San Franciscans do love their holiday music—or maybe they just relish the chance to pull out the Christmas sweaters, huddle together in Davies Memorial Hall or Grace Cathedral, and pretend that the weather outside is actually frightful. (Which it’s not, of course.) Here’s a guide, by venue:
Davies Hall: This year, the San Francisco Symphony’s holiday concerts include the usual (and much-loved) classical Yuletide hits from Tchaikovsky and Britten and Bach and Handel (yes, the Messiah), as well as some less-expected options: “A Merry-achi Christmas,” “Celebrating the Holydays with Sweet Honey in the Rock,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas Spectacular,” and the orchestra accompanying Raymond Briggs’ animated film, “The Snowman.”
Photo Courtesy of the SF Symphony
Grace Cathedral: Up at the top of Nob Hill, the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys reprises its traditional Christmas concert on five nights, families are invited to three daytime carol sing-alongs, and the American Bach Soloists present their version of Handel’s Messiah three nights in a row. And, for one night only, brass meets boom in “A Brass and Organ Christmas.” No matter how engrossing the music, though, don’t forget to look up and around: The cathedral’s 2016 artists in residence, Jim Campbell and Benjamin Bergery, have installed a Jacob’s ladder of LEDs in the north aisle.
Photo Courtesy of Grace Cathedral
St. Ignatius Church, San Francisco: Every December, Chanticleer—aka “the orchestra of voices”—comes home to the Bay Area for the holidays. We like to see them at USF’s St. Ignatius Church (the candlelight procession is breathtaking), but the all-male chorus will also perform at Oakland’s Cathedral of Christ the Light, the mission in Santa Clara, and in Petaluma, Carmel, Berkeley, and Sacramento as well.
Photo Courtesy of Chanticleer