(Photo credit Barbara Ann Kelley)

The festive holiday season is always complemented and enhanced with an assortment of music – especially with engaging live performances. It’s a simple fact. So if you’re looking for more ways to let out that holiday spirit burning inside, Tampa Bay has a plethora of choices that can please, all while providing timely thematic cheer and joy for all audiences (even the humbugs). Plus, this town is equipped with plenty of notable venues to house an assortment of performances.

Trans Siberian Orchestra: The Lost Christmas Eve
Tampa Bay Times Forum
401 Channelside Drive
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 301-6500
www.transsiberianorchestratampa.comDate: December 15
Price: $54-$64

This rock opera has set the standard for Christmas songs in recent years by executing emotionally gripping audio bliss. In other words, you will be moved by the entrancing show. Through a mixture of classical instruments and rip-roaring hard rock arrangements, this spectacle has taken audiences through a spirited journey stemming from cherished holiday lyrics. Performing their final act in the three-part Christmas story, the impeccable group of talented musicians provides a rare escapism in a traditional concert setting via their innovative tones and delivery.

Dave Koz & Friends Christmas
Ruth Eckerd Hall
1111 N. McMullen Booth Road
Clearwater, FL 33759
(727) 791-7400
Date: November 24
Price: $48-$85

For those looking for a smoother take on holiday song classics, Dave Koz and his select friends drop in, wielding the voice of jazz. Koz, an award-winning and world-renowned saxophonist, brings along accomplished musicians in pianist David Benoit, winner of the “The Voice” Javier Colon and percussionist/vocalist Shelia E. Jam. All of the above, including up-and-coming talent Margo Rey, will share the stage, putting their own unique spin on treasured holiday tunes. Also, hearing jazz at this venue is one of those match-made-in-heaven scenarios.

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A Rockapella Holiday
Tampa Theatre
711 Franklin St.
Tampa, FL 33602
(813) 274-8286

Date: December 20
Price: $26-$35

This crew only needs one “instrument” to spread their respective holiday message to the masses: voice. The A Capella group is widely considered the class of the genre and they have spun their own little tale on the most wonderful time of the year by crafting their own songs all while performing radical versions of known favorites. This contemporary juggernaut has been harmonizing to sellout crowds all over thanks to their versatile stage presence and keen sense of timing.

Miracle on 7th Avenue Holiday Party
The Ritz Ybor
1503 E. 7th Ave.
Tampa, FL 33605
(813) 247-2555

Date: November 28
Price: TBA

While this isn’t a formal concert as it is more of a party (even though it takes place at a concert hall), there will be live stage acts (mostly musical) that provide background and set the ambiance if you will – similar to a piano bar. Chalk this event up to a more-or-less interactive Christmas concert experience for all ages. The businesses of Ybor come together to transform the notable live-music joint into a giant holiday party that encompasses all the trimmings (food vendors, games and of course, Santa). It’s essentially a nice little alternative for those that enjoy spiking their eggnog with more than just straight musical performances.

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker
Mahaffey Theater at Progress Energy Center
400 1st St. S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 892-5798
Dates: December 28-29
Price: $32-$97

Is it even possible to not think of the timeless Nutcracker story around the holiday season? One of the premiere ballet companies on the planet will once again articulate the famed story with amazing on-stage set pieces and hypnotic dance numbers performed by the world’s finest dancers. This is one of those acts that everyone should probably see at least once in their lifetime.

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Joe Belcastro is an established journalist based in Tampa, Florida. His vast coverage of the local, national, & international scene has led his work to appear all over the world in respected print and online publications. After making a name for himself in the realm of film criticism, his candid approach & style to reporting has enabled him to cover such beats as music and nightlife, all while conducting interviews with people who have way more money than him. His work can be found at Examiner.com.