San Francisco Community Music Center’s “Navidad en la Misión” on Dec. 6 at Mission Dolores Basilica includes holiday music from across the centuries sung in Spanish. (Courtesy Judy Rosenfeld)

Holiday Classical and Choral 2019: Sing on!

Carols and more in churches and concert halls

Choristers and classical musicians ring in the holidays, with carols, sing-alongs and sacred works — in particular, Handel’s masterful “Messiah.”

Christmas in the Mission/Navidad en la Misión: The Community Music Center concert, sung in Spanish, covers 400 years, with contemporary holiday songs and rarely heard holiday music from the 17th and 18th centuries. 7 p.m. Dec. 6, $5-$15. Mission Dolores Basilica, 3321 16th St., S.F.

KITKA’s Wintersongs: “Weathering the Storm” is the theme of the annual holiday program by the women’s ensemble, which showcases seasonal music from Eastern European traditions. $20-$65. Opens Dec. 6 (7:30 p.m., Peace United Church, 900 High St., Santa Cruz) and continues at various locations, concluding at 4 p.m. Dec. 23 at Old First Church, 1751 Sacramento St., S.F.,,

San Francisco Choral Society: Under director Robert Geary, the 30-year-old group performs Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio,Cantatas 4-6” and “Magnificat in D.” 8 p.m. Dec. 6-7, $35-$50, St. Ignatius Church, 650 Parker St., S.F.,

San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus: Velocity Handbell Ensemble joins the singers in the concert, titled “Holigays are Here: Ring Them Bells.” 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6, 3 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, $25-$110. Sydney Goldstein Theatre, 275 Hayes St., S.F.,

San Francisco Youth Chorus: Sunset Music and Arts presents advanced ensembles of the choral group in an intimate performance of holiday music from throughout the ages and across the globe. 4 p.m., Dec. 7, $15. Church of the Incarnation, 1750 29th Ave., S.F.,

San Francisco Bach Choir: “Journeys by Candlelight: Christmas Near and Far” includes “sacred and festive, peaceful and noisy, and intimate and celebratory” music from around the world and throughout centuries. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, 4 p.m. Dec. 8, $10-$35. Calvary Presbyterian Church, 2515 Fillmore St., S.F.,

Mission Peak Chamber Singers: Directed by Ofer dal Lal, the group’s 34th annual Christmas-at-the-Mission concert is called “Navidad Nuestra.” 7 p.m. Dec. 7, 4 p.m. Dec. 8, $15-$20. Old San Mission Jose, 43300 Mission Blvd., Fremont,

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir: Fantastic Negrito hosts the 34th annual holiday concert, “Open Your Mouth, Say Somethin’!” with guests JaCoree and Ms. Jackie Tolbert. 7 p.m. Dec. 7, $17-$47. Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland,

Ragazzi Boys Chorus’ concert “Celebrations of the Season: Stories of Our Immigrant Heritage” is in Palo Alto on Dec. 7, San Francisco on Dec. 8 and Burlingame on Dec. 15. (Courtesy David Allen)

Ragazzi Boys Chorus: “Celebrations of the Season: Stories of Our Immigrant Heritage” includes music from Poland, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, China and Africa. 2 p.m. Dec. 7 at First United Methodist Church, 625 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto; 3 p.m. Dec. 8 at Old First Church, 1751 Sacramento St., S.F. and 4 p.m. Dec. 15 at Burlingame United Methodist Church, 1443 Howard Ave., Burlingame; $5-$30,,

Merri-Achi Christmas: Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez celebrates Mexico’s Christmas traditions. 8 p.m. Dec. 8, $35-$125. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F.,

San Francisco Contemporary Music Players: The family friendly “Celebration of the Elements” includes “The Ice Is Talking” by Vivian Fung and Jason Treuting’s participatory “How to (Blank).” 3 p.m. Dec. 8, free. Women’s Building, 3543 18th St., #8, S.F.,

San Francisco Symphony Deck the Hall: Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser conducts the orchestra and children’s choruses in the program with appearances by ballet students and members of the Hawaiian dance troupe Nā Lei Hulu I Ka Wēkiu, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Dec. 8, $55-$80. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F.,

Cantare Con Vivo: The Oakland-based community choral organization’s holiday concert “Star of Wonder, Star of Night” includes carols and music by Bach, Bruckner, Glick and more. 4 p.m. Dec. 8 at First Presbyterian Church, 2619 Broadway, Oakland; and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, 1801 Lacassie Ave, Walnut Creek, $10-$40,

Pacifica Edge Voices: “Starry Nights” includes music by Britten, Poulenc, Schoenberg, Samuel Barber, Dave Brubeck, William Dawson, Sanford Dole and Randall Thompson. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12, $25-$35. Green Room, 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F.,

Mayflower Chorus: “An Animated Holiday” features music from “Rudolph,” “Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Polar Express” and “Frozen.” 8 p.m. Dec. 13, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m Dec. 14, $8-$22. Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael,

Sing You a Merry Christmas: The one-hour carol sing-along is for children and families. 11 a.m. Dec. 14 and Dec. 21, 3 p.m. Dec. 20 and Dec. 23, $10-$25. Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F.,

San Francisco Boys Chorus: Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols” is the centerpiece of the program, which features guest tenor Christopher Oglesby and harpist Meredith Clark. 4 p.m. Dec. 14, $30-$40. St. John’s Presbyterian Church, 2727 College Ave., Berkeley,

San Francisco Youth Chorus: “Winter Memories” includes holiday favorites as well as the spiritual “Peter, Go Ring a Dem Bells” and Bruno Coulais’ “Vois sur ton chemins.” 4 p.m. Dec. 14. $14, free for children 13 and younger. First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1187 Franklin St., S.F.,

Grace Cathedral Choir of Men & Boys: A tradition since 1947, “A Cathedral Christmas” offers classic carols and sacred masterpieces with full orchestra and organ. 3 p.m. Dec. 14-15 and Dec. 21-22, 7:30 p.m, Dec. 20, $15-$70. Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F.,

Merit Scholars Holiday Concert: Community School of Music and Arts’ annual show features students ages 10-18 playing seasonal favorites. 5 p.m. Dec. 14, free. Tateuchi Hall, 230 San Antonio Circle, Mountain View,

Chanticleer: The all-male choir’s holiday concert showcases carols in half-a-dozen languages.” 8 p.m. Dec. 14 and Dec. 22, $35-$79. St. Ignatius Church, University of San Francisco, 650 Parker St., S.F.,

Young Women’s Choral Project: “Hear the Angels Sing” is a winter showcase featuring four choruses singing solo and together in a program of music by Jacob Handl, Heinrich Schütz, Arvo Pärt, Maurice Duruflé, Sarah Quartel, John Rutter and the contemporary “Cedit Hyems” by Abbie Betinis. 4 p.m. Dec. 14, $10-$40. Calvary Presbyterian Church, 2515 Fillmore St., S.F.,

Mission Dolores Basilica Choir: The theme of the group’s 28th annual Christmas program is “Known and Unknown,” resourcing seasonal works from anonymous composers around the world. 5 p.m. Dec. 15, $20-$30. 3321 16th St., S.F.,

Oakland Symphony: Michael Morgan conducts the orchestra and choral groups in “The Music of Aretha Franklin: Let Us Break Bread Together.” 4 p.m. Dec. 15, $15-$70. Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland,

Peter and the Wolf: The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra plays Prokofiev’s classic, with conductor Daniel Stewart and and narrator Dulce Sloan. 2 p.m. Dec. 15. $20-$85. Davies Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F.,

Schola Cantorum Silicon Valley: Kirke Mechem’s “Seven Joys of Christmas,” a mix of unusual carols from different countries with accompaniment by harpist Dan Levitan, is followed by a carol singalong. 2 p.m. Dec. 15, $28. St. Joseph Church, 10110 North De Anza Blvd., Cupertino,

San Francisco Choral Artists: “From Pole to Pole: Christmas in the Three Americas” offers music from ancient Peru, modern Canada, Baroque Mexico, early New England and contemporary California. 4 p.m. Dec. 15, $15-$35. St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1111 O’Farrell St., S.F.,

Ragazzi Continuo: The adult a cappella choir’s “Winter Wonderland” includes texts by Shakespeare, Austrian drinking songs and works by Vivaldi, Mendelssohn and Debussy. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 178 Clinton St., Redwood City, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21 at St. Ann Chapel Anglican Church, 541 Melville Ave., Palo Alto, and 3 p.m. Dec. 22 at Trinity St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 1620 Gough St., S.F., $15-$25,

San Francisco Girls Chorus: Valérie Sainte-Agathe leads the nearly 300-voice group, harpist Bridget Kibbey, Clerestory and The Living Earth Show in “A Ceremony of Carols.” 7 p.m. Dec. 16, $30-$62. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F.,

Brass musicians play in Grace Cathedral’s annual holiday concert on Dec. 16, which also features the church’s 7,466-pipe Aeolian-Skinner organ. (Courtesy Jeremiah McWright)

A Brass and Organ Christmas: Local brass musicians appear in a 90-minute, two-part concert also featuring the church’s 7,466-pipe Aeolian-Skinner organ. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16, $15-$70. Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F.,

New Century Chamber Orchestra: “Christmas with Anne Sofie von Otter” features the mezzo-soprano and concertmaster Daniel Hope in a program of holiday music by Bach and Vivaldi and traditional tunes. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18 at First United Methodist Church, 625 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto; 7:30 p.m., Dec. 19 at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1111 O’Farrell St., S.F., and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley, $30-$67.50,

Tomáseen Foley’s A Celtic Christmas: The concert is a recreation of a night before Christmas in a small farm house in the West of Ireland, in the days before cars, televisions or telephones. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19, $32-$56. Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View,

S.F. Symphony Festival of Carols: Ragnar Bohlin conducts the San Francisco Symphony Chorus and San Francisco Girls Chorus in the concert featuring brass musicians and organist Jonathan Dimmock. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19-20, $29-$79. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F.,

Golden Bough: The Celtic ensemble, celebrating 40 years, plays versions of Celtic songs of winter and offers a unique take on better-known Christmas carols. 8 p.m. Dec. 21, $5-$25. Old First Church, 1751 Sacramento St., S.F.,

San Francisco Renaissance Voices: “Christmas Lessons and Carols” is a family-friendly candlelight service of Advent and holiday songs. 4 p.m. Dec. 21, free (registration required). Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, 1750 29th Ave., S.F.,

The Choral Project: “Winter’s Gifts” includes music by Dominick Argento, Adrian Peacock, Anica Galindo, Brent Heisinger, John Paynter and the premiere of “Tapestry of Life” by conductor Daniel Hughes, accompanied by the San Jose Chamber Orchestra. 7 p.m. Dec. 22, $10-$35. Mission Santa Clara, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara,

San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus performs “Holigays are Here” at the Castro Theatre on Dec. 24. (Courtesy JP Lor)

San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Holigays are Here: Celebratng its 29th anniversary, the concert is the group’s “signature romp through seasonal favorites new and old.” 5 and 7 and 9 p.m. Dec. 24, $35-$45. Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., S.F.,

American Bach Soloists New Year’s Eve: Mezzo soprano Sarah Coit and baritone Hadleigh Adams appear in “A Baroque New Year’s Eve at the Opera.” 4 p.m. Dec. 31. $25-$125. Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F.


George Frideric Handel’s oratorio has become a holiday classic. Here are local performances:

Valley Concert Chorale: The Tri-Valley’s longtime chorus hosts its annual Sing-It-Yourself Messiah. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6, $15. Asbury United Methodist Church 4743 East Ave., Livermore,

Handel’s Sing it Yourself Messiah: The Golden Gate Orchestra and Chorus’ annual participatory event showcases soloists Yi Triplett, Chrystal Philippi, Anders Froehlich and Ryan Bradford. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9, $25-$45. Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F.,

American Bach Soloists: American Bach Choir and ABS period-instrument specialists perform “Messiah” in the majestic church setting, under direction by Jeffrey Thomas, with soloists Hélène Brunet, soprano; Rebecca Powers, mezzo-soprano; Steven Brennfleck, tenor; and Hadleigh Adams, baritone. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11-13, $25-$125. Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F.,

San Francisco Symphony and Chorus: Ragnar Bohlin conducts and directs Handel’s masterwork, with solo vocalists Lauren Snouffer, Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, Ben Bliss and Adam Lau. 8 p.m. Dec. 13-14, $20-$170. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F.,

Messiah Sing Along/Play Along: Stephen Sano conducts the annual concert, a campus favorite, with orchestral parts provided and scores for singers to buy at the door. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 13, $13-$23. Memorial Church, 450 Serra Mall, Stanford University,

Schola Cantorum Silicon Valley: The 100-voice choir performs its 53rd annual sing-along “Messiah” led by new artistic director Buddy James. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16, $18-$36. Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View,

CalendarClassical Music

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Candidates vie for four seats on SF school board

Pandemic adds to pressing issues already facing SFUSD leaders

Police launch hate crime investigations after shots fired near Armenian school

Incident follows anti-Armenian graffiti and suspected arson at church

Court prevents Trump administration from blocking WeChat pending hearing

Late Saturday night, a federal judge in San Francisco issued a preliminary… Continue reading

San Francisco Symphony, Opera musicians settle contracts

Performers’ salaries modified due to inability to play live

Most Read