8 things to do in January


Break out the grip of the winter doldrums by planning an outing for a nourishing dose of culture, music, history, science or a little giving back to the community.

all month
The North Carolina Symphony will rocket audiences to the sun, moon, planets and stars this month. January 10, the symphony performs The Planets by Gustav Holst. The program also includes Salina Fisher’s Rainphase and Claude Debussy’s Nocturnes and features the Women of the North Carolina Master Chorale. Gemma New conducts. Next up in their ongoing pops series is The Music of Elton John Featuring Michael Cavanaugh January 17-18. Vocalist and pianist Cavanaugh (handpicked by Billy Joel to portray him in the Broadway musical Movin’ Out) joins the symphony for an evening of crocodile rocking. January 24-25 legendary pianist Stephen Hough joins the symphony for Johannes Brahms’ Concerto No. 2. The program also includes Louise Farrenc’s Overture No. 1 in E. Minor and Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 4. Grant Llewellyn conducts. All of these performances take place at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Finally, the symphony’s string section will accompany the majestic organ at the Holy Name of Jesus Cathedral January 31 for the music of Vaughan Williams Respighi. Heavenly.

See website for dates, times and locations for each performance; from $20;ncsymphony.org


January 11
Reap what you sow at Camden Street Learning Garden’s Soil Slingin’ Second Saturday January 11. Soil Slingin’ is an ongoing initiative (every second Saturday of the month) for the downtown community garden that gives individuals hands-on composting experience. “This is an opportunity for folks to learn more about the beauty of composting in all phases: building a new pile from scratch, maintaining active piles, and sifting finished compost to be used in the garden,” says Kat Nigro from CompostNow. Bring the family and find out what’s cooking in the Compost Kitchen, the garden’s collaborative composting system with Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. If you sling, you should bring closed-toed shoes and a reusable water bottle. 

10 a.m. – 12 p.m; free; 315 Camden St.; foodshuttle.org/camden-garden


January 19

During the Victorian Era, etiquette dictated that mourners dress in black out of respect for the deceased. It was fashionable for both men and women to accessorize this look with mourning jewelry—rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches and other pieces often made with black stones and inscripted with memorials to loved ones. Discover the Art of Mourning Jewelry with Hayden Peters at Oakwood Cemetery January 19. Peters is a jewelry historian and lecturer from Australia, who hosts the site Art of Mourning (artofmourning.com), a teaching platform dedicated to sharing the macabre history of this unique style of jewelry popular from the 1500s through the early 1900s. Don’t mourn this loss: secure tickets early, Peters’ last lecture at Oakwood Cemetery sold out.

2 – 3:30 p.m.; $15; 701 Oakwood Ave.; eventbrite.com keyword: art of mourning jewelry

January 20

Does a spoonful of sugar scientifically help the medicine go down? Find out with Neil deGrasse Tyson: An Astrophysicist Goes to the Movies—The Sequel January 20 at the Durham Performing Arts Center. DeGrasse Tyson reviews movies like The Wizard of Oz, Mary Poppins and Interstellar and gives two thumbs up or down on the plausibility of the science in the storylines. Challenge your willingness to suspend disbelief during this evening of weird science.

7:30 p.m.; from $50; 123 Vivian St.;dpacnc.com


January 24-25
BJ Barham, the frontman for the alt country band American Aquarium, is proud to call Raleigh home. So proud, he invites fans from all over the country to visit. January 24-25 marks the sixth annual American Aquarium’s Road Trip to Raleigh with two nights of performances at Lincoln Theatre. Friday night the band will be joined by Futurebirds and Mike & The Moonpies and on Saturday they will be joined by Charley Crockett and Kelsey Waldon. Pre- or post-show, take advantage of the restaurant and bar scene downtown—many local establishments will have American Aquarium-themed libations and dishes. Dive in.

8 p.m.; $30; 126 E. Cabarrus St.; lincolntheatre.com


January 24-26
The North Carolina Opera (NCO) presents Pagliacci January 24 and 26 at the Duke Energy Center for them Performing Arts. The masterpiece by Ruggero Leoncavallo is the story of the tragic hero Canio who plays the role of a clown in a band of traveling carnival players. His jealousy over his wife’s perceived infidelity leads to tragic results. NCO welcomes back returning artists Carl Tanner (Sampson and Delilah) and UNC-Chapel Hill graduate Melinda Whittington (Cold Mountain), along with Keitaro Harada (Carmen 2019) conducting the orchestra and chorus. Please note: the opera has a prologue and two acts and is sung in Italian with projected English translations.

See website for performance dates and times; from $24; 2 E. South St.; ncopera.org


January 25-26
Mission control countdown has begun for Astronomy Days 2020 at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences January 25-26. Join the museum team and the Raleigh Astronomy Club for two days of space exploration. With activities like astronomy quiz games, comet crafts, solar observing and driving a robot rover to exhibits like Animals of the Constellations, Astrophotography and Current Space Missions, explorers young and old will expand their universe. Suit up for this stellar afternoon.  

See website for dates and times; free; 11 W. Jones St.; naturalsciences.org


January 30-February 16
The Carolina Ballet presents Rhapsody in Blue January 30 through February 16. The ballet pays tribute to legendary American composers George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein. Written in 1924, the iconic Rhapsody in Blue continues to inspire artists and audiences alike. Bernstein’s Symposium is on the program as well and features a new work choreographed by artistic director Zalman Raffael and founding artistic director Robert Weiss. 

See website for ballet dates and times; from $37; 2 E. South St.; carolinaballet.com