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8 First Friday events to kick off the holiday season

December is always a busy time. But Friday seems to be especially packed with local events, particularly those that are arts- or holiday-related. Here are just a few:

• The December rendition of Jazz at the Bechtler will be “Holiday Jazz,” performed without intermission by the Ziad Jazz Quartet at two concerts: 6-7:30 p.m. and 8:15-9:45 p.m. This is the fourth year Jazz at the Bechtler has held a holiday-themed concert, and tickets for the 6 p.m. concert are sold out. Concerts are held at the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, 420 S. Tryon St. Free for members, $12 for nonmembers. www.bechtler.org.

• December’s Jazz N Soul Music First Friday concert at Petra’s Piano Bar (1919 Commonwealth Ave.) will feature the Shana Blake Band. Doors open at 7 p.m.; show starts at 9. These concerts highlight the best jazz, soul, R&B and blues musicians in the Carolinas. $8 or $6 for Listening Club members. www.petraspianobar.com.

• Atherton Mill and Market (2104 South Blvd.) will host its second annual First Friday Holiday Arts Market, 4-8 p.m. Beverages from Triple C Brewing Co. and Vin Master will be available for purchase, as well as the Roots food truck. This family-friendly event offers local holiday gift items. www.athertonmillandmarket.com.

• The sixth annual Palate to Palette wine and art pairing runs 7-10 p.m. at McColl Center For Visual Arts, 721 N. Tryon St. Presented by Michael J. Boyle, Palate to Palette will feature more than 10 participating artists. Wine served during the event will be on sale by the case or bottle, with the proceeds supporting arts and artists in the community. $30 for members, $40 for nonmembers. www.mccollcenter.org/palate-to-palette.

• The Greater Mount Sinai Baptist Church (1243 West Blvd.) will host “Salvation is Born: His Name Is Jesus – A Christmas Pageant,” a free theater performance 6-8 p.m. featuring costumes, singing, dancing and dramatic presentations for the family. Child care will be available. Light refreshments will be served. 704-332-2163.

• Belmont Abbey College chorus, voice and instrumental students will present the annual Arts at the Abbey: Holiday Concert, 8-9 p.m. at the Belmont Abbey Basilica, 100 Belmont-Mount Holly Road, Belmont. Karen Hite Jacob will direct the chorus and accompany, and Sam Stowe will direct the instrumental ensemble as they perform medieval to contemporary holiday music. Audience participation, accompanied by the basilica organ, is a concert highlight. Free; donations accepted. www.bac.edu.

• The Gift 2013 “The First Noel” will begin at 8 p.m. at Garr Memorial Church, 7700 Wallace Road. This collaboration of talent celebrates Jesus and the Christmas season and is a production of the Christian Arts, a division of R12 Ministries International. Free, but organizers recommend registering in advance and printing a paper ticket to reserve your spot. Details and to register: bit.ly/1bf93iu.

• Downtown Mooresville has a festive day planned 2-8 p.m. The 2013 Holiday Show and Christmas Bazaar will feature shopping at Charles Mack Citizen Center, crafts, children’s activities, Santa, live music, wagon rides through downtown and more. Outdoor events are in conjunction with the 75,000 holiday-light spectacular, which starts at 6 p.m. www.downtownmooresville.com.

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