Morristown weekend preview: Stuff your stocking with holiday cheer

santa express
The Santa Claus Express rolls from the Whippany Railway Museum hourly on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
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So much to do, so little time!  Prepare to catch the holiday bug–and we mean the good kind, not the Nyquil version. Here is a sampling of weekend events around Morristown. Make sure to check our great calendar for more!

THURSDAY:

We’re willing to bet that the Bishop of Jazz, Rio Clemente, will pull a jazzy holiday number or two from his piano during his noontime concert at the Morristown United Methodist Church. A light lunch may be purchased after the show.

Jersey Club Sports is hosting a holiday party at the Side Bar of Morristown’s Famished Frog starting at 7 pm. Please bring an item for the homeless or a donation for the Interfaith Council for Homeless Families of Morris County. A silent auction with great prizes–from tickets to a Lady Gaga concert to memberships in local health clubs–will benefit charity. A flat screen TV will be raffled off, too.

FRIDAY:

Hard to believe, but the Christmas Festival on the Morristown Green already is entering weekend three…better get cracking on my Christmas shopping!   From 4 to 5 pm, Chef Andy Black of the Hyatt Morristown will demonstrate cookie decorating. Santa is open for business from 4 to 8 pm.

For the Love of Art, a new exhibit, opens at the Center for Spiritual Living at 331 Mount Kemble Ave. in Morristown. A reception runs from 5 pm to 7 pm. The show goes until Feb. 4 and features artists Anju Saran, Cathy Maguire, Cathy Comora and
Zoila Ferise.

Over at Morristown’s Gallery Egan, a month-long show by artist Pasquale Cuppari kicks off with a reception at 7 pm.

Poetry lovers will want to stop by Morristown’s Willow Hall, where readings will celebrate John Noonan’s poems. The Morristown native passed away last year. The readings start at 7:30. Admission is free. There is parking behind the Columbia Club on Speedwell Avenue.

Who are the folk stars of tomorrow?  Is there such a thing as a folk star?  Find out at tonight’s Open Stage at The Minstrel in Morris Township. The 15-minute sets begin at 8 pm. Admission: $7.

The Morris Choral Society presents its annual holiday concert at the Bickford Theatre in Morris Township. Showtime is 8 pm, with an encore performance on Sunday at 3 pm. Rio Clemente, the Bishop of Jazz, will take a turn at the piano. Admission: $25; $20 for seniors, $15 for students.

For an emerald Christmas, hear Irish tenors Ciaran Nagle, Des Willoughby and Kenneth O’Regan sing holiday favorites at the Community Theatre at 8 pm. Tickets are $42-$57.

santa express
The Santa Claus Express rolls from the Whippany Railway Museum hourly on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

SATURDAY:

Calvary Baptist Church in Morristown is hosting a seminar of compassion, Unto the Least of Thee, from 8 am until noon, featuring speaker Michael Bethune, who has been a chaplain at the Market Street Mission and a preacher to NFL teams. There is a $10 fee for workbooks.

The Christmas Festival on the Morristown Green continues with a full schedule: Santa visits from noon to 7 pm. There is a LEGO take-home craft demonstration from 1 to 3 pm. From 2 to 4 pm, check out the ice sculpting. Electric train rides run from 1 to 7 pm.

Can’t get enough trains?  Check out the Santa Claus Express at the Whippany Railway Museum. Forty-five minute rides in antique train cars depart hourly between 1 pm and 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $15 for adults, $11 for kids.

A Teddy Bear Tea is scheduled at the Morris Museum at 11 am, 1 pm and 3 pm. Santa will bring a gift for good girls and boys. Cost: $20 per person, with a one-time $5 service fee.

Will Cantata for the Animals become the next holiday classic?  The Harmonium Choral Society votes yes with an 8 pm performance of the work, which it commissioned in 1996,  at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown. Also on the “New Earth” program: Monteverdi’s Magnificat 1640, Britten’s Rejoice in the Lamb and works by Warlock, Tischeli, Chesnokov and more. With chamber ensemble. Admission: $25. A second performance is scheduled for Sunday at 3 pm.

You will certainly hear some time-tested holiday classics at the Doo Wop Yule Pop show at Morristown’s Community Theatre. The Flamingos, Arlene Smith’s Chantels, the Clovers, Randy & the Rainbows, Johnny and Joe and the Blue Suede Orchestra promise a croonful evening, starting at 8 pm. Tickets: $57 to $87. Some discounts may be available; inquire at the box office.

Everyone’s favorite (or co-favorite) UFO hoaxster, Joe Rudy, will be making music–this is for real!–at the Side Bar of Morristown’s Famished Frog starting at 9:30 pm. Joe’s trio is called The Blue Room, featuring singers Sherin Hanafy and Alison Kurtz. We caught their last gig and can report that they are pleasantly down-to-earth. None of that Martian stuff from Joe’s early days.

the blue room, with joe rudy
The Blue Room will be playing the Side Bar. That's Alison Kurtz, Sherin Hanafy and Joe Rudy. They perform at 9:30 pm. The Side Bar is part of Morristown's Famished Frog. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

SUNDAY:

The Christmas Festival on the Morristown Green has the same schedule as Saturday, with one change: Gingerbread house-making from 12:30 to 2 pm replaces the LEGO demonstration.

At 3 pm, the Harmonium Choral Society performs Cantata for the Animals and more at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown. Admission: $25. See Saturday listing (above) for more details.

Also at 3 pm, it’s the annual holiday concert by the Morris Choral Society, at the Bickford Theatre in Morris Township. Tickets: $25; $20 for seniors, $15 for students.

The Morristown Presbyterian Church continues its Celtic Christmas tradition at 4 pm with readings, hymns and instruments from Celtic lands. And we’re not talking basketball. This reflective service enters its 11th year.

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