Santa on the beach? Lighted palm trees? Not this year. When you’re longing for a classic Christmas, there’s no place like The Florida Orchestra, sparkling with holiday magic that you can’t find at the mall.

Holiday Pops: The annual favorite is a jolly good time for the whole family. This year’s concert is a sleigh-load of classics you know and love, including Sleigh Ride, The Nutcracker, Winter Wonderland and a holiday sing-along. The concerts are Friday to Sunday, December 13-15 in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, with two matinees that won’t spoil anyone’s bedtime. Daniel Black conducts with Vanessa Thomas on vocals. Tickets start at $18 in the Raymond James Pops series.

Handel’s Messiah: For nearly 300 years, one work has brought audiences to their feet in the ultimate celebration of holiday joy: Handel’s Messiah, with its divine ‘Hallelujah’ chorus. Michael Francis leads the orchestra and The Master Chorale of Tampa Bay in three special performances, which will take place at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz (Thursday, December 19), the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg (Friday, December 20) and Indian Rocks Baptist Church (Sunday, December 21). Tickets start at $18 at the Mahaffey and $30 for general admission at the churches.

Holiday Brass: TFO’s incomparable brass and percussion sections perform festive favorites in the exquisitely renovated historic Tampa Theatre. Daniel Black conducts arrangements for brass and percussion ensemble, including Sleigh Ride, Ave Maria, The Nutcracker, Messiah’s ‘Hallelujah’ Chorus’ and classic carols. This will take place on Thursday, December 19 at 7 p.m.; $20 for general admission.

For details and tickets, visit

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