The most fun you’ll have with a calendar of events all week. And you just might learn something, too.
Sunday, Dec. 17 — Family Holiday Concert, 4 to 6:30 p.m., Mechanics Hall, 321 Main St. Get your fill of seasonal music and the enthusiasm and talent of the young at this popular Worcester Youth Orchestras event. You could have gotten an afternoon meal with wine, too, but the table-service tickets are sold out. Waah. But even from the cheap seats you’ll see City Manager Ed Augustus guest-conduct “Sleigh Ride” — and for once, city councilors won’t be grading his job performance.
The Worcester Youth Symphony Orchestra, WY Philharmonic & String Orchestra, WY Wind Ensemble, WY Jazz Band and the Shepherd Hill Regional High School Choirs will perform. There could be a singalong or two, too.
Tickets (balcony) are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Free for ages 18 and under.
Sunday, Dec. 17 — Two special performances of “A Christmas Carol,” 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, 2 Southbridge St. Audiences will never tire of Scrooge’s crusty old heart melting — nor the ghostly visits that help open his eyes. The 11 a.m. sensory-friendly performance offers toned-down effects and other accommodations for people with autism and other sensory issues. The 4 p.m. performance offers enhanced audio descriptive services and ASL interpretation. Both special performances are enjoyable for everyone.
This year is the 10th anniversary of the Hanover’s own musical, and extremely well done, take on the Dickens classic. Other shows are 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 16; 7 p.m. Dec. 20 and 22; and 2 and 7 p.m. Dec. 23.
Tickets range from $14 to $55. For the sensory-friendly performance, they are $14 to $27.50. Tickets for the enhanced-audio performance also start at $14.
Tuesday, Dec. 19 — Winter solstice celebration, 6 p.m., Worcester Public Library Main Branch, 3 Salem Square The younger set celebrates the solstice in style (and two days early) by making a “gift for the birds,” hearing a story related to this official start of winter, and enjoying a warm snack. For ages 3-6 and their families. This is just one of several events for kids put on by the library this month.
The solstice celebration is free and held in the Children’s Program Room.
Friday, Dec. 22 — Blood drive, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Worcester JCC, 633 Salisbury St. ’Tis the season for giving and skiing, so do something nice for others in need and give yourself a lift. Donors at this American Red Cross blood drive will receive a free Wachusett Mountain ski pass and a long-sleeved T-shirt. Blood donations tend to drop around this time of year, making your generosity especially important. Scheduling an appointment is recommended.
Ongoing, through Jan. 7 — “Winter Reimagined,” 4-9 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays and 4-10 p.m. Fridays-Sundays, Tower Hill Botanic Garden, 11 French Drive, Boylston There’s going to come a point this winter when people will be “reimagining” winter in terms of an airline ticket to the tropics. But we are in the magical beginning period now, and Tower Hill’s “Winter Reimagined” is the ideal place to get into the spirit and festivity of the season. The grounds will be aglow with lights and the indoor spaces decorated with nature-inspired ornaments.
Tickets must be purchased online and in advance; visit the information page here, which includes a “purchase tickets” link, where patrons select the date and time of their arrival. Tickets are issued in 15-minute increments. The cost for regular adult admission is $15 on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings; $17 Thursdays-Sundays. Seniors 65 and over receive a discount of $5, and youths 6-18 receive a $10 discount. Children 5 and younger get in free. All admission fees are half price for members.
If you’re imagining going, don’t dawdle. Tickets tend to go fast, especially in the lead-up to Christmas.