Christmas Is Just Around the Corner - TribPapers

Christmas Is Just Around the Corner

A reenactment of the birth of Christ, a creche scene, has a cast of live characters. Photo courtesy of Asheville Nativity Exhibit.

Asheville – The holiday season is in full swing, and there are several upcoming events worth adding to your calendar. From missed parades to charming festivals, ensure you don’t miss out on the ones that truly matter to you. With Black Mountain, Brevard, Hendersonville, and Weaverville parades all scheduled for Saturday, December 2, the air will be filled with Christmas spirit, joyful music, and vibrant decorations throughout the area.

For a truly enchanting experience, venture into Biltmore Village and immerse yourself in the Dickens In the Village Festival on December 1st and 2nd. The village will twinkle with lights, enchanting carolers will serenade your every step, and craft vendors will entice you with their delightful offerings. If you’re in search of unique gifts or decorations, don’t miss the French Broad River Garden Club’s Christmas Sale at 1000 Hendersonville Road, where you’ll find a treasure trove of uncommon and exquisite items.

Make it a point to drive through the enchanting Biltmore Estate to witness the breathtaking sight of countless illuminated trees, dazzling decorations, and the awe-inspiring 175,000 square foot Chåteauesque mansion. Step inside to be greeted by a magnificent towering Christmas tree at the entrance, a profusion of fragrant wreaths, glittering garlands, and an abundance of poinsettias and ribbons. For an extra special treat, reserve your tickets in advance for the Candlelight Christmas evenings, as they are in high demand during this magical season.

Two other less published events worth considering are the Asheville Nativity Exhibit and the Asheville Choral Society’s Yuletide Choral Concert.

Asheville Nativity Exhibit

The Asheville Nativity Exhibit is returning to the First Baptist Church of Asheville from December 6th through 13th. (Weekdays 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. weekend: Noon – 6:00 p.m.— and is free to all). This is an extraordinary exhibit of Christmas Nativity sets from Around the World with over 250 Nativity sets from more than sixty countries. Individuals, churches and organizations put them on display, which highlights the cultural diversity of each creche. They are quite distinctive and original.

A crèche, often called a Nativity scene, is an artistic representation of the birth of Jesus Christ. While focusing on the central figures of the mother Mary and Christ Child, crèche artists often telescope time and place to bring together a host of earthly and heavenly participants—shepherds, animals, wise men, angels, and commoners. For centuries, the crèche as an art form has spanned the globe, flourishing in homes and churches worldwide. Whether the crèche contains 19th century Italian villagers dressed in silks and jewels or contemporary African animal herders made of clay, each representation reflects the unique time and culture of the artist.

In 2019, seven Asheville area churches came together to organize an exhibit that drew over 2000 attendees. However, due to Covid, the event had to go virtual in 2020. Throughout the history of the exhibit, notable churches such as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, First Baptist Church of Asheville, and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church have participated. Attendees have expressed their admiration with comments like “Awesome!” and “Impressive and beautifully done.” Musical groups, individual musicians and choirs add to the ambiance on weekends. For the 2023 event, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and First Baptist Church of Asheville will be organizing the exhibit, with a dedicated committee consisting of Kim Garner, Casey Callahan, Linda Hodge, Wanda Workman, Jerry Beavers and Steve Stay, overseeing its execution.

The Asheville Choral Society’s Yuletide Candlelight Concert.

The Asheville Choral Society will present their annual celebration of the season in song with 130 singers, organ and brass quintet, who range in age from 15 to 80+, This is a very special holiday event which sells out quickly. Two concerts are being held this year, Friday, December 1 at 7 p.m. and Saturday,December 2, at 2 p.m. This will be held at the Arden Presbyterian Church at 2215 Hendersonville Road. Adult tickets are $25 and student tickets, $15, with online only livestream viewing also available on Saturday.

The Asheville Choral Society is made up of 100+ auditioned singers of all ages. Photo courtesy of Asheville Choral Society.
The Asheville Choral Society is made up of 100+ auditioned singers of all ages. Photo courtesy of Asheville Choral Society.

Founded in 1977 by a small group of passionate singers, the ACS aimed to create a dedicated choral group. Recognizing the need for a professional director, they were fortunate to have the late Dr. Robert P. Keener as their Music Director Emeritus for the first 22 seasons. Under the leadership of Music Director Lenora Thom from 2000 to 2010, the ACS experienced incredible artistic and organizational growth. After an extensive audition process in 2010, Artistic Director Dr. Melodie Galloway was selected and continues to lead the Choral Society while also serving as a full professor of music at UNC-A. Dr. Galloway’s talent has been recognized with performances at the White House Holiday Open House from 2006 to 2018, including a private audience with President and Mrs. Obama in 2012.

Now in its 41st season, the ACS has garnered a reputation as one of Western North Carolina’s premier music organizations, and has been praised for the versatility, originality, and challenging nature of its programming. The ACS performs with the area’s finest musicians, and has forged artistic collaborations with the Celebration Singers — Asheville’s outstanding youth choir, the Asheville Symphony Chorus, Cantaria, and other acclaimed musical ensembles.

The ACS actively engages with the Asheville community through public performances, holiday caroling, and partnerships with nonprofit organizations like Habitat for Humanity, MANNA FoodBank, and the Asheville Humane Society. They have participated in the Asheville Amadeus 2017 Festival, featuring the world premiere of a commissioned work. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Asheville Choral Society is dedicated to making a positive impact. Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the Yuletide Candlelight Concert at the Presbyterian Church on 2215 Hendersonville Road, an event you won’t want to miss this year.