Events calendar: Sunday, Dec. 17


Book signing

  • Curtis Harris will sign copies of his book “High Hand.” 1 to 4 p.m. Free. International Spy Museum, 800 F St. NW. 202-393-7798.

Children’s programs

  • Keegan Theatre will present “How to Catch a Leprechaun,” a children’s musical based on an Irish folk tale (for ages 3 and older). 11 a.m. $15. Andrew Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. 202-265-3767. The performance will repeat Dec. 23, 26, 30 and 31 at 11 a.m.
  • A park ranger will lead a planetarium program about the season’s brightest stars, planets and constellations (for ages 5 and older). 1 p.m. Free. Rock Creek Nature Center, 5200 Glover Road NW. 202-895-6070.
  • “From Our Happy Home” — about the ways people of the past and today create feelings of comfort and warmth in the cold winter months — will feature a variety of art activities focused on author Louisa May Alcott. Attendees will investigate objects from the “House & Home” exhibition for examples of interior lighting, and will construct paper house lanterns and handmade books. 1 to 4 p.m. Free. National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. 202-272-2448.
  • “Hanukkah Crafts for Kids” will feature a chance to create dreidel decorations and get ideas for other crafts to make at home (for ages 2 and older). 3 p.m. Free. Juanita E. Thornton/Shepherd Park Library, 7420 Georgia Ave. NW. 202-541-6100.
  • A park ranger will lead a planetarium program about the solar system, the Milky Way and other deep space objects (for ages 7 and older). 4 to 4:45 p.m. Free. Rock Creek Nature Center, 5200 Glover Road NW. 202-895-6070.


  • The National Symphony Orchestra will present Handel’s “Messiah,” featuring conductor Jeannette Sorrell, the University of Maryland Concert Choir and soloists Sophie Daneman, Ann McMahon Quintero, Karim Sulayman and Christian Immler. 1 p.m. $15 to $89. Concert Hall, Kennedy Center. 202-467-4600.
  • The National United Methodist Church Singers and Ringers will perform holiday carols. 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. Free. West Building Rotunda, National Gallery of Art, 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. 202-737-4215.
  • Folger Consort will hold a concert named after the Christmas carol “Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming,” featuring German Advent and holiday music performed by the vocal ensemble Cathedra, viol consort Arcadia Viols, organist Adam Pearl and artistic co-director Robert Eisenstein. 2 and 5 p.m. $50. Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol St. SE. 202-544-7077. The performance will repeat Dec. 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 22 at 8 p.m.; and Dec. 23 at 4 and 8 p.m.
  • Washington Metropolitan Philharmonic will perform Jim Territo’s “John Henry Vs. The Machine,” followed by a musical journey to Italy, Spain (via French composers) and England. 3 p.m. $20; free for ages 18 and younger. Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G St. NW.
  • The Washington Saengerbund will present a traditional German Christmas concert. 3 p.m. Free. The United Church, 1920 G St. NW. 202-331-1495.
  • Turtle Island Quartet will join Irish fiddler and composer Liz Carroll for a concert evoking visions of a frosty winter’s eve and year-end celebrations from around the globe. 4 p.m. Free. West Garden Court, National Gallery of Art, 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. 202-737-4215.
  • Folger Consort musicians will lead audience members in singing holiday songs dating from the medieval to the baroque periods. 4 p.m. Free; reservations suggested. Folger Theatre, 201 East Capitol St. SE. 202-544-7077.
  • The Cathedral Choral Society’s 41st annual “Joy of Christmas” concert will feature a newly commissioned carol by popular British composer Paul Mealor as well as Christmas favorites and a festive carol singalong. Led by guest conductor Betsy Burleigh, the concert will include performances by the Lyric Brass Quintet and the Washington Latin Public Charter School Honors Choir. 4 p.m. $15 to $25. Washington National Cathedral, Massachusetts and Wisconsin avenues NW. 202-537-2228.
  • The Phillips Collection will present a concert by the Chalaca Trio featuring traditional music from South America and the Caribbean performed on the harp, clarinet and percussion instruments. 4 p.m. $20 to $40; reservations suggested. Thomas T. Gaff House, 1520 20th St. NW. 202-387-2151.
  • The City Choir of Washington’s annual holiday concert “The Holly and the Ivy: Music for Christmas” will feature music by Vaughan Williams, Duruflé and Whitacre as well as a world-premiere setting of “Sweet Was the Song the Virgin Sang” by Robert Shafer. 4:30 p.m. $15 to $50. National Presbyterian Church, 4101 Nebraska Ave. NW.
  • The Choral Arts Society of Washington will present “Christmas With Choral Arts,” featuring holiday carols, seasonal classics and singalongs for the whole family. 5 p.m. $15 to $69. Concert Hall, Kennedy Center. 202-467-4600. The performance will repeat Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 24 at 1 p.m.
  • The “Holiday Lobbying” concert series will feature the Heritage Signature Chorale. 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Free. Lobby, The Willard InterContinental, 1401 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 202-628-9100.
  • D.C.-based band The Harry Bells will present “Keegan’s Greetings,” a holiday concert featuring horn and percussion music inspired by the songs of Harry Belafonte. 5:30 p.m. $15. Andrew Keegan Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW.


  • Former at-large D.C. Council member and five-time mayoral candidate Carol Schwartz will discuss her autobiography “Quite a Life! From Defeat to Defeat … and Back,” about her life story as well as a front-row view of local D.C politics spanning five decades. A book signing will follow. 2 to 4 p.m. Free. Ben’s Chili Bowl, 1213 U St. NW.

Family programs

  • “I Have a Little Dreidel: An LGBTQ Family Chanukah Celebration” will feature singing while decorating dreidels and menorahs (best for ages 3 to 10 and their families). 2 to 4 p.m. $15 per family. Edlavitch Jewish Community Center of Washington DC, 1529 16th St. NW.
  • Via Umbria’s “Kids Cookie Decorating Party” will feature expert instruction in adding frosting, sprinkles, colored sugar and other items to ornament-shaped cookies. 3 p.m. $20; reservations required. Via Umbria, 1525 Wisconsin Ave. NW.


  • The National Geographic Museum will screen “Jerusalem 3-D,” which features aerial footage of the ancient city of Jerusalem. Noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. $7. Grosvenor Auditorium, 1600 M St. NW. 202-857-7700. The film will also be shown Dec. 30 and 31.
  • The National Gallery of Art will screen John Akomfrah’s 2004 film “Urban Soul,” about the phenomenon of R&B and how it relates to themes of corporate corruption and greed. 1:30 p.m. Free. East Building Auditorium, National Gallery of Art, 4th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. 202-737-4215.
  • The National Gallery of Art will screen Bertrand Tavernier’s 2016 film “My Journey Through French Cinema,” a wide-ranging and subjective roam through the history of French film. 4 p.m. Free. East Building Auditorium, National Gallery of Art, 4th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. 202-737-4215. The film will be shown again Dec. 23 at 2:30 p.m.

Performances and readings

  • Ovations Studios will present Tchaikovsky’s ballet classic “The Nutcracker.” 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. $25. Greenberg Theatre, American University, 4200 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202-885-2587.
  • “The Christmas Revels: A French-Canadian Celebration of the Winter Solstice” will feature holiday carols, acting, folk dancing and music in line with the theme of a winter solstice celebration in a Quebec village. 1 and 5 p.m. $12 to $60. Lisner Auditorium, George Washington University, 731 21st St. NW.
  • Washington National Opera will present “The Little Prince,” a holiday family opera based on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic illustrated storybook. 2 p.m. $45 to $65. Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center. 202-467-4600.
  • The Dance Institute of Washington will present “The Spirit of Kwanzaa,” featuring dance, music and spoken word with Farafina Kan, Taratibu Youth Association & Drummers, Melvin Deal, Dayo N Dance and more. 2 p.m. $12 to $25; free for ages 3 and younger. Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC), 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE.
  • The Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC will present “The Holiday Show,” featuring new songs and traditional favorites. 3 p.m. $25 to $65. Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW. 877-435-9849.
  • Step Afrika! will present “Magical Musical Holiday Step Show 2017,” a family-friendly performance by the internationally renowned percussive dance company. 4 p.m. $18 to $40. Sprenger Theatre, Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. 202-399-7993. The performance will repeat Dec. 21, 22 and 28 at 7:30 p.m.; Dec. 23 and 30 at 2 p.m.; and Dec. 27 and 29 at 11:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • Dance Place’s annual “Kwanzaa Celebration” will feature Coyaba Dance Theater performing dances depicting celebration, harvest and community. 4 p.m. $15 to $30. Dance Place, 3225 8th Street NE. 202-269-1600.
  • “Sunday Kind of Love” will feature readings by emerging and established poets, followed by an open mic segment. 5 to 7 p.m. $5. Langston Room, Busboys and Poets 14th & V, 2021 14th St. NW. 202-387-7638.
  • The Largo High School Performing Arts Department will present “Rejoice!,” during which students will retell a Christmas classic with a modern interactive presentation through dance, narration, instrumental and vocal music. 6 p.m. Free. Millennium Stage, Kennedy Center. 202-467-4600.
  • Sweet Spot Aerial Productions will present “A Circus Carol,” about a high school where chaos reigns supreme as teachers, administrators and students try to put together their annual holiday pageant. 6 p.m. $15 to $25. Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. 202-399-7993.

Special events

  • “A Call to Sing” will feature the Palisades Community Church Chancel Choir’s presentation of “Night of the Father’s Love” by Pepper Choplin. The church’s annual Christmas tea will follow. 10 a.m. Free. Palisades Community Church, 5200 Cathedral Ave. NW. 202-966-7929.
  • Aid to Artisans will hold its 2017 Holiday Craft Sale, featuring handmade artisan crafts from Egypt, Guatemala, Colombia, India and other countries. 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Free admission. Creative Learning, Suite 104, 5225 Wisconsin Ave. NW. The sale will continue daily through Monday.
  • The Washington Nationals 2017 Winterfest will feature clinics with players and coaches as well as opportunities to make a snow fort, take batting practice, participate in a “steal home challenge” and listen to winter- and baseball-themed stories read by players. 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. $25 to $35. Washington Convention Center,  801 Mount Vernon Place NW.
  • The Washington Harbour ice rink will offer public skating. Noon to 9 p.m. $9 to $10. Washington Harbour, 3000 K St. NW. 202-706-7666. Regular hours are Monday and Tuesday from noon to 7 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 9 p.m., Friday from noon to 10 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • The National Gallery of Art’s “Seventy-Fifth Birthday Tribute to Curtis Mayfield” will feature DJ Johsonic presenting music by the American singer, writer, producer and label owner, with remarks by music critic Aaron Cohen, author of the forthcoming “Move On Up: Chicago Soul Music and Black Cultural Power.” 11 a.m. Free. East Building Auditorium, National Gallery of Art, 4th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. 202-737-4215.
  • The 13th annual Downtown Holiday Market will feature exhibitors, local food and live music. Noon to 8 p.m. Free admission. Sidewalk of F Street between 7th and 9th streets NW, in front of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Portrait Gallery. The market will continue through Dec. 23 from noon to 8 p.m. daily.
  • “A Service of Nine Lessons and Carols” will celebrate a 19th-century Anglican carol tradition with participation by staff members at the British Embassy. 5 p.m. Free. St. David’s Episcopal Church, 5150 Macomb St. NW.
  • “ZooLights” will feature environmentally friendly LED displays, a light show set to music, 150-foot-long “snow tubing” tracks, the Conservation Carousel, live entertainment, and a glow-in-the-dark play zone for children. 5 to 9 p.m. Free admission. National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-633-4470. The event will repeat daily through Jan. 1 (except Dec. 24, 25 and 31).
  • In conjunction with the “ZooLights” festival, the National Zoo will host the GRUMP Holiday Market with arts and crafts made by local artisans. 5 to 9 p.m. Free admission. Near the main entrance to the National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202-633-4470.

Sporting event

  • The Washington Wizards will play the Cleveland Cavaliers. 6 p.m. $79 to $676. Capital One Arena (formerly Verizon Center), 601 F St. NW. 800-745-3000.

Tours and walks

  • “As the Wheel Turns” will feature tours of Peirce Mill about the power of water and its connection to food. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free. Peirce Mill, Tilden Street and Beach Drive NW. 202-895-6070.
  • “Winter at Fort DeRussy” will feature a one-mile hike focusing on how soldiers passed the cold winter months in the forts surrounding Washington during the Civil War (for ages 10 and older). 11 a.m. Free. Rock Creek Nature Center, 5200 Glover Road NW. 202-895-6070.
  • Curator Robyn Asleson will lead a tour of the exhibition “Portraits of the World: Switzerland,” which features the loaned painting “Femme en Extase,” a portrait of Italian dancer Giulia Leonardi by Swiss artist Ferdinand Hodler. 3 p.m. Free. National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F streets NW. 202-633-1000.