Celebrate the Season with the Washington Center

Ballet Northwest Nutcracker
Ballet Northwest's Nutcracker is held annually at The Washington Center for the Performing Arts.

Nothing makes it feel like the holidays more than seasonal music. The Washington Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Olympia is the perfect place to get into the spirit with a seasonal concert or holiday performance.

Seasonal fun begins Thanksgiving weekend during Downtown for the Holidays. SideWalk’s Gingerbread Village returns with a stunning variety of gingerbread house and castle designs, created by teams of local bakers and artists. For a small donation of $1 per vote visitors can choose their favorite.

washington center holiday shows
Dorrie Carr and Shelly Thomas pose by the “Candy Tree” in the Washington Center lobby during a holiday performance. Photo credit: Shanna Paxton Photography

These one-of-a-kind creations will be auctioned off for continued enjoyment throughout the season with the money raised given to benefit SideWalk’s mission to end homelessness in Thurston County. The auction will take place Saturday evening at the Gingerbread Social from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.  Public viewing of the creations is offered on Sunday, November 26 from noon to 3:00 p.m.

That same afternoon, after viewing the houses, join the community for the annual movie sing-along, this year featuring the classic, Annie. “I’m so excited for our sing along event this year,” says Billy Thomas, Director of Marketing and Sales at the Center. “Families look forward to this event all year. We are thrilled to be part of so many folks’ local holiday traditions.” Tickets are $22 and include a costume contest and introduction by local favorite, Lauren O’Neill. Which song is your favorite? I’m going to have to pick “It’s a Hard Knock Life.”

The Washington Center
The Annie Sing-A-Long is a great event for the whole family. Don’t forget to don your best costume for a special contest. Photo courtesy: The Washington Center

Kenny G will be gracing the Washington Center stage on November 29 with his signature smooth jazz. His first Christmas album, Miracles: The Holiday Album is one of the best selling yuletide albums ever produced. A special evening of festive music is in store when the king of smooth jazz, Kenny G is in the house. More information and tickets can be found here.

The month of December will be kicked off with a performance by the South Puget Sound Community Orchestra on December 2 at the Minnaert Center. This is the first concert of the SPSC Orchestra’s 2017-2018 season. The concert will open with the Festival Overture of Dmitri Shostakovich featuring brass players from Olympia High School. Tchaikovsky’s beloved Nutcracker will close out the first half of the show. The second half will feature singers from “Kids in Concert” performing tunes from the holiday favorite “Home Alone” alongside the orchestra.

sing-along messiah
SOGO’s sing-along Messiah usually fills the house at The Washington Center.

If the opportunity to sing along is more your style, choose the downtown Washington Center on December 2, instead, to ring in the holidays with a broad range of holiday favorites including favorites from Christmas and Winter Solstice to Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. The Masterworks Choral Ensemble will provide many opportunities for the audience to join them in singing along during this fun evening of celebration for family and friends.

Tune up your voices again for December 18 at the Washington Center where the entire community is invited to a Messiah Sing-A-Long, presented by the Student Orchestras of Greater Olympia and The Washington Center. Admission is free and will feature the audience as the chorus. Sing along or just listen to the guest conductors and soloists performing Handel’s Messiah.

Nutcracker, Olympia
The Nutcracker Ballet is a highlight of the holiday season for many families with shows at The Minnaert Center and The Washington Center.

For many local families the holidays are not complete without a performance of The Nutcracker. We are fortunate enough to have not just one, but two local ballet companies producing The Nutcracker Ballet. Both companies spend months preparing their dancers for the show of the season. Ballet Northwest returns to the Washington Center Main Stage with beautiful brand new sets for the Snow and Land of Sweets scenes. Ballet Northwest will perform The Nutcracker at the Washington Center from December 8 through December 17 with both evening and matinee performances.

The dancers of Studio West Dance Theater will be performing The Nutcracker at The Minnaert Center from December 14 through 18. The Studio West performances feature over 230 performers and a magical snow scene complete with a whirlwind of swirling snowflakes. The holiday classic combines traditional ballet with comical surprises the whole family will love. Younger patrons are invited to join “Clara” at a special Winter Wonderland Party beginning one hour before each matinee performance.

For your viewing pleasure The Washington Center is please to celebrate twenty years with the Sew Many Stars quilting group. The Holiday Quilt Exhibit is an annual celebration of American textile arts.

washington center quilts
Throughout the season, incredible quilts will be on display throughout The Center. Photo credit: Shanna Paxton

The quilts displayed throughout the Washington Center will feature both historical patterns and contemporary techniques, and are complimented throughout the Center by festive holiday décor courtesy of Dorrie Carr and Shelly Thomas. The gallery is open to the public for viewing by appointment Monday through Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and to ticketed patrons one hour prior to an event. A free reception is scheduled for Friday, November 17 at 6:00 p.m. to kick off the exhibit.

There is truly something for everyone this holiday season at the Washington Center. Your only choice, now, is what shows will you choose?

For more information visit www.washingtoncenter.org

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