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Judy Collins

Few performers embody grace, confidence and beauty like Judy Collins. At the age of 71, this is just as true as it was when she got her start at 22. Present from the start of the ’60s folk movement, Collins has succeeded in crafting a timeless sound, especially fitting when the holidays come around.

There will be holiday classics, fan favorites, and selections from her new CD Paradise when Collins comes to Troy. Paradise is a compilation of duets sung with longtime friends and collaborators Stephen Stills and Joan Baez, but the only person she’ll be sharing the stage with is longtime musical director Russell Walden. Which leaves a lot of space for Collins’ voice to work its magic.

Judy Collins comes to the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (2nd and State streets, Troy) on Tuesday (Dec. 21) at 8 PM. Tickets are $29-$46. For more info, call 273-0038.

Melodies of Christmas

This is one of the most beloved holiday traditions in the Capital Region.

Sponsored—and televised—each year by WRGB-TV/CBS 6, the Melodies of Christmas is a festive series of holiday concerts featuring the superb up-and-coming musicians of the Empire State Youth Orchestra and Empire State Youth Chorale. Joined by special guests and under the baton of conductor-director Helen Cha-Pyo, the musicians and singers will use their talents to bring you holiday cheer—and, not incidentally, to raise money for the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at the Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center.

This year’s guests will include Professor Louis and the Crowmatix, soloist Arthur DeLuke, members of the Northeast Ballet Company and of the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York.

Melodies of Christmas will be presented today (Thursday, Dec. 16) through Saturday (Dec. 18) at 7 PM, and Sunday (Dec. 19) at 3 PM, on the Mainstage at Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady). Tickets are $25. For info and tickets, call the box office at 346-6204.

Handel’s Messiah Rocks

It’s “classical music meets classic rock” when Handel’s Messiah Rocks hits the stage with its mashup of oratorio and contemporary rock vercular, “illuminating the journey of the Messiah” with explosive production numbers.

Why update Handel’s Messiah? Well, according to Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart—who let’s just say knows a thing or two—people, you know, like Mozart, have been updating the work for 300 years. “It’s only appropriate that it should happen again now,” says Lockhart, “and though the language of the music has been ‘updated,’ the core message remains the same. And it’s a beautiful message.”

Handel’s Messiah Rocks launched a 50-city tour in November, the day after garnering two Emmy Awards, and this week it swings into Schenectady “to pose these questions to the audience, no matter their orientation to faith or religion: ‘How will we be in the world now with each other? Can we love first?’ ”

Handel’s Messiah Rocks comes to Proctors (Mainstage, 432 State St., Schenectady) on Tuesday (Dec. 21) at 8 PM. Tickets range from $20 to $60. For more info, or to purchase tickets, call the Proctors box office at 346-6204.

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