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Santa Fe: What is There to Do In Early December?

The short answer would be LOTS! With the onset of the holiday season, Santa Fe, like so many other wonderful destinations, comes alive! The wind is crisp, the scent of pinon is on the air, and holiday lights are lit. While the most obvious choice is to be here for the Christmas holiday, especially since the Inn is such an ideal location for touring the Canyon Road and Plaza farolitos, there are definitely many local events in which to participate before the full-bore holiday week.

The month opens with the annual Rumi Concert, a Storydancer project encompassing music, poetry, dance and song presented by local and national talents. Although the esteemed Robert Bly is no longer a visitor, the poetry slot will be filled by Coleman Barks, poet and translator of the 13th century mystical poet, Rumi. Grammy-award winning cellist, David Darling, and Glen Velez, world percussionist, bring harmony and rhythm, and Zuleikha, of the Storydancer Project, contributes both dance and humor. This is always an evening collaboration that lingers in the mind!

Friday, December 3rd, offers first Friday gallery openings throughout the city. This will be an excellent night on which you can combine both galleries and museum-going, since the New Mexico Museum of Art is offering “Vintage Music and Homemade Cookies,” from 5:00 to 8:00PM, with holiday music spun on vintage LPs by the museum’s own DJ Prairie Dog and cookies baked by museum staff! And since it’s the first Friday of the month, that means the O’Keeffe Museum is free too!

Holiday season also means children’s theatre, and the Eldorado Children’s Theatre and Teen Players always put on an entertaining show. This year, the troupe presents the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic , The King and I.  Performances takes place at the James A. Little Theatre on Friday, December 3 and Friday, December 10 at 7:00 PM, and at 2:00PM on Saturday, December 4, Sunday December 5, Saturday, December 11, and Sunday, December 12. Tickets can be reserved on line at www.eldoradochildrenstheatre.org, or by calling 466-4656. Great theatre always has to start somewhere, and talent can be found everywhere!

Adult theatre can be found in From Broadway with Love at the Lensic at 7:30PM on Saturday, December 4th.  Kaye Ballard, Liliane Montevecchi, and Donna McKechnie will reunite to star in a one-night-only gala performance to benefit Animal Protection of New Mexico, a non-profit organization that has been challenging historic and widespread animal cruelty in New Mexico for more than 30 years.

Worldy theatre aficionados will thrill to know that there will be an HD simulcast of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, as part of the second season of National Theatre Live (NT LIVE), a successful new initiative to broadcast live performances from the National’s stages to cinemas worldwide. The broadcast takes place at the Lensic Center on Friday, December 17 at 7:00PM.

Of course, there will be music and song aplenty! The Santa Fe Men’s Camerata and Zia Singers Holiday Concert takes place at the wonderful Scottish Rite Temple, a landmark in itself, on Saturday, December 4 at 8:00PM and Sunday, December 5 at 4:00PM. The Camerata and the Zia, both directed by Kenneth Knight will join forces for a concert of holiday music, including works from Mendelssohn and Grieg. The combined chorus, about 55 voices strong, will also perform “The Christmas Story According to St. Luke,” a medley of seven well-known Christmas carols arranged by Roger Wagner. The Santa Fe Concert Association brings The King’s Singers for a performance on Wednesday, December 8 at 7:30PM in the St. Francis Cathedral, the perfect spot for holiday chorale.

Not to be outdone by the men, the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble celebrates the holiday withtheir 30th consecutive Christmas Offering Concert. The Ensemble will sing seasonal music and a world premiere by internationally known composer Stephen Paulus, who will be present for the opening concert on Saturday, December 11th. There are several opportunities to attend with concerts on Saturday, December 11; Sunday, December 12; Friday, December 17;and Satueday, December 18, all in Loretto Chapel at 7:30PM.

Music made by the youthful talents of Santa Fe will be on parade at the Mozart y Mariachi Concert, taking place at the St. Francis Auditorium on Friday, December 10 at 6:30PM. This will be some fine mariachi music, performed with spirit and passion, regardless of the performers’ ages and early bedtimes! Classically-inclined youth musicians get their chance to shine on stage on Sunday, December 12 with a performance by the Youth  Philharmonia and Youth Symphony Orchestra in concert at 1:00PM also in the St. Francis auditorium.

Could the holidays be complete without the Nutcracker? Aspen Santa Fe Ballet does the honors with four performances of Tchaikovsky’s holiday treat, two on Saturday, December 11 at 2:00PM and 7:30 PM and two on Sunday, at 1:00PM and 5:00PM. This dance company gets better every year, and Santa Fe is very grateful to have them in our midst to sprinkle snowflakes and sugarplums!

The visual arts will not be neglected as fabulous holiday gifts handcrafted by more than 100 traditional and acclaimed Hispanic artists can be found at the Winter Spanish Market taking place Saturday and Sunday, December 4 and 5 from 10:00AM to 5:00PM at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. And Museum Hill gets into the act on Sunday, December 5th from 10:00AM to 5:00PM with a Winter Festival to celebrate the season, with fun for all ages! There will be  hands-on art making in the Atrium, a performance by the Sangre de Christo Chorale, Creative Writings and Readings from the Santa Fe Community College Creative Writing Program, and a Doña Adelina puppet performance by Los Titiriteros. Now that’s a roster! The 4th Annual Holiday Market at Institute of American Indian Arts takes place on Sunday, December 12 from 9:00AM TO 3:00PM at the Institute, with fun and fantastic creations by IAIA faculty, staff, students, alumni, student clubs and other Native American artists. The school itself is a marvel, surrounded by the glorious New Mexico landscape, where it offers a refuge for young Native artists to discover their roots and culture.

Talk about art is always on tap in Santa Fe, and the Santa Fe Art Institute brings art critic Lucy Lippard as the final lecturer in their program, Elemental: Earth Air Fire Water – Art and Environment. Lippard is the author of over 20 books on contemporary art and has written art criticism for Art in America and The Village Voice.  She has also curated over 50 exhibitions, participated in guerrilla theater, and edited a number of independent publications, including “La Puente de Galisteo” in her home community of Galisteo, New Mexico. The lecture takes place on Thursday, December 9 at 6:00Pm at the Santa Fe Art Institute.

If you won’t be here for Christmas, you can still capture the unique flavor of New Mexico with Las Posadas, an annual re-enactment of the Nativity search for shelter. You can join this tradition on the beautiful Santa Fe Plaza at 5:30PM on Saturday, December 11, as this annual candle-lit procession wends it way around the Plaza, concluding in the courtyard of the  Palace of the Governors’ courtyard with carols, cookies and refreshments.

All this and holiday shopping of the unique brand found in our special destination; the flavor of Christmas and the flavor of Santa Fe combine to make pre-holiday travel a joy, regardless of the weather!

Please feel free to contact our friendly staff to find out more about events that interest you or to make reservations for any Santa Fe December happenings!

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