A bounty of Christmas concerts: Kansas City Symphony, folk music and so many choirs

Here’s a holiday concert that isn’t just for classical music fans: Violinist Destiny Ann Mermagen, flutist Mary Jamerson and harpist Brooke Knoll present “Christmas Folk” Dec. 17 at Old Mission United Methodist Church.

“People will be enveloped with merry warmth from the sounds of our unique combination of instruments,” Mermagen said. “We’ll play holiday and folk favorites with our own special twist. Only a bit of holiday repertoire exists for our combination of instruments, so we’ve enjoyed the challenge of making things fit together delightfully.”

Mermagen has a lot of experience bridging the worlds of folk and classical music. She released a CD called “From Bach to Barnburners” that combines the virtuosic music of Bach with down-home American fiddling. “Christmas Folk” will include the “Wexford Carol,” “Greensleeves,” “Here We Come A-Wassailing,” “Mug of Brown Ale” and “Bottom of the Punch Bowl.”

With a program like that, no wonder Mermagen promises that “Christmas Folk” will be “guaranteed fun.”

2:30 p.m. Dec. 17. Old Mission United Methodist Church, 5519 State Park Road, Fairway. $20.

Kansas City Symphony ‘Christmas Festival’

Warning: You may experience a rapid rise in tinsel levels when you attend the Kansas City Symphony’s “Christmas Festival” Dec. 14 through 17. For those of us who can’t get enough holiday excess, “Christmas Festival” is an annual must-see. This year, the symphony, led by guest conductor Caleb Young, and the Kansas City Symphony Chorus, directed by Charles Bruffy, will be joined by vocalist Blaine Krauss, the Allegro Choirs of Kansas City and a very special hyperborean guest.

7 p.m. Dec. 14-17, 1 p.m. Dec. 16, 2 p.m. Dec. 17. Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. $42-$107. 816-471-0400 or

William Jewell College

Every year, the department of performing arts at William Jewell College gives Kansas City a heartwarming musical gift, “City Come Again.” The William Jewell Concert Choir led by Anthony Maglione performs well-loved Christmas favorites, and special guests read seasonal poems and other writings. The concert is free and open to the public.

Noon Dec. 11. Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, 415 W. 13th St. Free.

William Baker Festival Singers

Those seeking a reverent and traditional Christmas concert should consider “Candlelight, Carols and Cathedral.” The William Baker Festival Singers will present their two annual performances Dec. 15 at the Catholic Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and Dec. 17 at the Episcopalian Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral. The soft glow of candles and rich, warm singing in an inspirational setting combine for a memorable holiday experience.

7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 416 W. 12th St. and 2 p.m. Dec. 17 at Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, 415 W. 13th St. $5-$75.

Voces Festivas will perform a Christmas concert Dec. 13.
Voces Festivas will perform a Christmas concert Dec. 13.

Navidad con Voces Festivas

Another choral group that is part of the Festival Singers family is Voces Festivas, a Spanish-language choir led by Leilani Velasco Vaughn. This unique choir will present “Navidad con Voces Festivas: Celebrating the Christmas Season” Dec. 13 at All Saints Church, a parish of immigrants in Kansas City, Kansas. Originally, the immigrants were from Eastern Europe, but more recently are from Mexico, Latin America and Burma. It’s a lovely church and the perfect setting for Voces Festivas.

7:30 p.m. Dec. 13. All Saints Church, 811 Vermont Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. Free.

Village Presbyterian Church presents “Tidings of Joy” in two concerts Dec. 17.
Village Presbyterian Church presents “Tidings of Joy” in two concerts Dec. 17.

Village Presbyterian Church

Village Presbyterian Church has one of the finest music programs in the city. Every year, the church presents “Tidings of Joy” to celebrate the season, and both the afternoon and evening performances are usually standing room only.

“Tidings of Joy” features readings and music provided by the church’s adult choirs and the award-winning Fountain City Brass Band. The concerts will be conducted by Joseph Parisi, Joshua Maize and Elisa Bickers, the church’s wonderful organist.

The concert is free, but donations will be taken for two ministries: Cherith Brook Catholic Worker and Care Beyond the Boulevard. Both organizations provide much-needed services, like meals, showers and medical care, to those without resources.

3 and 6 p.m. Dec. 17. Village Presbyterian Church, 6641 Mission Road, Prairie Village. Free.

Roberta Gumbel and Paul Turner

Roberta Gumbel, professor of voice at the University of Kansas, will present a Christmas concert at her parish, St. Therese Little Flower, on Dec. 17. She will be accompanied by pianist Paul Turner, whose family also attended St. Therese. Turner is a well-known local organist and is the pastor at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Gumbel and Turner will perform holiday hymns, songs and spirituals.

2 p.m. Dec. 17. St. Therese Little Flower, 5814 Euclid Ave. Free.

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