Cool Picks Friday December 7, 2012

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1) Carnegie Mellon University is celebrating the holidays by giving a gift to area residents, a free concert of holiday music. The Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic and Choirs Holiday Concert will feature a festive spectrum of holiday music including excerpts from Handel’s Messiah, symphonic pieces from Arthur Harris, and Chanukah Lights by the late Pittsburgh Symphony Pops conductor Marvin Hamlisch. The performance will be conducted by Robert Page and Michael Van Camp. 8 p.m. Great Hall, College of Fine Arts Building.

2) The Jazz Nutcracker is currently running at the Pittsburgh Playhouse’s Rockwell Theater. Sexier and jazzier than the original, this production combines the music of Tchaikovsky with arrangements by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn (was a Pittsburgh native). The choreography even includes a character named Sugar Rum Cherry. Music performed by the Benny Bennack Orchestra. Concept and Choreography by Doug Bentz. Runs this weekend and next. 8 p.m. 222 Craft Ave., Oakland.

3) The Manchester Craftsman’s Guild Jazz  presents A Peter White Christmas. Peter White is an accomplished, world renowned acoustic guitarist. He is joined in the show by Mindi Abair (saxophone, vocals) and Rick Braun (trumpet and flugelhorn) for  7 & 9:30 p.m. shows. 1815 Metropolitan St., Manchester.

4) Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds land at the Thunderbird Cafe tonight.  The nine piece band puts a powerhouse sound behind classic soul. 9 p.m. 4023 Butler St., Lawrenceville.

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Rick Handler

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