The holiday season tends to fill the world with music — from radio stations playing Christmas songs all day long, to church choirs rejoicing, to people just singing on the street. TV, of course, is also a place to find much music and singing this time of year, with 2013 being no exception. Below are some of the notable holiday music specials on TV 2013. Descriptions are from the networks; all times are Eastern; check back for updates and additions.
Holiday Hits On Demand — Through Jan. 6 on Music Choice On Demand. Holiday videos from popular artists, including Jessica Simpson, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and more, 24 hours a day.
Holiday Hits on Soft Rock, R&B Soul and Romances — Through Jan. 6 on Music Choice. Music Choice’s Soft Rock, R&B Soul and Romances channels will play contemporary holiday hits, including Music Choice exclusive acoustic versions of holiday songs, plus new originals.
Sounds of the Seasons: Holiday Music — Through Jan. 6 on Music Choice. Commercial-free, traditional holiday music 24 hours a day on Music Choice’s Sounds of the Seasons channel.
Christmas in Rockefeller Center — Dec. 4 at 8pm on NBC. NBC will celebrate the lighting of the world’s most famous Christmas tree with a live broadcast from Rockefeller Center in New York City. The star-studded holiday special is hosted by Today anchors Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, Al Roker and Natalie Morales, and will feature performances from Mary J. Blige, Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Goo Goo Dolls, Ariana Grande, Jewel, Leona Lewis, Audra McDonald and The Rockettes. The 81st annual holiday extravaganza will feature a 76-foot Norway Spruce that is 47 feet in diameter and weighs approximately 12 tons. The tree is estimated to be about 75 years old.
The Sound of Music Live! — Dec. 5, live at 8pm on NBC. This live telecast based on the stage version of the 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical stars Grammy Award winner Carrie Underwood as Maria and Stephen Moyer (“True Blood”) as Capt. von Trapp.
K-LOVE Music City Christmas — Dec. 9 at 8pm on UP. Candace Cameron Bure hosts this special taped before a live audience in Nashville. The one-hour program includes performances of beloved Christmas standards and original songs by leading Christian music artists, including TobyMac, Newsboys with for KING & COUNTRY, Mandisa, Colton Dixon, Kari Jobe, Matthew West, Brandon Heath, Crowder, Big Daddy Weave and Tenth Avenue North, as well as heartfelt and lively holiday memories with the stars.
Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Featuring Alfie Boe and Tom Brokaw (pictured at top) — Dec. 10 at 8pm; Dec. 12 at 9pm; and Dec. 24 at 9pm on PBS (check local listings). Renowned veteran newscaster Tom Brokaw and Tony Award-winning Les Misérables tenor Alfie Boe join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square in a concert of holiday favorites and inspiring surprises. Among the highlights is Boe’s stirring performance of his signature “Bring Him Home” from Les Misérables, made all the more poignant because the concert was taped the same day as the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut. As a surprise guest, the choir welcomes Gail “Hal” Halvorsen, the American “candy bomber” who dropped gum and chocolate for German children during the Berlin airlift of 1948-49.
82nd Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade — Dec. 11 at 2pm on Hallmark Channel; Dec. 20 at 5pm & Dec. 24 at 11am on Hallmark Movie Channel. Erik Estrada, Laura McKenzie, Dean Cain and Montel Williams host this year’s event, featuring astronaut Buzz Aldrin as grand marshal. Performances include Stevie Wonder, Billy Ray Cyrus, the Goo Goo Dolls, Daughtry, Kenny Loggins, LeAnn Rimes, William Shatner, McClain, Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo, Richie Sambora, and Olate Dogs. The parade also features appearances by numerous other celebrity participants.
Kelly Clarkson’s Cautionary Christmas Music Tale — Dec. 11 at 10pm on NBC. This holiday music TV special features Blake Shelton, Reba and Trisha Yearwood appearing as guest stars with headliner Kelly Clarkson. Others set to make an appearance include Jay Leno, Matt Lauer, Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, William Shatner, Danica Patrick, Heidi Klum, Ken Jeong and Jai Rodriguez. Clarkson and guests will celebrate the festive season with a comedic musical take on a traditional Christmas morality tale. Song selection will come directly off her just-released Christmas album, Wrapped in Red, featuring classics such as “Silent Night” and “White Christmas,” as well as the title track.
Silent Night — Dec. 13 at 9pm on PBS (check local listings). This opera recounts the true story of the World War I Christmas Eve truce. For one magical evening on December 24, 1914, French, German and Scottish soldiers laid down their arms and joined in a spontaneous celebration reflecting the peace, fellowship and humanity of the season. Based on the Academy Award-nominated film Joyeux Noel, this two-act production was commissioned by the Minnesota Opera and premiered in November 2012 to national acclaim, including a Pulitzer Prize for Music for composer Kevin Puts. With a libretto by Mark Campbell, Silent Night is sung in French, English, German, Italian and Latin with English subtitles.
Battle of the Nutcrackers — Dec. 16-23 on Ovation. Ovation’s 7th annual “Battle of the Nutcrackers” features several versions of Tchaikovsky’s classic, and gives viewers the chance to vote for their favorite throughout the week. The versions airing this year are: The San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker (Dec. 16 at 8am, Dec. 20 at 8am, Dec. 21 at 2:30pm, Dec. 25 at 9am); The Nutcracker: Mariinsky 2012 (Dec. 17 at 8am, Dec. 22 at 12pm); The Nutcracker: The Story of Clara (Dec. 18 at 8am, Dec. 21 at 12pm); and Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker! (Dec. 19 at 8am, Dec. 22 at 2:30pm and Dec. 25 at 7am). The Viewers’ Choice will be revealed Dec. 23 at 8pm.
A Home for the Holidays with Celine Dion — Dec. 18 at 8pm on CBS. This 15th annual entertainment special is hosted by multiple-platinum-selling and five-time Grammy Award-winning superstar Celine Dion. Dion will perform songs from her new album, Loved Me Back to Life, on the special. Also, Ne-Yo, Chris Young and others are set to perform. The special continues to tell uplifting stories of adoption from foster care in order to raise awareness for this important social issue. The inspirational stories of these American families are enhanced with performances by some of today’s most popular artists. Musical performances will accompany the heartwarming stories, which are introduced by celebrities who have their own adoption experiences or are involved with children’s issues.
iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2013 — Dec. 18 at 8pm on The CW. The CW broadcasts iHeartRadio’s Jingle Ball 2013 as a two-hour special filmed at the tour’s stop in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias, Fall Out Boy, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Selena Gomez, Fifth Harmony, Ariana Grande, Jason Derulo and Austin Mahone are among the performers.
Michael Bublé’s 3rd Annual Christmas Special — Dec. 18 at 10pm on NBC. Michael Bublé returns to NBC with another star-studded holiday Christmas special. The multi-Grammy Award winning singer is joined by guest stars Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige, as well as Cookie Monster on songs including “The Christmas Song,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and “Let It Snow.”
Christmas in Washington — Dec. 20 at 8pm & 11pm on TNT. Hugh Jackman hosts the annual holiday event this year. The concert, celebrating its 32nd anniversary in 2013, benefits the Children’s National Health System, and is attended by the President and First Lady, as well as other Washington VIPs. This year’s lineup of performers includes Backstreet Boys, Sheryl Crow, Anna Kendrick, Janelle Monáe and Pat Monahan.
Christmas at Belmont 2013 — Dec. 20 at 10pm on PBS (check local listings). Acclaimed American mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves hosts this annual production of traditional carols, classical masterworks, world music and light-hearted seasonal favorites taped at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Nearly 700 Belmont University student musicians join Graves, the Belmont School of Music faculty and the Nashville Children’s Choir to present the seasonal celebration.
The Sound of Music (1965 film) — Dec. 22 at 7pm on ABC. ABC is re-airing the classic musical film, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.
Christmas in Norway with the St. Olaf Choir — Dec. 23 at 9pm on PBS (check local listings). From Trondheim’s historic Nidaros Cathedral, this special features the 75-voice St. Olaf Choir from St. Olaf College and the Norwegian girl choir, Nidaros Jentekor. The production pairs the cathedral’s spare gothic beauty and stunning acoustics with the distinctive a cappella singing style for which the St. Olaf Choir — which owes its origins and legacy to Norway — is internationally known. Musical selections include innovative arrangements of Christmas music (“The Word Was God” and “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming/The Rose”), gospel spirituals (“This Little Light of Mine”) and beloved Norwegian hymns and folk songs.
Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade — Dec. 25 at 10am on ABC (airtimes may vary per time zone; check local listings). Neil Patrick Harris and Nick Cannon join Lara Spencer as the 30th annual holiday special airs. The festivities will include Mary J. Blige singing yuletide carols from her new album, A Mary Christmas. There will also be a duet by American Idol Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks and Jason Derulo, as well as performances by Demi Lovato, the cast of Teen Beach Movie and Dove Cameron. Boy band The Wanted, Ne-Yo, Il Volo and American Idol Season 12 champion Candice Glover are among the other performers.
Blake Shelton’s Not So Family Christmas — Dec. 25 at 10pm on NBC. Blake Shelton will be joined by special guest stars Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson, Miranda Lambert, Larry the Cable Guy, Jay Leno and Reba. The special will feature performances of holiday classics along with new music and a number of comedy bits.
Live from Lincoln Center: “New York Philharmonic Gala with Yo-Yo Ma” — Dec. 31 at 8pm on PBS (check local listings). Ring in 2014 with the New York Philharmonic’s gala concert with guest cello soloist Yo-Yo Ma.
All-American New Year — Dec. 31 at 9pm on FOX News Channel. Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Bill Hemmer host this three-and-a-half-hour special that rings in 2014 live from Times Square in New York City. They will be joined by FNC’s Kimberly Guilfoyle, Bob Beckel, Ainsley Earhardt and Rick Leventhal. Additionally, FNC’s Griff Jenkins will provide viewers with an inside look at the celebrations taking place in the city. The program will include an exclusive performance by country music singer Rodney Atkins and will also feature performances by rock band Blues Traveler and Scottish singer and finalist of Britain’s Got Talent Susan Boyle. Additionally, FNC talent and guests will share their New Year’s resolutions with Vine videos to be presented throughout the program. FoxNews.com will provide users with access to multiple live video streams and content, including the biggest moments of 2013.
Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2014 — Dec. 31 from 10-11pm, and 11:30pm-1:08am on ABC. In the first hour, host Ryan Seacrest spotlights some of the year’s hottest artists, groups and songs. Fergie hosts the Los Angeles party, and Jenny McCarthy is live with all the festivities in Times Square. At 11:30pm, Seacrest counts down to midnight live from Times Square in New York City, and the party continues with acts in Los Angeles and New York. Artists announced as performers are Blondie, Icona Pop, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Miley Cyrus, Florida Georgia Line, Jason Derulo, Fall Out Boy, Jennifer Hudson, Enrique Iglesias, Robin Thicke, Capital Cities, Daughtry, Ariana Grande, Billy Joel and The Fray. Pitbull will appear in a live performance from Miami. Prior to the New Year celebration, from 8-10pm, a special called New Year’s Rockin’ Eve Presents The 30 Greatest Women in Music. In this special, Seacrest, McCarthy and Fergie will host a countdown of the 30 greatest female artists in music.
NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly — Dec. 31 from 10-11pm, and from 11:30pm-12:30am on NBC. This live, two-hour special rings in the new year with some of this year’s best musical performances. Carson Daly hosts the special for his ninth consecutive year, with Glee‘s Jane Lynch serving as co-host. Natasha Leggero and Anthony Anderson appear as guests, and there will be musical performances by Mariah Carey and Blake Shelton.
New Year’s Eve Live — Dec. 31 live at 11pm (tape-delayed CT/MT/PT) on FOX. Broadcast from Las Vegas, this special is hosted by Mario Lopez and features performances by J. Cole, Krewella, New Politics and Panic! At the Disco. Cameras will also capture the world-famous New Year’s Eve Ball live as it makes its descent into New York’s Times Square.
Great Performances: “From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2014” — Jan. 1, 2014 at 2:30pm & 8pm on PBS (check local listings). PBS rings in the New Year with the Vienna Philharmonic at the opulent Musikverein, under the baton of guest conductor Daniel Barenboim and featuring everyone’s favorite Strauss Family waltzes accompanied by the beautiful dancing of the Vienna City Ballet. In addition to the Musikverein concert setting, the broadcast will feature a picturesque range of Vienna landmarks. Stage and screen legend Julie Andrews will return as host.
Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir: Courtesy of Deb Gehris; Courtesy Mormon Tabernacle Choir © IRI 2013
Kelly Clarkson’s Cautionary Christmas Music Tale: Justin Lubin/NBC
Silent Night: Courtesy of Silent Night, 2011 © Michal Daniel for Minnesota Opera
Michael Buble’s 3rd Annual Christmas Special: Chris Large/NBC
Christmas in Norway: Courtesy of Lasse Berre Producer: Twin Cities Public Television (tpt)