Best bets: Find holiday spirit through music

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  • Soprano Rachel DeShon is part of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra's concerts "Let it Snow!" which also feature pianist Rich Ridenour, the Elgin Choral Union, the Elgin Children's Chorus and the Midwest Dance Collective.

      Soprano Rachel DeShon is part of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra's concerts "Let it Snow!" which also feature pianist Rich Ridenour, the Elgin Choral Union, the Elgin Children's Chorus and the Midwest Dance Collective.

  • Pianist Rich Ridenour is part of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra's concerts "Let it Snow!" which also feature soprano Rachel DeShon, the Elgin Choral Union, the Elgin Children's Chorus and the Midwest Dance Collective.

      Pianist Rich Ridenour is part of the Elgin Symphony Orchestra's concerts "Let it Snow!" which also feature soprano Rachel DeShon, the Elgin Choral Union, the Elgin Children's Chorus and the Midwest Dance Collective.

  • Chris Hardwick

      Chris Hardwick
    Associated Press

  • Comedian Chris Hardwick appears at Zanies in Chicago and Rosemont.

      Comedian Chris Hardwick appears at Zanies in Chicago and Rosemont.
    Photo courtesy of Brad Barket/PictureGroup

  • The Agape Ringers show off amazing handbell skills with the concert "Sounds of the Season" at the Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church on Saturday, Dec. 15.

      The Agape Ringers show off amazing handbell skills with the concert "Sounds of the Season" at the Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church on Saturday, Dec. 15.

  • Lindsey Ray stars as Clara in Dancenter North's "The Magic of the Nutcracker" at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan.

      Lindsey Ray stars as Clara in Dancenter North's "The Magic of the Nutcracker" at the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan.
    Courtesy of Studio West Photography

  • The Brookfield Zoo is lit up for the season on weekends and around Christmas for Holiday Magic.

      The Brookfield Zoo is lit up for the season on weekends and around Christmas for Holiday Magic.

  • "American Idol" finalist Clay Aiken performs at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.

      "American Idol" finalist Clay Aiken performs at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles.

 
 

Symphonic 'Snow'
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.

'Nerdist' noggin
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

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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

Nutcracker collection
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

Zoo aglow
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

Christmas Clay
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

Brassy holidays
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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