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HAPPY HOLIDAYS You may have inferred, from the often sardonic tone of this occasional column, that this Arts Editor would take a cynical view of the Christmas Hanukkah Kwanza Solstice Festivus season. Not so. I’ve already dug out my DVDs of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Holiday Inn. So in this spirit, I bring to your attention the fact that there are still tickets available for one of the season’ s most popular events, Albany Symphony Orchestra’s Magic of Christmas concert at the Palace Theatre (19 Clinton Ave., Albany). David Alan Miller conducts the ASO in a very family-friendly program of beautiful seasonal music with special guests Kim and Reggie Harris, Irish Step Dancers, Capital District Youth Chorale, and the Music Studio featuring Anthony Gargiula. There will be sing-along carols, and a visit from that guy from the North Pole. Performances are Saturday (Dec. 6) at 3 and 7:30 PM, and Sunday (Dec. 7) at 3 PM. Tickets are $12 children, $25 adults. For reservations and information, please call the Palace Theatre box office at 465-4663.

SETTLED DOWN FOR A LONG WINTER’S NAP The National Museum of Dance, one of the many jewels of Saratoga, will go into its annual hibernation next week. They will close on Dec. 14 and not reopen until March 17, 2009, for “the installation of new exhibits for the 2009 season.” The business office will be closed Dec. 24 through Jan. 6, and then reopen for regular hours Tuesday–Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM. For more info, visit dance museum.org.

DREAMING OF SUMMER Last week the Boston Symphony Orchestra threw a swanky tea party to announce the 2009 season. We’ve heard some rumblings from Glimmerglass Opera down the road in Cooperstown. Now, Jacob’s Pillow have announced the first program they’ve lined up for their 2009 summer season: Pacific Northwest Ballet, who will perform an exclusive program of works by the late Ulysses Dove in the Ted Shawn Theatre in August (Aug. 19-23, to be precise). I include this so those bitter about the cold may think warmer thoughts.

ALSO THIS WEEKEND Skidmore College dance students will perform in the annual Winter Dance Concert on Friday (Dec. 5) at 8 PM and Saturday (Dec. 6) at 2 and 8 PM in the Skidmore Dance Theater. General admission tickets are $10; it’s $5 for students and seniors. No reservations are accepted; tickets go on sale 30 minutes before showtime. Call 580-4392 for info.

DREAMING OF SUMMER IN A PRACTICAL, GIFT-GIVING WAY A timely reminder flew in over the electronic transom today from the Mac-Haydn Theatre in Chatham: “Your favorite musical theatre fans will enjoy Christmas in the summer when you give them a Mac-Haydn gift certificate.” The gift certificates are available in any amount; call 392-9292 for more information.

CONGRATULATIONS ETC. I sort of lost track of some interesting news in the Thanksgiving blur. The Norman Rockwell Museum recently won the National Humanities Medal—one of only nine winners nationwide, and the only museum so honored. NRM director and CEO Laurie Norton Moffatt received the award at the White House directly from President Bush. . . . The Capital District Federation of Ideas is kaput. They lost their clubhouse in the summer; now they’ve given up their Web domain. CDFI spokesman Thomas Wilk wrote in a farewell message that “CDFI had a great run; make sure to put it down in the 2000-2010 chapter of Albany history.” Duly noted. . . . Our own columnist Miriam Axel-Lute won the 20th annual Day of Poet poetry competition on Nov. 29 at the William K. Sanford Library in Colonie. She was up against nine other contestants; nice work!

—Shawn Stone

sstone@metroland.net

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