Holiday concerts bring free festive fun

The holidays are a great time to bundle up and head out with your friends to enjoy community groups performing, especially when they won’t cost one cent of your present buying budget. Three local groups are performing free holiday concerts this month. Take some time off from your holiday to-do list to go enjoy them!

The Las Cruces Ukes will perform two free holiday concerts, December 7 and 14.
The Las Cruces Ukes will perform two free holiday concerts, December 7 and 14.
Las Cruces Ukes: December 7 & 14
The Las Cruces Ukes, a community group of ukulele enthusiasts, will perform two free holiday concerts this month: Wednesday, December 7, at 6 p.m. at Good Samaritan — Las Cruces Village in the auditorium, 3011 Buena Vida Circle and the next Wednesday, December 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Rio Grande Theatre, 211 N. Main Street. The concert, “Ring in the Holidays,” will feature a variety of holiday songs, such as Mele Kalikimaka, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree, Silver Bells, a parody of All I Want For Christmas, and Ocho Kandelikas for Hanukkah. Their special guests for the Good Samaritan concert will be the Las Cruces Ukes Kids Club performing Up on a Housetop. Their guests at the Rio Grande Theatre concert will be the Las Cruces Ukes Teen Club.

This is the second year the popular group has performed a holiday concert. For more information about the Las Cruces Ukes, visit their website,, or their Facebook page.

Mesilla Valley Teen Singers: December 9
The Mesilla Valley Teen Singers, under the direction of Terry Kay Gilbert and assistant director Kenton Baker, with musical accompaniment by Barbara Toth, will perform a free holiday concert Friday, December 9, at 7 p.m. Their eleventh annual holiday concert is entitled “Christmas Time is Here” and will include a wide variety of pieces including Riu, Riu, Chiu, a Spanish carol from 1556 and Bidi Bom, a Hanukkah song, as well as Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker Suite, and Vince Guaraldi’s classic Christmas Time is Here, made popular through the annual Charlie Brown Christmas special. Performed in the style of the traditional English Nine Lessons and Carols, the concert will include choral works interspersed with selected readings appropriate for the season.

The group is made up of over 40 teens from throughout Las Cruces who attend area high schools or are home schooled. They spend the entire semester preparing for the concert, which they consider their holiday gift to the community.

The singers also invite the audience to join them for refreshments after the performance. The concert takes place at University Presbyterian Church, 2010 E. Wisconsin Avenue, behind the Pan Am Plaza.

More information about the group can be found at

(Above) The New Horizons Band under the direction of John Schutz. (Right) The Mesilla Valley Teen Singers will perform a free concert Friday, December 9.
(Above) The New Horizons Band under the direction of John Schutz. (Right) The Mesilla Valley Teen Singers will perform a free concert Friday, December 9.
New Horizons Band: December 10
You can enjoy some great holiday tunes and other beautiful and patriotic music during New Horizons Band of Las Cruces’ free holiday concert, which begins at 3 p.m. on Saturday, December 10, in the music building (Atkinson Recital Hall), 1075 N. Horseshoe, on the New Mexico State University campus.

The program will include a performance of The Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key, arranged by Michael Sweeney; Air (for Band) and Balladair, both by Frank Erickson; Suite from Bohemia by Vaclav Nelhybel, including Procession to the Castle, Folk Tale, Tournament and Round Dance; An English Christmas by Clare Grundman; Burma Patrol by Karl King, arranged by James Swearingen; Sleigh Ride, by Leroy Anderson; and Bell Carol a La Big Band by Rob Romeyn.

This is the band’s final concert of 2016. Its first concert in 2017 will be Sunday, February 12, followed by a spring concert on Saturday, May 20. There is no charge to attend any of the band’s performances.

New Horizons Band is directed by John R. Schutz, who spent more than 40 years with Las Cruces Public Schools as a middle- and high school band director and as coordinator of fine arts before his retirement in 2014. The band’s associate director is Judy Bethmann, a retired LCPS music teacher.

New Horizons Band was started nationally by Roy Ernst, PhD. at the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York in 1991. There are more than 130 New Horizons Bands across the nation. Former NMSU Music Department Director Dr. William Clark started the Las Cruces New Horizons Band in 1995. It is a nonprofit comprised entirely of volunteers.

New members are welcome and no musical experience is required.

The band rehearses from 6:30 to 8 p.m. each Tuesday evening in the NMSU music building band room.

New Horizons Band is sponsored by the NMSU Music Department and White’s Music Box of Las Cruces. It is comprised of more than 50 musicians, mostly of retirement age, but with a few younger players who are home schooled or attend LCPS’ Arrowhead Park Early College High School, which does not offer music as an elective option.

For more information, contact Nora Yaryan at 649-1465 or Visit and