POPS FOR THE HOLIDAYS: The Cape Ann Symphony welcomes the season with “Make a Joyful Noise: Holiday Pops Concert,” Saturday and next Sunday at Manchester-Essex High School in Manchester-by-the-Sea.
Conducted by the symphony’s music director, Yoichi Udagawa, the concert features old and new holiday music, gospel music, and an updated holiday sing-along.
The musical program includes Strauss’ “Fledermaus,” Anderson’s “Christmas Festival” and “Trumpeter’s Lullaby,” Waldteufel’s “Skater’s Waltz,” and Herbert’s “March of the Toys.”
Guest vocalist is Renese King. Her musical talents have taken her from spiritual and gospel singing at the church podium to playing timpani on the Carnegie Hall stage.
She is recognized regionally as an instrumentalist, choral director, and arranger, and has appeared throughout the East Coast and internationally as an accompanist, vocalist, and percussionist with a number of Massachusetts-based choral and orchestral ensembles.
King holds a position in student affairs at Berklee College of Music. She also is director of the Re-union Gospel Choir in Boston, associate director of music at Boston’s historic Union United Methodist Church, and choral director at the Waymark Seventh-day Adventist Church in Dorchester.
Performances are at 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. next Sunday. Tickets are $35 for adults, $30 for senior citizens, $20 for young adults, free for children 12 and younger. Call 978-281-0543 or visit cape-annsymphony.org
ELEPHANTS AND TEDDY BEARS: Symphony by the Sea brings together music and storytelling in “A Very Special Family Concert” in Newburyport on Friday and in Marblehead on Saturday.
Renowned storyteller Judith Black of Marblehead is guest narrator for “Babar the Elephant,” set to music by Poulenc. And everyone will be invited to join in the celebration of “A Teddy Bears’ Picnic.”
“This is our second annual family concert in Marblehead,” said Beverly Clark, president of the symphony board. “We are pleased to add the Newburyport community this year as we continue our new tradition of offering live classical music to the next generation of audiences.
“The best way to ensure that young children grow up loving orchestral music is to bring it to them where they are,” she continued. “With Judith Black as our guest narrator, everyone can be sure that this will be a wonderfully entertaining and enlightening experience.”
The one-hour program is designed for family audiences with young children, who are invited to bring along a favorite stuffed animal for the Teddy Bear celebration. And families are invited to bring a new unwrapped stuffed animal to donate to the local Toys for Tots.
Performances are 3 p.m. Friday at Newburyport City Hall and 3 p.m. Saturday at Marblehead’s Abbot Hall. Tickets are $20, $10 for students. Visit symphonybythesea.org.
AUTHOR’S CORNER: Doug Brendel reads from and signs his new book, “Only in Ipswich 2013,” from 5 to 8 p.m. at Time&Tide Fine Art in Ipswich. The book is a humorous commentary on life in Ipswich from the perspective of a newcomer. It includes cartoon illustrations. Brendel, of Ipswich, is a former street minister who also acts and is the author of two dozen books. He also writes “The Outsidah” humor column for the Ipswich Chronicle.
IN LOCAL GALLERIES: The Kensington-Stobart Gallery in Salem presents “Artist Friends and Neighbors” through Dec. 2. The show features work by Salem artists who are connected by neighborhood affiliation, personal relationships, or both. They include Charlie Allen, Katy Bratun, David Decker, Julie Shaw Lutts, Barbara Burgess Maier, Trip Mason, and Racket Shreve. . . . Local historian Jim McAllister presents a talk, “Artist Friends and Neighbors — A Hundred Years Ago,” at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 27. The talk is free, but reservations are required. . . . Michele Kenna, an artist at Porter Mill Studios in Beverly, exhibits pastel paintings at the Beverly Farms Library until Nov. 30. “Everchanging” features more than 30 paintings.