Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; Hilbert Circle Theatre
ISO’s 2007 Yuletide extravaganza sparkles with the gift of giving and the grace of receiving. The impetus bursts from the African Children’s Choir with their exuberance and beautifully blended singing. Coupled with Sandi Patty, as the ever-personable host, these 9- to 13-year-olds bring an exciting dimension to this 22nd annual holiday musical tradition with its resplendent settings, lighting, costumes and the always fine ISO players with a company of singers and dancers who zing one-liners, mug and tap dance to perfection under the baton of Jack Everly. And, yes, opening night happened to be one of the times when Ben Utecht could break away from his day job with the Colts to appear with Sandi Patty in a jaunty, newly-minted rendition of “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” Nevertheless, even a football star can get upstaged. This newest African Children’s Choir is as winning as was the previous troupe appearing at North Methodist Church several years ago, and who also came “to raise awareness of the need of destitute and orphaned children in Africa.” Performing in routines with Patty, the choir endeared, especially with “From A Distance” and “Getting to Know You.” On their own they delivered the range of spirited and soulful with “Gift for the King,” “How Good It Is” and “Betelehemu.” Log on to www.africanchildrenschoir.com. Through Dec. 23; 317-639-4300.