‘Tis the season for singing! Holiday concerts are here again

Mariachi Sol de Mexico's holiday fusion concert "A Merry-Achi Christmas" comes to San Jose and San Francisco. (Courtesy of Mariachi Sol de Mexico)

Christmas music and songs are back! After months and months of keeping distance and mouth-and-nose covering, it’s time to break out holiday favorites in honest-to-goodness groups in public. Following a lengthy pandemic-induced break, many perennial seasonal concerts are again happening in 2022, and choristers and symphonic musicians will ring in the holidays with carols, sing-alongs and sacred works.  

Presenters of some performances and events are continuing to observe audience COVID-related restrictions (mask-wearing, vaccination card checks) for the health and safety of performers and patrons, so be sure to check the websites below before purchasing tickets to ensure you know the protocol. 

Here, in chronological order, are some of this year’s holiday music gatherings across the region:  

A Merry-Achi Christmas:  The 13-member Mariachi Sol de Mexico de Jose Hernandez combines Mexican and American holiday traditions in a lively show. 3 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 25 at Hammer Theatre, 101 Paseo de San Antonio, San Jose, $35-$45, hammertheatre.com, and 7:30 pm. Dec. 22 at Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F., $25-$200, sfsymphony.org 

The age-old Vienna Boys Choir appears in concert at UC Berkeley, Sonoma State and Stanford. (Vienna Boys Choir website screen shot)

Vienna Boys Choir: The acclaimed group which dates back to the Middle Ages presents “Christmas in Vienna,” a concert of Austrian folk songs, classical masterpieces, popular songs and holiday favorites. 2 p.m. Nov. 26 at Zellerbach Hall, UC Berkeley campus, $20-$118, calperformances.org; 3 p.m. Nov. 27 at Weill Hall, Green Music Center, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, $45-$105, https://gmc.sonoma.edu/holidays/; and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 28 at Bing Concert Hall, Stanford, $15-$64, stanfordlivetickets.org

An Irish Christmas Tour showcasing holiday music and dance comes to various locales in the Bay Area and throughout California. (Courtesy Kerry Irish Productions)

An Irish Christmas Tour: The showcase of Irish holiday traditions and classic carols created by Margaret O’Carroll features performers from Riverdance, Lord of the Dance and Celtic Wings. 7 p.m. Nov. 25 at Spreckels Performing Arts Center in Rohnert Park; 2 p.m. Nov. 27 at Hammer Theatre Center in San Jose; 7 p.m. Nov. 30 at Vacaville Performing Arts Center in Vacaville; 7 p.m. Dec. 1 at United Irish Cultural Center in San Francisco; $35-$57, kerryirishproductions.com/ 

San Francisco Bay Men’s Chorus’ colorful Holiday Spectacular comes to stages across the Bay Area. (Photo by Gooch/Courtesy SFGMC)

San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday Spectacular: Seasonal favorites, classical choral works and a Cher medley are on the program. 8 p.m. Dec. 2 and 3:30 and 8 p.m. Dec. 3 at Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco., 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at Freight & Salvage in Berkeley; 5 p.m. Dec. 17 at Green Music Center in Rohnert Park, $25-$145, cityboxoffice.com ,sfgmc.org/season-45

Kitka, known for repertoire from Eastern Europe, appears in winter concerts across the region in a program with a focus on Ukraine. (Photo by Vincent Louis Carrella)

Kitka’s Wintersongs: “Shchedry Vechir,” a phrase in Ukrainian carols that translates as “a generous evening,” is the theme of the annual concert by the women’s vocal ensemble, which presents music from Eastern European traditions. Opens at 11 a.m. Dec. 3 with a free virtual Community Sing “Koliada: Wintersongs from Ukraine with Inna Kovtun and Nadia Tarnawsky”; in-person performances are at 8 p.m. Dec. 9 in Belvedere; 8 p.m. Dec. 10 in Sacramento; 4 p.m. Dec. 11 in Menlo Park; 8 p.m. Dec. 16-17 in Oakland; and 4 p.m. Dec. 18 in San Francisco, $25-$50, kitka.org

The Peninsula-based Ragazzi Boys Chorus appears in holiday concerts in Palo Alto and San Francisco. (Courtesy David Allen)

Ragazzi Boys Chorus: “Magnificent Wonders” includes favorites such as “Joy to the World,” “Ding Dong! Merrily On High” and “I Saw Three Ships” as well as Franz Biebl’s “Ave Maria, Non Nobis Domine,” John Rutter’s “For the Beauty of the Earth” and the Nigerian carol “Betelehemu.” 1 p.m. Dec. 3 at First United Methodist Church, 625 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto and 4 p.m. Dec. 11 at Old First Church, 1751 Sacramento St., S.F., $15-$45, ragazzi.org/performances 

Contra Costa Chamber Ensemble: “Holiday Rhapsodies and Reveries” includes works by Vaughan Williams, Debussy and Liszt as well as pianist Paul Schrage playing Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and Lisa Canter soloing in Vivaldi’s Bassoon Concerto in E Minor. 4 p.m. Dec. 3 at Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek and 4 p.m. Dec. 4 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Orinda, $7-$20, contracostachamberorchestra.org/

Cantare: The Oakland-based community choral organization’s holiday concert includes works by Bach, Sweelinck, Howells and Lauridsen and carol sing-along. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3 at Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, 1801 Lacassie Ave., Walnut Creek, and 4 p.m. Dec. 4 at First Presbyterian Church, 2619 Broadway, Oakland, $10-$40, cantareconvivo.org 

Mission Peak Chamber Singers: The annual holiday concert promises “joyous song and good cheer.” 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, $15-$45, Old San Mission Jose, 43300 Mission Blvd., Fremont, chambersingers.org 

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir’s 37th annual concert, “Still Standing,” is at the Scottish Rite Center in Oakland. (Photo by David Kim/Courtesy OIGC)

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir: “Still Standing” is the title of the 37th annual holiday concert, featuring Miss Jackie Tolbert and JaCoree Prothro, Josh Carter and Kathi Mills. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, $30-$100; $15 to stream, Scottish Rite Center, 1547 Lakeside Drive, Oakland, oigc.org 

San Francisco Bach Choir: “Songs of Spirit and Joy” includes new discoveries, favorites such as “The Boar’s Head” processional, music by candlelight and sing-along carols. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4 p.m. Dec. 4, $15-$40, Calvary Presbyterian Church, 2515 Fillmore St., S.F., sfbach.org 

Pacifica Edge Voices: “Journey to Peace” celebrates music from countries most impacted by the Russian invasion, with composer Hanna Havrylets’ “All My Hope” the program centerpiece. 8 p.m. Dec. 3 at Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, 1111 Gough St., S.F. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 9 at First Congregational Church, 2330 Durant Ave., Berkeley, $15-$25, cityboxoffice.com

Ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro brings his highly anticipated holiday show to Santa Rosa and Livermore. (Courtesy Jake Shimabukuro)

Jake Shimabukuro Christmas in Hawaii: The ukulele master and “ambassador of aloha” appears in his highly anticipated holiday show. 8 p.m. Dec. 3 at Luther Burbank Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa, $39-$59, lutherburbankcenter.org, and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19 at Bankhead Theater, 2400 First St., Livermore, $20-$110. livermorearts.org

Livermore-Amador Symphony: “Holiday Joy” includes Coleridge-Taylor’s Christmas Overture, Vaughan Williams: Fantasia on Greensleeves, Grieg’s Lyric Suite, and Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3. “Organ.” 8:15 p.m. Dec. 3, $27-$39, Bankhead Theater, Livermore, livermorearts.org

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 Dholrhythms Dance Company. 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Dec. 4, $60-$85, Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F., sfsymphony.org 

Jack London State Historic Park Winter Concert: The Jack London Piano Club, a group of talented volunteers at the park, performs holiday music from around the world on London’s wife Charmian’s 1901 Steinway baby grand piano on the second floor of the House of Happy Walls museum. 2 p.m. Dec. 4, $20, 2400 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen, jacklondonpark.com/events 

Solano Symphony Orchestra concertmaster Maxim Baluyev appears in “Holiday Celebration” on Dec. 4 in Vacaville. (Courtesy Solano Symphony Orchestra)

Solano Symphony Orchestra: “Holiday Celebration” features Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” and concertmaster Maxim Baluyev playing Bach’s first Violin Concerto in A minor. 3 p.m. Dec. 4, $10-$35, Vacaville Performing Arts Theatre, 1010 Ulatis Drive, Vacaville, vpat.net 

San Francisco Youth Chorus:  Sunset Music and Arts presents advanced ensembles performing holiday tunes from throughout the ages. 5 p.m. Dec. 4, $20, Church of the Incarnation, 1750 29th Ave., S.F., Sunset Music and Arts (wordpress.com)

Winchester Orchestra: The nonprofit community ensemble presents “Tchaikovsky and the Holiday Touch,” a concert of Christmas music conducted by Scott Seaton featuring soloist Victoria Hauk playing Vivaldi’s Flute Concerto No. 3, “Goldfinch.” 7 p.m. Dec. 4, $10-$20. Lincoln Glen Church, 2700 Booksin Ave., San Jose, winchesterorchestra.com/event_2/

Mission Dolores Basilica Choir: The 31st annual Christmas program “Known and Unknown” features “Mass of the Shepherds” by Brazilian composer José Mauricio Nuñes Garcia. 5 p.m. Dec. 5, $20-$30, 3321 16th St., S.F., cityboxoffice.com 

Clerestory Holiday Concert: Berkeley Chamber Performances presents the nine-member male vocal group (who are veterans of the Bay Area’s finest ensembles) in “Sweet Was the Song,” featuring Christmas music by Renaissance masters, 20th century craftsmen and present-day songsmiths. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6, $17.50-$35, Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Ave., Berkeley, berkeleychamberperform.org/ 

San José State University Jazz Orchestra returns to Hammer Theatre Center with Cool Yule, a jazz concert featuring favorite holiday songs. (Courtesy SJSU H&A Marketing)

Cool Yule: The San José State University Jazz Orchestra led by saxophonist Aaron Lington plays a concert with mainstream jazz and holiday classics; the Valley Christian High School Jazz Ensemble, directed by Marcus Wolfe, also appears. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6, $30, Hammer Theatre Center, San Jose, hammertheater.com 

Christmas with the Celts at Heritage Theatre in Campbell features classic and contemporary Irish music. (Courtesy Heritage Theatre)

Christmas with the Celts: The popular 12-year-old national touring show combines timeless Irish carols and Irish dance with contemporary songs featuring Irish instrumentation. 8 p.m. Dec. 9, $55.  Heritage Theatre, 1 W. Campbell Ave., Campbell, christmaswithcelts.com  

Mayflower Chorus: “Shine On” features uplifting songs celebrating the “glitz, glitter and fun” of Christmas and Hanukkah. 8 p.m. Dec. 9, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10, $12-$29, Marin Center, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael, tickets.marincenter.org 

Silicon Valley Gay Men’s Chorus: “Evergreen,” the group’s 40th “Rubyversary” season holiday concert, offers unexpected and traditional Yuletide favorites including the local premiere of “Welcome Winter!” by queer musicians Bruce Olstad (lyrics) and Mark Carlson (music). 8 p.m. Dec. 9-10, 3 p.m. Dec. 11. $20-$30, Santa Clara University Recital Hall, 114 Franklin St., Santa Clara, https://svgmc.org/tickets   

Voices of Music: “Holiday Concertos” features violinists Elizabeth Blumenstock, Chloe Kim, YuEun Kim, Kati Kyme and trumpeter Dominic Favia playing Bach E Major violin concerto, the Torelli Christmas concerto, the Vivaldi recorder concerto RV 444 and the Telemann Trumpet concerto in D Major. 8 p.m. Dec. 9 in San Francisco, 7 p.m. Dec. 10 in Palo Alto, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11 in Berkeley; $5 (students) to $58, voicesofmusic.org/concerts

Young Women’s Choral Project: “Carols by Candlelight” includes carols, original seasonal works by Eric Tuan and Shawn Kirchner’s American folk oratorio “The Light of Hope Returning.” 8 p.m. Dec. 9, $5 (streaming) to $25, Old First Church, 1751 Sacramento St., S.F., oldfirstconcerts.org 

Sing You a Merry Christmas: The one-hour carol sing-along is for children and families. 11 a.m. Dec. 10 and Dec. 17, 3 p.m. Dec. 21-22, $8-$27. Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F., cityboxoffice.com 

Community Music Center Winter Celebration Concert: CMC faculty member Shirley Wong-Frentzel hosts music from the Renaissance to European classics to popular 20th century Americana performed on voice, winds, strings and keyboard. 3 p.m. Dec. 10, free. RSVP required. Osher Performance Center, Byer Square, Frank Residences, 1 Avalon Ave., S.F., sfcmc.org

 San Francisco Boys Chorus: The intermediate chorus performs César Franck’s “Panis Angelicus” in a program with traditional winter songs played with handbells. 4 p.m. Dec. 10, $30-$40, Episcopal Church of the Incarnation, 1750 29th Ave., S.F., sfbc.org 

Grace Cathedral Choir of Men & Boys: A tradition since 1947, “A Cathedral Christmas” offers classic carols and sacred masterpieces with full orchestra and organ. 4:30 p.m. Dec. 10-11 and Dec. 17-18, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 23, $17-$81, Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F., cityboxoffice.com 

Merit Scholars Holiday Concert: Community School of Music and Arts’ annual show features elementary and high school students playing seasonal favorites. 5 p.m. Dec. 10, free, Tateuchi Hall, 230 San Antonio Circle, Mountain View, arts4all.org 

Boston Brass will be joined by a big band for a swingin’ holiday show at Green Music Center. (Courtesy Boston Brass)

Boston Brass and the Brass All-Stars Big Band: In “Christmas Bells are Swingin’,” trumpets, French horns, trombones and tubas play big band arrangements of tunes from Stan Kenton Christmas carols to Motown “Jingle Bells.” 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10, $25-$75. Weill Hall, Green Music Center, Rohnert Park, gmc.sonoma.edu/holidays/ 

The annual “Carols in the California” (2009 is pictured) offers audiences the opportunity to sing along with the Symphony San Jose Chorale. (Courtesy Symphony San Jose)

Symphony San Jose Chorale: The 15th annual “Carols in the California,” directed by Elena Sharkova, includes sing-along carols, a brass ensemble and music performed by members of Symphony San Jose and the SSJ Chorale. 7 p.m. Dec. 10, $26-$36, California Theatre, 345 S. First St., San Jose, symphonysanjose.org 

Peter and the Wolf: The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra plays Prokofiev’s classic, with conductor Daniel Stewart and celebrity narrator W. Kamau Bell. 2 p.m. Dec. 11. $10-$125, Davies Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F., www.sfsymphony.org 

Tomáseen Foley’s A Celtic Christmas: The atmospheric concert is a recreation of a night before Christmas in a small farmhouse in the West of Ireland in the 1950s.  3 p.m. Dec. 11, $34-$49, Rio Theatre 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, tomaseenfoley.com 

Oakland Symphony: Lenny Wee and Ash Walker conduct the orchestra and choral groups in “The Music of Earth, Wind and Fire: Let Us Break Bread Together.” 4 p.m. Dec. 11, $15-$65, Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland, oaklandsymphony.org 

San Francisco Choral Artists: “Christmas Postcards” offers music from six continents and 500 years. 4 p.m. Dec. 11 in San Francisco; 8 p.m. Dec. 17 in Palo Alto; 4 p.m. Dec. 18 in Oakland, $15-$35, sfca.org 

Schola Cantorum Silicon Valley: The family concert features Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols,” Alfred Burt’s carols and “A Christmas Garland” by Conrad Susa. 4 p.m. Dec. 11, $30, Los Altos United Methodist Church, 655 Magdalena Ave., Los Altos, scholacantorum.org 

Chanticleer, the Grammy-winning all-male choir, is making the rounds with its popular Christmas concert. (Courtesy Chanticleer)

Chanticleer: The Grammy-winning all-male choir’s Christmas concert features new arrangements of well-known tunes. 8 p.m. Dec. 11 in Oakland; 7:30 p.m.  Dec. 15 at Stanford; 5 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16 in Petaluma; 8 p.m. Dec. 17-18 in San Francisco; 8 p.m. Dec. 20 in Sacramento; 6 and 8:30 p.m. Dec. 21 in Carmel; 4 and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 22 in Santa Clara; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 23 in Berkeley, $36-$80, Chanticleer.org/christmas

A Brass and Organ Christmas: Local brass musicians appear in a 90-minute concert also featuring the majestic church’s 7,466-pipe Aeolian-Skinner organ. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12, $17-$81, Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F., cityboxoffice.com 

After two years away, San Francisco Girls Chorus returns to Davies Hall for its annual December concert showcasing all levels of the choral school. (Courtesy SFCG)

San Francisco Girls Chorus: Valérie Sainte-Agathe leads the nearly 300-voice group in spirituals, cutting-edge vocal works including Susie Ibarra’s “Dreaming Horizons,” a commission and world premiere, and holiday favorites. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12, $30-$65. Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F., cityboxoffice.com 

San Francisco Youth Chorus: “Winter Memories” includes Bob Chilcott’s “Red Boots On,” the Nigerian carol “Betelehemu,” the Israeli folk song “Ma Navu,” George Michael’s “Last Christmas” and Fleet Foxes’ “White Winter Hymnal.” 4 p.m. Dec. 14. $20, free for children 13 and younger. First Unitarian Universalist Church, 1187 Franklin St., S.F., sanfranciscoyouthchorus.org 

The San Francisco Forest Choir performs a holiday concert at the West Portal Branch of the San Francisco Public Library. (SFPL website screen shot)

San Francisco Forest Choir Holiday Concert: The Japanese women’s choir, founded in 2003 and under guidance of artistic director Ruriko Miura, performs seasonal songs and songs wishing for peace in several languages. Noon Dec. 15, free, S.F. Library West Portal Branch, 190 Lenox Way, S.F., sfpl.org 

The Choral Project: “Winter’s Gifts: Peace,” a collaboration with San Jose Chamber Orchestra, features selections from classical and contemporary composers including René Clausen, Joan Szymko, William Susman and Ahmed Alabaca and premieres by Theodore Lucas and Choral Project founder Daniel Hughes. 8 p.m. Dec. 16 at Mission Santa Clara de Asís, Santa Clara; 8 p.m. Dec. 17 at First United Methodist Church, Palo Alto, $15-$40, choralproject.org

San Francisco Choral Society Festival of Carols: The program includes “A la nanita nana,” “In Winter,” “Carol of the Bells,” “The Rose” and “Glow.” 2 p.m. Dec. 17, $100.  Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 1187 Franklin St., S.F., sfchoral.org 

Pacific Boychoir Academy: “Harmonies of the Season” includes holiday favorites new and old sung by Oakland’s Grammy-winning children’s choir. 8 p.m. Dec. 17 at Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison St., Oakland and 4 p.m. Dec.18 at St. Mary’s College Chapel, 1928 St. Mary’s Road, Moraga, $30-$150, pacificboychoir.org/concerts-and-events/ 

Baymele Klezmer Trio plays a Hanukkah show in Albany. (Courtesy Calliope: East Bay Music & Arts) 

Baymele Klezmer: Matthew Stein on violin and viola, Misha Khalikulov on cello, and Dmitri Gaskin on accordion and piano play a Hanukkah concert of their own tunes as well music drawing from Ashkenazi Jewish, Polish, Romanian, Ukrainian and Hungarian folk traditions. 4 p.m. Dec. 18, $15-$25, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, 1501 Washington Ave., Albany, calliope-ebma.org

Nochebuena: A Christmas Spectacular:  Ballet Folklórico de Los Ángeles and Mariachi Garibaldi de Jaime Cuéllar celebrate Mexican holiday tradition through music and dance. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20, $20-$105, Bankhead Theater, Livermore, livermorearts.org/events/

Golden Bough plays a Celtic Christmas concert at Old First Church in San Francisco. (Courtesy Old First)

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir South Bay:  The group presents its 14th annual holiday gospel show with director Terrance Kelly’s arrangements of holiday favorites and the South Bay Workshop Choir joining the festivities. 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22, $33-$48, Center for Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View, oigc.org 

Golden Bough: The Celtic ensemble plays rare versions of Celtic songs of winter and offers a unique take on classic Christmas carols. 8 p.m. Dec. 23, $5-$25, Old First Church, 1751 Sacramento St., S.F., oldfirstconcerts.org 

Jon Manasse, left, and Jon Nakamatsu appear in San José Chamber Orchestra’s “Celebration” concert on Dec. 31 in San Jose. (Photo courtesy the artists and San José Chamber Orchestra)

San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday Spectacular: Home for the Holidays:  Celebrating more than 30 years, the Christmas Eve concert is the group’s “signature romp through seasonal favorites new and old.” 5, 7 and 9 p.m. Dec. 24, $40-$50, Castro Theatre, 429 Castro St., S.F., cityboxoffice.com 

American Bach Soloists New Year’s Eve: Soprano Liv Redpath and bass Alex Rosen appear in “A Baroque New Year’s Eve at the Opera” with music by Handel, Purcell, Rameau and Vivaldi. 4 p.m. Dec. 31, $25-$125. Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F. cityboxoffice.com 

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