18 Ways to Enjoy Live Holiday Music in Northeast Wisconsin This Christmas

Christmas Music Green Bay Appleton

It’s really not that difficult to hear Christmas music this time of year. What’s hard is hearing the stuff you actually appreciate.

The same-old songs starts playing on the radio as soon as we swallow the last bite of Thanksgiving pie. It’s pumped into every store you visit with the hope that your spirit of giving also means a spirit of buying

But you can only hear I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas so many times before you lose your mind and start banging your head against the wall.

Thankfully, there are alternatives to the annoying stuff, and they may even inspire the true spirit of Christmas.

We found some of the best opportunities to enjoy classic Christmas carols and holiday tunes in Green Bay and the Fox Valley. Mark your calendars during this busy season and plan for some time to go out and celebrate.

You’ll find the events below organized by local venue….

Meyer Theatre – Green Bay

Frank's Christmas

A Frank’s Christmas at Meyer Theatre

1. A Frank’s Christmas (Various Dates)

Let Me Be Frank Productions always does an incredible job at bringing to life the memories and traditions of Northeast Wisconsin. This holiday season, they’re literally doing that with something that will bring on plenty of nostalgia for folks who grew up in Green Bay.

“A Frank’s Christmas” will focus on the familiar animated figures once featured in the window of Prange’s department store in the city’s downtown. The characters magically come alive and start creating all sorts of mischief. Frank Hermans plays Jack Frost – the caretaker of Santa’s workshop – who has to deal with all the shenanigans.

Humor, holiday music and a walk down memory lane are all in store.

“A Frank’s Christmas” will be performed on the Meyer Theatre stage throughout the month of December, with many shows taking place on weeknights, as well as several matinees.

2.  Spirit of the Holidays Celebration of Dance – Dec. 7th & 8th

Performers from Barb’s Centre for Dance in Green Bay will take to the Meyer Theatre stage for two dates this season.

The dance company will present its show The Spirit of the Holidays for the 15th year. You may also find the dancers performing at other local venues. Proceeds from these shows will benefit local charities.

The Meyer Theatre performances will support the Freedom House in Green Bay. Barb’s Centre for Dance has donated more than $123,000 to charity over the years. The first show will be on a Saturday night with a 1pm matinee on Sunday.

3. Green Bay Nutcracker Ballet – Dec. 13th, 14th & 15th

More dancing and one of the most beloved holiday stories of all time will also be featured at the Meyer when the Northeast Wisconsin Dance Organization presents the Green Bay Nutcracker Ballet.

Special guest artists from the North Carolina ballet will be performing along with local dancers to tell the story, which of course features the timeless score from Tchaikovsky including songs like Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies.

Fox Cities PAC – Appleton

Jingle Bell Doc Severinsen

Jingle Bell Doc coming to Fox Cities PAC

4. A Christmas Carol – Dec. 4th

It wouldn’t be the holidays without experiencing the story of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at least once. Why not see it live on stage at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center?

The tale of Ebeneezer Scrooge and his Christmas Eve redemption always reminds us what’s really important. It’s also become a tradition at the PAC with a performance from the Nebraska Theater Caravan coming to Appleton on December 4th. The show will include plenty of carols so you and the family can sing along.

5. Doc Severinsen’s Jingle Bell Doc – Dec. 13th & 14th

There’s just something about big band and swing that fits perfectly with the holiday season.

So many Christmastime favorites were performed by legends like Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

A living legend of jazz music will come to the PAC this month for a holiday show. Doc Severinsen – known to many as the Tonight Show band leader when Johnny Carson was host – will be in town with his trumpet for two concerts.

What’s especially cool about Jingle Bell Doc is that the community is getting involved too. The Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra, local choirs and handbell groups will perform alongside Doc Severinsen.

Watch some vintage 1970s Doc Severinsen in the video below!

6. Lori Line Born in Bethlehem – Dec. 16th

Classical pianist Lori Line already performed her holiday show at the Meyer. But if you missed it, you can catch her when she’s back in the area at the Fox Cities PAC on December 16th.

Born in Bethlehem is an inspirational re-telling of the first Christmas through music. Lori Line’s shows include colorful costumes and storytelling the whole family will enjoy. Kids 4 and up are welcome.

Weidner Center – Green Bay

Mannheim Steamroller

Mannheim Steamroller coming to the Weidner Center

7. Green Bay Symphony Orchestra Holiday Pops – Dec 13 and 14

Local music legend, Dudley Birder, will conduct the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra in its annual Holiday Pops concert at the Weidner Center on the UW Green Bay campus.

In addition to all the instruments, 130 voices will fill the Weidner Center as the Dudley Birder Chorale and Birder Studios children’s choir join some of the best musicians in our area. Your voice can ring out with joy too when you join in and sing along.

This is a great chance to hear your favorite Christmas Carols performed to perfection.

8. Mannheim Steamroller – Dec. 15th

Chip Davis and Mannheim Steamroller have practically become synonymous with Christmas music.

The group has sold millions and millions of albums full of Yuletide tunes, and their holiday tours are a major event. The shows include eye-popping lights, lasers and other multimedia effects.

Catch  them at the Weidner Center where they’ll be performing two concerts on December 15th.

9. The Oakridge Boys – Dec. 22nd

If an old-fashioned country/gospel Christmas is more your style, you won’t want to miss The Oakridge Boys at the Weidner Center. They’ll be in Green Bay just a few days before Christmas.

For the first half of the show, the boys will perform some of their favorite non-holiday hits in recognition of their 40th Anniversary Tour. You’ll hear songs like “Bobby Sue,” “Elvira” and “American Made.”

Then the stage will transform into a Christmas wonderland as the group performs rollicking tunes and heartfelt favorites in their trademark four-part harmony.

Lawrence Memorial Chapel – Appleton

Cory Chisel Christmas Show

Cory Chisel’s Evening of Holiday Mischief coming to Lawrence Memorial Chapel

10. Christmas on the Avenue – Dec. 7th

Local non-profit radio station, 91.1 The Avenue is hosting a special holiday concert at Lawrence University’s Memorial Chapel featuring Davina and the Vagabonds.

Davina Sowers and her band play music with roots deep in the blues. So it’s sure to be a very cool holiday concert. Check out the video below and just imagine what this group can do to classic Christmas songs.

Fannin Eleven – a group of 11 brothers and sisters from the area – will sing a capella Christmas Carols as the night’s opening act.

11. Cory Chisel’s Evening of Holiday Mischief – Dec. 12th

Oh, that Cory Chisel! He’s up to his old tricks!

Appleton’s favorite singer-songwriter will take a break from performing on the road and be back in his hometown for the holidays. Chisel has a lot to celebrate this season. He was the face of the brand new Mile of Music Festival, which was a huge hit in downtown Appleton this summer.

Chisel will be bringing some special guests with him to the Memorial Chapel stage. That includes long-time collaborator Adriel Denae and The Candles – the backup band to Norah Jones. The rumor is, there will be some surprise appearances at this concert as well.

One thing you have to respect about Chisel is how much he appreciates Appleton and works to create a vibrant music scene in Northeast Wisconsin. This is a can’t-miss show for music lovers.

What kind of mischief can you expect? Check out the holiday video below. It’s holiday poem from several years ago that Cory put together with some of his friends from the music world.

12. A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols – Appleton Boychoir – Dec. 6th

Long before Cory Chisel became a household name in independent music, he was fresh-faced member of the Appleton Boychoir.

They will be performing their annual holiday concert at Lawrence University on December 6th. The group is celebrating its 35th anniversary. Hear these talented voices perform – before they hit puberty.

The choir’s show includes readings from the Bible as the music helps bring the original Christmas story to life.

13. Lawrence University Girl Choir “Yuletide Carols” Concert – Dec. 14th

The young ladies of Appleton are also holding a holiday concert inside Memorial Chapel.

The 300-member girl choir from the Lawrence Academy of Music will be singing out holiday favorites as well as more modern compositions. That includes Haitian composer Sydney Guillaume’s “Akeem” and Benjamin Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols,” as part of the world-wide celebration of the centennial of Britten’s birth.

The Grand Opera House – Oshkosh

14. UWO Jazz Ensemble with Steve March Torme – Dec 8th

You’ll get another chance to hear toe-tapping holiday jazz when musicians from UW Oshkosh perform at the Grand Opera House in Oshkosh.

The jazz ensemble’s special guest is Steve March-Tormé – who you’ve probably heard on the radio hosting The Avenue’s Afternoon Drive show. He’s also the son of legendary crooner Mel Tormé who co-wrote the holiday classic “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire).”

Hearing Steve sing his dad’s beloved song is a sure bet! Watch Mel perform his song with Judy Garland in the video below.

15. Boogie’s Rockin’ Christmas – Dec 21st

Boogie and the Yo-Yoz are one of the most popular local bands in Northeast Wisconsin. They’ve been entertaining folks in our area for nearly two decades as a cover band, and recently started writing their own songs.

This band pretty much plays everything. So you’re sure to get an entertaining concert with fun spins on the Christmas music you love. This will be Boogies and Yo Yoz’s first-ever holiday concert. It should be a fantastic way to celebrate on the Saturday before Christmas.

St. Norbert College – De Pere

White Christmas St. Norbert

“White Christmas” from Evergreen Productions

16. The Dance Company Presents The Nutcracker – Nov. 30th and Dec 1st

Here’s another chance to see the enchanting story of The Nutcracker and hear the magical music of Tchaikovsky. The Dance Company of Green Bay will perform the ballet for its 35th year along with special guest dancers from the Milwaukee Ballet.

Watch the brave Nutcracker take on that dastardly Mouse King! After the Saturday matinee, you can join performers for holiday treats at The Sugar Plum Party for $3.

17. Evergreen Productions Presents: White Christmas (Various Dates)

This stage performance of the popular musical film starring Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby is guaranteed to make you feel all Christmassy.

The story of White Christmas centers around a couple of U.S. Army buddies with their own traveling show. They end up at a ski resort in Vermont where they try to woo women – specifically a pair of sisters who have their own act too. If Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn could sing and dance – they’d be perfect for a remake of this film.

Find out how local actors portray these iconic film roles when Evergreen Productions presents White Christmas featuring the music of Irving Berlin. Shows will take place over two weekends in mid-December.

Watch a clip from the original film below!

Hearthstone Historic House Museum – Appleton

18. A Musical Victorian Christmas (Various Dates)

Take a trip back in time while listening to Christmas carols at the Hearthstone Historic House in Appleton.

Tours at the museum will include rooms (and halls) decked out for the season and Christmas trees decorated with a “musical style.”  Plus, enjoy live entertainment too.

We Want You to Tell Us More!

There are plenty of other Christmas concerts happening all over the area over the next few weeks.

It would be impossible for us to list them all. So we need you to help us out.

Please feel free to leave a comment below and tell us about the musical events at your school, church or other organization!

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