Kicking off its 70th season, the Cape Ann Symphony will come roaring back to life with its Holiday Pops concerts this weekend.

After an 18-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the symphony will put on its Pops concerts in both Manchester-by-the-Sea and Ipswich.

In addition to the orchestra of more than 70 New England musicians, this holiday musical celebration features the 75-member Cape Ann Symphony Chorus, under the direction of Rockport’s Wendy Betts.

Performances are on Saturday, Nov. 27, at 2 p.m. at the Dolan Performing Arts Center at Ipswich High School, 130 High St. in Ipswich; and Saturday, Nov. 27, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 28, at 2 p.m. in the auditorium at Manchester Essex Regional High School, 36 Lincoln St. in Manchester.

Conductor and music director Yoichi Udagawa said he planned a joyful program of music. The program includes selections from Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker,” Anderson’s “Christmas Festival,” Courtney’s “Musicological Journey Through the 12 Days of Christmas,” Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel Prelude,” Hayman’s “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer,” Davis/Hayes’ “Little Drummer Boy,” Rutter’s “Joy To The World” and “Candlelight Carol,” Hayes’ “Believe” from the film “Polar Express,” Leavitt’s “Bashana Haba’ah,” and Holcomb’s “Festive Sounds of Hanukkah.”

Cape Ann Symphony Board President Fran White said this weekend marks a milestone for Cape Ann Symphony as it is the 70th anniversary of making music for the orchestra.

“We stayed strong during the pandemic due to the diligence and Herculean efforts of our board, music director, and musicians and most importantly, the incredible support from our patrons,” she said. “We are back and ready to make music for you for the next 70 years.”

Udagawa said the musicians are eager to return to the stage with a full orchestra.

“It will be a joyous celebration of the holiday season. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we all feel a tremendous sense of gratitude to the outpouring of support from our audiences and supporters, and we can’t wait to be together again with our audiences to make music and celebrate,” he said.

Single ticket prices are $45 for adults, $40 for senior citizens 65 and older, $20 for students of any age, and $5 for youths 12 years old and younger.

In accordance with COVID-19 safety protocols, concert-goers will be required to show proof of vaccination or present documentation of a negative test within 72 hours prior to the event.

Concern has been expressed that, while audience members will be required to wear masks and show proof of vaccination or negative tests, no assurance has been given regarding the musicians and choristers on stage.

White noted that all musicians and chorus members have been fully vaccinated. Also, all will be wearing masks, except for those playing wind instruments. While at this time it is unrealistic to require that young people be vaccinated, masks will be required.

For tickets and information, call 978-281-0543 or visit www.capeannsymphony.org

Lighting of the Castle

Hammond Castle Museum will host its first ever Community Celebration and Illumination event on Friday, Nov. 26.

The castle, 80 Hesperus Ave. in Gloucester, will be open at no charge to all Cape Ann residents (with proof of residency) for self-guided tours from 5 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

The festivities begin with the formal “Lighting of the Castle” at 5 p.m. when executive director Linda Harvey, will commence the celebration by illuminating Hammond Castle Museum and its iconic arches as part of the second annual Winter Lights Celebration hosted by Discover Gloucester. The museum has been decorated for its Deck The Halls holiday celebration with new holiday room concepts. No reservations are required.

Then on Tuesday, Nov. 30, from 5 to 7:30 pm., there will be a “Santa Letter Drop Off” and a “Meet & Greet.” Local elves have set up a pop-up post office with Ice Queen Cosplay Princess Parties’ characters. Adults $10, and children $20. Each child will place their letter in the special mailbox, receive treats, and have the opportunity for photos with their favorite characters including but not limited to Spiderman, Harley Quinn, Batman, Wonder Woman, Wreck It Ralph, and Rey & BB8, and Santa’s elves. The sessions last approximately 15 minutes within the castle. Advanced reservations are required. Parking is free.

For details on all events this month, visit hammondcastle.org.

Makers Market, book fair

The Cape Ann Makers Market, in partnership with the Magnolia Library and Community Center, is hosting a 2021 Holiday Makers Market and Book Sale Event on Sunday, Nov. 28, at 1 Lexington Ave. in Gloucester from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

The event features more than 25 Cape Ann artisans, crafters and makers offering jewelry, metal-smithing, pottery, painting, photography, woodworking, fiber arts, candles, hand-harvested artisanal sea salts, specialty jams, natural body care and more. Additionally, the library will hold a Holiday Book Fair at which Gloucester author Susan M. Lovett will be available to sign her book “Proof of Consequences!”

The vendor list includes After Hours Glass, All Purpose Flowers, Amaris, Angie’s Alpaca, Ardizzoni Photography, Audi Souza Arts, Beach Day Creative, Belo the Sea Treasures, Cape Ann Sea Salt, Clapping Waves Studio, Diane Treadwell Designs, Eleven Eleven Elixir, Gloucester Sea Glass Design, Greg Bover Custom Woodworking, Hold Fast Company, Keyes Candles, KuKu Clothing, Lauralee’s Country Kitchen, author Susan M. Lovett, Mini Lobster Traps/Gloucester Quilter, Nathlie Roytston Ceramics, Pat D’s Photos, Selkie Handknits, Sew Nice, Stockingfoot Knits, Temple of Enora, Tin Can Sally and Wheelworks Pottery.

For more details, visit the Cape Ann Makers Market Facebook page.

Three-Day Holiday Fair

Rocky Neck Art Colony presents a three-day holiday fair featuring 19 artists at the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck, 6 Wonson St. in Gloucester. The fair runs Friday, Nov. 26, noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 27, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is an artists’ reception on Friday from 5 to 7 p.m.

The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck will be transformed into a marketplace to showcase a variety of gifts for the holiday season in a “shop local” event. The wares for sale include hand-thrown ceramics, painted silk scarves, artisanal cards, prints and much more.

Additionally, there is a neighborhood walking tour on Sunday, Nov. 28, at 12:30 p.m., and a visit from Santa, also on Sunday, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Featured artists are Allison Phillips, Barbe Ennis, Deb Schradieck, Deb Way, Diane Slezak, Dina Gomery, Ellen Garvey, Fran Osten, Jane Keddy, Joan Bediz, Johanna Finnegan-Topitzer, John Abisamra, Judy Robinson-Cox, Katharine Bagley, Lisa Angelini-Adams, Mary Rhinelander, Melissa Cox, Tom Nihan and Vanessa Michalek.

For more information visit rockyneckartcolony.org or call 978-515-7004.

Around Cape Ann is a column devoted to events happening on Cape Ann and artists from Cape Ann performing elsewhere. If you would like to submit an item, contact reporter Gail McCarthy at 978-675-2706 or gmccarthy@gloucestertimes.com at least two weeks in advance.

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