The holidays just wouldn't feel the same without the familiar carols and nostalgic sing-a-longs that symbolize the season. Of course, they sound even better when sung by an official choir—and in some sort of acoustically sound auditorium rather than in your shower. Thankfully, the Capital Region—aka Washington, D.C., and the surrounding suburbs in Northern Virginia and Maryland—has no shortage of holiday concert opportunities.
Holiday Concerts in Washington D.C.
In Washington, D.C., proper, you can choose between traditional Christmas concerts, a Kwanzaa iteration, or a show held in a conservatory.
- The Washington Revels: The Revels are a theatrical group based in Glen Echo, Maryland, and every winter, they put on a Winter Solstice concert at George Washington University's Lisner Auditorium. In 2020, the event will be all virtual. Tune in for traditional Revels singalongs, performances by virtual choruses, the Washington Revels Brass, and a rendition of "My Lord What a Mornin’" by the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices on December 20, 2020, at 7 p.m.
- Holiday events at the Kennedy Center: The Kennedy Center would normally hold holiday concerts in a variety of styles, but in 2020, all performances will be virtual and the venue will provide links to videos on its website.
- Kwanzaa Celebration at Dance Place: On December 29, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., the Coyaba Dance Theater West African Dance Company will host a high-energy virtual presentation (free to join) centered around the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
- Washington Chorus' A Candlelight Christmas: This popular holiday program and candlelight processional typically features traditional carols, contemporary compositions, and sing-a-longs accompanied by a brass ensemble and organ. In 2020, it will be live streamed online from December 18 to 20. Tickets are required.
- Season’s Greenings at the Botanic Garden: The United States Botanic Garden makes a jungly and unique setting for a holiday concert. It's Season's Greenings event, usually on select Tuesday and Thursday evenings leading up to the big day, will not be held this year as the Botanic Garden is temporarily closed.
- Free concerts at the Willard Hotel: The Willard Hotel usually presents performances from top choral and musical ensembles from around the Washington, D.C. area, but in 2020, all have been canceled.
Holiday Concerts in Maryland
Maryland's Capital Region puts on a range of holiday-themed performances, from a jazz club concert to the U.S. Naval Academy Glee Club's annual production.
- BlackRock Center for the Arts: The BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, Maryland, will host an evening of live-streamed performances featuring Broadway singers, drag queens, spoken word artists, dancers, an orchestra, and more, on December 18, from 7 to 8 p.m.
- Gaithersburg Community Chorus' holiday concert: On December 19, 2020, at 7 p.m., the Gaithersburg Community Chorus will hold its annual holiday concert virtually.
- USNA Messiah concert: The U.S. Naval Academy Glee Club's annual Messiah concert is powerful enough to send chills up your spine. This year, instead of holding it at the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra like usual, the concerts have been canceled.
- Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supperclub: This Bethesda institution serves up holiday classics, but makes them jazzy. In 2020, the Supperclub will remain closed through the season.
Concerts in Northern Virginia
In the Washington, D.C., suburbs of Northern Virginia, there are large-scale presentations (held by the U.S. Marines and George Mason University) and intimate church recitals alike.
- Wolf Trap National Park Holiday Sing-a-Long: Come sing along with Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs performed by the United States Marine Band. You can even bring candles to light during the last verse of "Silent Night," the final song of the program. In 2020, the event will be live streamed on December 5 and 19.
- Loudoun Symphony's holiday concert: The Loudoun Symphony usually performs at the Community Church, but this year's A Holiday Postcard show will be available online only starting December 20.
- George Mason University holiday concerts: All George Mason University holiday concerts and performances have been canceled for the 2020-2021 season.