ARIZONA REPERTORY SINGERS. Tucson's premier choral ensemble performs sacred a cappella works and traditional holiday favorites at 7:30 tonight and Friday, December 15, at Mission San Xavier del Bac, 1950 W. San Xavier Road. Admission to this annual standing-room-only event is by donation, with proceeds contributing to the mission restoration fund. Call 792-8141 for information.
Tickets are $10, $8 for seniors and students, available at the door or in advance from Jeff's Classical Records and Hear's Music. The program will be repeated at 3 p.m. Sunday, December 17, at St. Philip's In The Hills, 4440 N. Campbell Ave. Call 327-4721 for information.
SUGARPLUM PROJECT. As far as we can tell, this is your last chance this season to see the Nutcracker ballet in Tucson. So if you've been holding out, wondering which fine production to take the kids to this year, the pressure's on. Tonight's rendition is presented by the Ballet Arts Foundation, which says theirs is "Tucson's own full-length holiday classic." If you're up-to-date on your calendar reading, you know the drill: toy soldiers, armed mice, a dashing hero and a one-way ticket to Candyland to visit that darling sweetmeat herself, the Sugarplum Fairy. Excuse us if that sounds more like cable TV than a wholesome fine art endeavor, but these recurring visions of sugarplums are making us nauseous.
Nutcracker people, you know who you are: Set your course for the PCC Center for the Arts, 2202 W. Anklam Road. Evening performances continue at 7 p.m. through December 17, with weekend matinees at 2 o'clock. All tickets are $12, available at Dillard's. Call 623-3373 for information.
HAVE A COW. If you think manatees are rare in Florida, try finding one in the lower Sonoran desert. As you can imagine, the Tucson chapter of the Save the Manatees Club has more than its share of obstacles to overcome in getting the word out on this Endangered Species of sea cow. They're sponsoring a festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Reid Park, 22nd Street and Country Club Road, to raise funds to rehabilitate injured manatees, further protective legislation and "fund manatee refuges in the United States." Bring a non-perishable food item for the Community Food Bank and receive two free carnival game tickets. Admission is free. Call 326-8803 for information.
Downtown Saturday Night. Another evening of after-hours fun is underway tonight in the Arts District, where galleries, book stores, toy vendors and restaurateurs vie for attention from 7 to 10 p.m. Thee Tragidiots, those Shakespearean street urchins rarely glimpsed outside Arizona Alley, present a holiday-theme performance at 7 p.m. in the Ronstadt Transit Center on Broadway and Sixth Avenue. Also in the Transit Center, the 50-member Desert Voices chorus performs Spanish carols and lullabies, followed by a holiday community sing-in.
But the real highlight this evening is the grand opening of the Youth Storefront Project, a nifty hands-on enterprise for kids termed "at risk" and "marginal" by traditional education standards. The project is a collaboration between educators, merchants and artists offering classes, workshops, work space and adult and peer mentors for this student-run gallery shop. The Storefront is one of the innovative fledgling programs at Project M.O.R.E. Alternative High School, and involvement in it will earn students school credits. The Storefront is at the west end of the old Louis Hotel off Arizona Alley, south of Broadway between Fifth and Sixth avenues. Open house hours are 5 to 11 p.m. For more information, call Thomas Anderson at 617-6460.
WINTER CELEBRATION. We have only three things to say: R. Carlos Nakai, William Eaton and Will Clipman. Each is a master in his field, and their collaboration for a third Winter Celebration Concert of Southwestern holiday music is sure to draw a full house. Nakai's internationally recognized impressionistic style weaves the soothing tones of the cedar flute with a rich tapestry of Native American culture, and it will be joined by the colorful harmonies of Eaton's hand-crafted instruments. Clipman, a new addition this year, rounds out the ensemble with all things percussive. This Arizona Historical Society event starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway. Tickets are $15, $12.50 for seniors, students, children under 12 and AHS members. There will be an additional concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, December 17. Call 628-5774 for information.
NACIMIENTO TOUR. Unto you is born this day in the city of saguaros a tour, which is the St. Elizabeth of Hungary tour. And this shall be a sign unto you. Ye shall find the sculptures and figurines cast in clay, residing in the Casa Cordova Museum and historic southwest homes. And there will be with the tour a multitude of adults and children praising collections and saying, "Oooh, neato in the highest," as they pay their $5 to support the Clinic's good will toward men with health services for the working poor. Behold! The seventh annual self-guided Nacimiento Tour starts at the Sosa-Carrillo-Fremont House Museum, 151 S. Granada Ave. Tickets and tour maps are available in advance at El Charro Restaurant, St. Ambrose Church, Our Mother of Sorrows Church and the Clinic, 140 W. Speedway. Tour hours are noon to 6 p.m. Call 326-1381 for information.
Trudy Griffin-Pierce is the author of Earth Is My Mother, Sky Is My Father: Space, Time, and Astronomy in Navajo Sandpainting and The Encyclopedia of Native America. For information on this and other Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society programs, call 327-7235.
The Brigade's first visual art show features sculptural wall assemblages and "pillow art" by singer/musician Cantrell Maryott; "offering vessels" in cast paper by visual artist To-Reé-Neé Keiser; mixed-media works by visual artist Katie Cooper; painting and tile work by blues guitar phenomenon Mitzi Cowell; and text and color photographs by poet Falkenstrom. Show continues through December 22 in DeGrazia's Little Gallery, 6300 N. Swan Road. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Call 299-9191 for information.
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