Northeast Atlanta Ballet, Gwinnett Choral Guild launch holiday season

This week's turkey dinners and tree lightings are just the beginning for Gwinnett families as they get into the holiday mood. During the next few weeks, two beautiful productions will be among the first of seasonal offerings.

Launching the holidays will be Northeast Atlanta Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker." The company will be performing to the live music of the Gwinnett Community Symphony Orchestra this weekend at the Performing Arts Center at Gwinnett Center. There will be six performances: 2 and 7:30 p.m. today, 10 a.m., 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday.

This production will bring to life E.T.A. Hoffman's fairy tale about a young girl, Clara, and her Nutcracker Prince, as they battle the Mouse King, travel through the Land of Snowflakes and meet the Sugar Plum Fairy. The beautiful Tchaikovsky music provides a framework for the magical story.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by calling TicketMaster at 404-249-6400 or visiting the Gwinnett Center Box Office. For more information, call the Northeast Atlanta Ballet at 770-921-7277 or visit www.northeastatlantaballet.org.

The Gwinnett Choral Guild recently announced a season of three presentations that begin with "Christmas By Candlelight."

This musical will be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Buford First United Methodist Church, 285 E. Main St., in Buford. The event will feature carols that capture the spirit of Christmas, with special musical guests, including the Georgia Young Men's Ensemble. The production is conducted by G. Phillip Shoultz III. Tickets are $10 and $15. To purchase tickets, call 404-223-9962 or visit www.gwinnettchoralguild.org.

Two more upcoming events have been announced by the choral group, which was one of the first nonprofit arts groups established in Gwinnett County. The first event, slated for February, is the annual Gwinnett Choral Guild Gala, "A Taste of Historic Lawrenceville."

The gala will include an evening of Broadway tunes, and will be held in the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville. Admission includes appetizers, entrees, desserts, a silent auction and the performance itself. Tickets cost $30 to $35 and can be purchased by calling 404-223-9962 or 678-226-6222.

The Choral Guild will round out the year with "Spanning the Globe: Choral Gems from Near and Far," in May. For more information on these shows, visit www.gwinnettchoralguild.org.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. E-mail hcalmes@mindspring.com.