Three of my favorite holiday memories as a child:

Caroling with neighbors from door to door in our neighborhood in Southwest Pittsburg

Listening to my mother play Christmas songs on the piano while the little white lights on the Christmas tree glowed

Opening up the big wooden stereo and putting a vinyl Christmas album on the turntable  

Yes, music was the theme: it certainly adds to the season. In Pittsburg, there are plenty of opportunities coming up to hear it played and sung by community members who are giving us the gift of their talents. Those opportunities include:

Ring in the Season 

The Bells of the Balkans will host the 8th Annual “Ring in the Season” concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1, in the Linda and Lee Scott Performance Hall inside the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts at Pittsburg State University, 1711 S. Homer.   

The concert will feature the Belles of the Bells under the direction of Donna Lyerla, the PittPres ringers directed by Terry Cox, the St. John’s Lutheran Bell Choir directed by Phillis Scorse, Bell soloist Terry Cox, and the award-winning Bells of the Balkans led by Janis Saket. Each group will perform several seasonal selections. 

The concert is free and open to the public; donations will be accepted. 

Holiday Extravaganza 

The Southeast Kansas Symphony of Pittsburg State University will perform its annual Holiday Extravaganza, a free musical gift to the community, on Tuesday, Dec. 3, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Bicknell Center.  

Directed by music professor Raul Munguia, it will include holiday music by the Symphony and by the Bells of the Balkans.  

Following the concert, guests may enjoy cake and refreshments in the lobby to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Bicknell Center. 

Details: 620-235-4472 

Timmons Music Concert 

The Timmons Music Concert will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 4 and Friday, Dec. 6, in the charming and historic Timmons Chapel, 409 E. Ford, just as it has been for more than 50 years. 

It will begin both nights at 7:30 p.m. and will conclude about 8:45 p.m. David Hurley, professor of music history and oboe at PSU, directs the concerts.  

From their inception, the free holiday concerts have been a showcase for Timmons Chapel, a Gothic-style, all-faiths chapel completed in 1966 as a gift to the university from longtime benefactor Beth Spiva Timmons.  

The concerts began in 1968 and for many years, Timmons personally provided the greens and supervised the simple holiday decorations. 

The music is performed by students, faculty and members of the community. Seating is limited in the small chapel. 

Details: 620-235-4479 

Holiday Luncheon 

Music performed by the University Choir will be a highlight of the annual PSU Holiday Luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 4, in the Overman Student Center Ballroom. It is open to students, staff, faculty, retired personnel, as well as the community at a cost of $8 per person, but tickets must be purchased in advance as seating is limited. No tickets will be sold at the door. Tickets may be purchased at gorilladining.com or by calling 620-235-4995. 

Coffee, Carols, and Christmas Trees

This annual tradition at Pittsburg Public Library, this year to be held on Tuesday, Dec. 10, gets bigger and better every year. This year, library staff have a day-long celebration planned. Patrons may enjoy coffee, cocoa, homemade treats, caroling, crafts, and themed Christmas trees. 

Tour the library and vote for your favorite Christmas tree at any time during the day, but the open house and musical merriment in the form of a sing-along officially begins at 10 a.m.

And a Little Art

Google artist Christan Faur and the word “Crayon,” and you’ll get a taste of what his exhibit “Formation of Things” on display in the University Gallery in Porter Hall is like. It opened Nov. 1 and will close Feb. 14. He uses ordinary objects to create extraordinary art. 

His Crayon pieces — actually, his own homemade version of them — remind me of the popular Lite-Brite toy of my childhood. His exhibit also includes giant portraits created with crackers, an American flag composed of dollar bills, and works created with his own alphabet, including the King James version of the Old and New Testaments.

In the Harry Krug Gallery in Porter Hall, you’ll find the work of Thomas Walthur on display until Dec. 13 in an exhibit called “Umbra Sumus.” Very different in style than Faur’s, his paintings feature recognizable historical structures — the Parthenon, the Lincoln Memorial — but in them you’ll find unexpected and downright absurd twists.

Both exhibits are free and open to the public; the Harry Krug Gallery is open Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and the University Gallery is open Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Andra Bryan Stefanoni is a lifelong Pittsburg resident and arts enthusiast. She is the director of media relations at Pittsburg State University. Feedback: andra.stefanoni@gmail.com