SFB - "Nutcracker"
SF Ballet's Nutcracker opens Dec. 10. | Credit: Erik Tomasson

While Christmas trees may be scarce and the supply chain for store-bought gifts has jumped the tracks, there’s no shortage of great holiday performances in the Bay Area this season. And this year, thanks in no small part to the Bay Area’s robust commitment to vaccinations and masking, there is a cornucopia of live presentations to enjoy. With everything from the familiar comforts of the Messiah and the Nutcracker to jazzy interpretations of old chestnuts and brand-new musical-theater productions, there is something here for everyone.

NOTE: Please check the health-and-safety admission requirements before purchasing your tickets. Different venues have different requirements for attendees, although most are requiring proof of vaccination and full masking for the duration of the event.


American Bach Soloists: Messiah (Dec. 15–19) — There are three performances in Grace Cathedral of this masterwork, a yearly tradition from ABS and Music Director Jeffery Thomas. This year, there’s a twist or two. The first performance, on Dec. 15, is shortened, giving only the first half (Christmas portion) of the oratorio, and the Hallelujah Chorus at the end, with the concert filled out with Arcangelo Corelli’s equally traditional Christmas Concerto and a choral work by Marc Antoine Charpentier. Also, the Dec. 19 performance is at the Green Center at Sonoma State, with its terrific acoustics. There are lots of Messiah performances to choose from at this time of year. This is the one to beat.

American Bach Soloists: A Baroque New Year’s Eve at the Opera (Dec. 31) — Acclaimed young soprano Liv Redpath and up-and-coming tenor Alex Rosen star in this new tradition from ABS. For the celebration, the orchestra is unwrapping arias by Handel, Rameau, Vivaldi, and Purcell.

Bay Choral Guild: Holiday Traditions (Dec. 3–5) — The Bay Choral Guild is a 40-voice auditioned choir directed by Sanford Dole. Dole, a founding member of Chanticleer once upon a time, is also a composer and arranger and a new piece of his will be featured on this concert set. Many of the carols will be sung in modern arrangements and the whole thing is topped off by Harry Simeone’s choral arrangement of The Nutcracker suite. The chorus calls Campbell United Methodist Church home, but there are also performances at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in San Francisco, and First Palo Alto Methodist Church.

California Bach Society: Heinrich Schütz’s Christmas Story (Dec. 3–5) — A few years ago, CBS picked up an Audience Choice Award in SFCV’s annual poll. This is a good choir, and in Paul Flight, they have a top-flight director with an early music bent. The oratorio by Schütz (from the 17th century) is followed by favorite carols that the group has sung over its recent history.

Chanticleer: A Chanticleer Christmas (Dec. 1–23) — The one Christmas concert to rule them all. This men’s chorus is one of the best and their Christmas program is a tried and true favorite, featuring music from throughout their very expansive repertory. If you haven’t caught up with this group, they’re helpfully scheduling 12 performances around the Bay Area this year.

The Choral Project/ San Jose Chamber Orchestra: Winter’s Gifts (Dec. 19) — This annual collaboration between the 25-year-old chorus founded by Artistic Director Daniel Hughes and the 30-year-old orchestra embraces multiple holidays in a wide-ranging concert. Afternoon and evening performances at the Mission Santa Clara usually sell out, and even in a pandemic-inflected year, getting seats early would be wise.

Festival Napa Valley - Sing in the Holidays
Festival Napa Valley hosts Sing in the Holidays on Dec. 12 with (L–R):  Zhengyi Bai, Kseniia Polstiankina Barrad, Simone McIntosh, Christopher Oglesby, and Esther Tonea.

Festival Napa Valley: Sing in the Holidays (Dec. 12) — You're invited to sing in the holidays with San Francisco Opera Adler Fellows Simone McIntosh, Christopher Oglesby, Zhengyi Bai, Esther Tonea, and pianist Kseniia Polstiankina Barrad. The festive program will include classics by Mozart and Strauss, along with seasonal holiday favorites. A food and wine reception precedes the concert. At Cavallo Point Lodge, Sausalito.

Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys: A Cathedral Christmas (Dec. 11-23) — The Choir of Men and Boys is 75 in 2022, founded in 1947 and now one of a handful of such choirs in the United States. They’re busy this time of year, but in addition to Advent duties (they don’t skimp on music during services at Grace), the choir is performing a 90-minute anniversary show accompanied by full orchestra. It’s carols and seasonal masterworks. If you want the whole Anglican carols experience, this is it. There’s also a shorter family sing-along concert, “Sing You a Merry Christmas” that alternates with the anniversary concert. In it, performers dress up as “the toys of St. Nicholas's workshop and lead you on an extraordinary journey.” And if that’s not enough for you, the Bay Brass show up on Dec. 13 to play in concert with the 7,466-pipe cathedral organ. You figure, that’s got to be pretty spectacular.

Marin Symphony Chamber Chorus: Holiday Choral Concerts (Dec. 4–5) — More carols and candlelight in the Saint Raphael Church.

Masterworks Chorale
Masterworks Chorale performs Dec. 12.

Masterworks Chorale: Holiday Concert (Dec. 12) — This Peninsula, community-based chorus sets high standards for itself and the annual carols concert will include Glow by Eric Whitacre, Silent Night by John Rutter, Mi zeh hidlik by Bob Chilcott, Glory, Glory, Glory to the Newborn King by Moses Hogan, The Work of Christmas by Dan Forrest, alongside more traditional works.

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir: Sing Joy! (Dec. 4) — For years, we’ve known OIGC as the mainstay of Oakland Symphony’s “Let Us Break Bread Together” holiday event. Well, this year, the electrifying chorus also has a date with the San Francisco Symphony, at the state capitol for the tree-lighting ceremony, the tree-lighting celebration at Jack London Square, and the 33rd annual edition of its Christmas Eve concert. But on Dec. 4, the chorus gives a free, outdoor concert on Jack London Square, which should be on every holiday-minded Oaklander’s calendar.

Peninsula Women’s Chorus: Hark! I Hear the Harps Eternal (Dec. 11, 17) — As detailed in SFCV’s recent news story, this women’s chorus has a proud tradition that has now been put in the care of the new music director, Anne Hege. The concert begins with Alice Parker’s piece that provides the title of the concert and moves through Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols to a number of beautiful but lesser-known carols and seasonal works including modern compositions and arrangements. It’s a nice change of pace.

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale: Christmas Oratorio (Dec. 9–12) — J.S. Bach’s celebratory, often moving, set of cantatas for the feast of Christmas is a worthy counterpart to Handel’s Messiah but in Bach’s less overtly operatic idiom. The Philharmonia Chorale and the orchestra under Music Director Richard Egarr join a highly touted quartet of soloists, some of whom are first time visitors to the Bay Area. If you want to go for Baroque, see this one first, and Messiah the next week.

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale
The Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorale

Ragazzi Boys Chorus: Mysteries and Miracles (Dec. 4, 12) — One of the leading Bay Area children’s choirs (we’re replete with them), Ragazzi challenges its young singers with diverse and often difficult works. On this concert, the Concert Group and Choral Scholars sections join to perform Anton Bruckner’s motet Locus Iste, Evan Ramos’s contemporary setting of O magnum mysterium, and 17th-century composer Alessandro Grandi’s motet Hodie, nobis de caelo, in addition to carols old and new. The Young Men’s Ensemble, the graduate division, also takes part with their own selections.

St. Stephen’s Festal Christmas Choir: Brass and Choir Classics for the Season (Dec. 19) —The magic of candlelight, Christmas trees, a choir of singers, and a chamber ensemble of brass and organ unite to bring much-needed balm to our pandemic-embattled world. In Belvedere, under the direction of Jonathan Dimmock.

San Francisco Bach Choir: A Candlelight Christmas in Nature (Dec. 4–5) — The most beloved of the candlelight concerts, but Artistic Director Magen Solomon will always put together programs that are interesting and hang on musical and thoughtful connections, which is what she’s doing this year. Joined, as always, by Renaissance wind band The Whole Noyse, “we revel in the natural wonders of the Christmas season: the star, the sea; forests, fields and mountains; the birds and animals.” Solomon’s encyclopedic knowledge of the choral literature means that there will be music from all over the world — pretty much, literally.

SF Bach Choir
Magen Solomon with the San Francisco Bach Choir

San Francisco Boys Chorus: Winter Concert at St. John’s (Dec. 17) — Yet another great Bay Area children’s choir. Artistic Director Eric Choate has them performing J.S. Bach’s Cantata 147 “Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben,” (Heart and mouth and deed and life), famed for the chorus “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” Yeah, but that’s not enough of a bite for this group, so throw in Ralph Vaughan Williams’s tricky, marvelous Fantasia on Christmas Carols. The chorus also has dates with the SF Symphony this week for its “Deck the Halls” concerts.

San Francisco Choral Artists: Out of Darkness … Light! (Online, beginning Dec. 18) — The holiday concert that’s more than a holiday concert. Dr. Magen Solomon marshals her professional singers around the theme of “seek[ing] the light — of health and happiness, peace and generosity — in the Christmas story and in our lives. Works by William Byrd, Francis Poulenc, Moses Hogan, Roger Nixon, Alice Parker, Hyun Chul Lee, Abbie Betinis, Antonio de Cazabón, and others. It’s not carols, but you can’t constrain Solomon’s imagination that way

San Francisco Choral Society: A Festival of Carols (Dec. 18) — Although tickets seem not to be available yet on the website (get it together, folks!), the highly accomplished community choir is gearing up for a live holiday concert under the direction of Dr. Bryan Baker. The repertory will be varied as always, much of it from the 20th and 21st centuries. It includes an Ave Maria by Nathaniel Dett (of Negro Folk Symphony fame) that I would love to hear, as well a cool number by Pentatonix, “White Winter Hymnal.”

San Francisco Girls Chorus: Spirit of the Season: A Global Celebration of Baroque and Early Music (Dec. 19) — For the first time in, like, forever, you have a chance for a good seat to the SF Girls Chorus’s winter concert, even if you’re not related to the choristers — because they’re presenting it online on their YouTube channel. Much as we don’t want to go back there again, Valerie Saint-Agathe’s programming is intriguing, taking a wide swath of Baroque music, including pieces from Mexican composers, and winding up with a couple of definitely un-Baroque carols, “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night.” But hey, maybe you’ll be out on the town that night.

Santa Clara Chorale: Remember Holidays (Dec. 10, 12) — The respected choral group chooses a nostalgic theme and offers favorite carols and classics performed at the Santa Clara Mission.

Santa Cruz Chorale: Christmas With the Chorale, 2021 (Dec. 18–19) — Accompanied by the Monterey Bay Sinfonietta, the dedicated singers of the Santa Cruz Chorale perform their wide-ranging blend of classics and carols from around the world.

Symphony San Jose Chorale: Carols in the California (Dec. 11) — San Jose’s California Theater hosts the powerful SSJ Chorale again, under the direction of Elena Sharkova, joined by the Cantabile Youth Singers of Silicon Valley. Now in its 14th year, the concert features the classic carols and an audience sing-along.

Vallejo Choral Society: An English Christmas Concert (Dec. 11, 12) — The Vallejo Choral Society takes their rendition of Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols to the Community Congregational Church in Benicia, followed by the First Presbyterian Church in Vallejo. And there will be a healthy slice of English carols as well.

Voci offers a Message of Peace.

Voci: Message of Peace (Dec.  11–12) — Director Mitchell Covington mixes contemporary works from different faith traditions into a tapestry that also includes masterworks by Palestrina, Debussy, and Britten.

WomenSing: The Light of Hope Returning (Dec 3) — WomenSing’s seasonal concert is spiced up by the addition of artist Kevork Mourad, who will be creating illustrations during the performance that will be projected on a screen and “that will evolve and become a live-drawing animation to the music.” At the end of the concert, individual illustrations will be available for purchase. The evening’s soloists and instrumentalists are drawn from top Bay Area orchestras.

Young Women’s Choral Projects: Carols by Candlelight (Dec. 5) — At the Old First Church in S.F., the YWCP shows off its top-level choristers in Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols and music by Rachmaninoff and Randall Thompson, as well as the carols, performed, as advertised, by candlelight.

San Francisco Symphony

San Francisco Symphony: Holiday Concerts (Various dates) — The San Francisco Symphony is putting out its normal array of holiday events, covering a lot of bases in the four-week holiday season. The SFS Chorus begins things with the annual Deck the Halls carols concert, except that this year, it’s “At the Drive-In.” The event will be screened at Fort Mason. The Dec. 5 concert is shown twice, each with a different dress-up theme.

Dec. 8 brings “Holiday Soul” with the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, soloist Yolanda Adams, and the orchestra under the baton of Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser. The orchestra and chorus team up for Messiah performances Dec. 10 and 11, after which there’s Peter and the Wolf (Dec. 12 matinee), a Merry-achi Christmas with Mariachi Sol del Mexico (Dec. 12), two showings of Love Actually, with the orchestra playing the score live, “Holiday Gaiety,” a variety show co-emceed by conductor Edwin Outwater and drag performer Peaches Christ (Dec. 17), and two showings of Home Alone.

Look for a really interesting concert conceived by conductor John Mauceri called The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, in which the original E.T.A. Hoffmann story gets told, accompanied by music by Tchaikovsky. Alan Cumming does the narration (Dec. 21). Then there’s “A Cool Yule Christmas – Holiday Favorites With Frank and Ella” (Dec. 22), starring vocalists Capathia Jenkins and Tony De Sare, and the Holiday Brass concert.

At which point, I think, we’re out of bases.

SF Symphony Brass

Holiday Pops and More

Fremont Symphony: Holiday POPS! (Dec. 18–19) — Holiday POPS! will feature the internationally known and touring sensation ViVA Trio in a concert that will showcase favorite holiday songs and music to fill your heart with the wonder and joy of the season. Additionally, the Mission Peak Chamber Singers will add their vocal talents. Conductor Jung-Ho Pak will lead the Fremont Symphony orchestra.

Golden State Youth Orchestra: Holiday Pops Concert (Dec. 12) — The GSYO Symphony, the Camilla Kolchinsky Orchestra, and El Camino Wind Orchestra perform in a festive afternoon program including works from Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Haydn, and Tin Pan Alley at the California Theatre in downtown San José.

Marin Symphony: Holiday Pops Concert 2021  (Dec. 15) — Celebrate the season with your friends and family, as the Marin Symphony Orchestra presents a program of holiday-inspired music, with Principal Pops Conductor Stuart Chafetz and soprano Dee Donasco. Family fare, and Santa will be there.

Nova Vista Symphony: Holiday Concert (Dec. 4) — The largest longstanding community orchestra in the Santa Clara Valley presents a concert featuring works by Handel, Pärt, Grieg, Sibelius, and Leroy Anderson. At the Church of the Ascension in Saratoga.

Oakland Symphony: Let Us Break Bread Together – The Music of Ray Charles and B. B. King (Dec. 12) — Celebrate life, love, and the holidays with the Oakland Symphony and Chorus, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, and a raft of special guests. This “inspired, multifarious, musical bash” draws its energy this year from the blues and soul of Ray Charles and B.B. King. SFCV’s only complaint, issued annually: There’s only one performance! At the Paramount.

Oakland Symphony Chorus
Hear the Oakland Symphony Chorus at the Paramount as part of "Let Us Break Bread Together."

San José Metropolitan Band: Christmas at the Hammer (Dec. 5) — The San Jose Metropolitan Band’s Christmas at the Hammer concert will feature holiday favorites including Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride,” a collection of seasonal carols, and highlights from the movie The Polar Express. The band will also have some fun playing David Lovrien’s Minor Alterations (subtitled “Christmas Through the Looking Glass”) where some familiar melodies get a little twisted in an Alice in Wonderland way.

St. Paul’s Concert Series: Christmas Music on the Harp (Dec. 4) — Renowned concert harpist Anna Maria Mendieta presents sacred and classical pieces composed and dedicated to the celebration of Christmas. At St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Walnut Creek.

Voices of Music: Holiday Concertos (Dec. 17–19) — Voices of Music returns to the stage with a holiday program of virtuoso concertos, including the Bach Violin Concerto in A Minor BWV 1041 performed by Rachell Ellen Wong. Three consecutive concerts in Palo Alto, Berkeley, and San Francisco. Limited individual tickets in addition to season subscriptions.

March of the Nutcrackers and Other Dance Delights

Kathy Mata Ballet: Winter Holiday Showcase (Dec. 12) — This year’s performance at ODC includes Midnight Ensemble, a neoclassic ballet choreographed by Kathy Mata to Bach’s Violin Concerto, live piano music including a San Francisco premiere by Jack Parton, a Chopin Nocturne, and original solos, duets, and guest performances ranging from classical to modern and more.

Marin Ballet: The Nutcracker (Dec. 11–12) —Victorian costumes and sets frame choreography by Julia Adam and a cast of 100 local dancers as they bring adventure to life in this full-length ballet production. At the Marin Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in San Rafael.

Mark Foehringer‘s "Nutcracker Sweets"
Mark Foehringer‘s Nutcracker Sweets is at the Cowell Theater.

Mark Foehringer Dance Project: Nutcracker Sweets (Dec. 4–19) —Mark Foehringer‘s Nutcracker Sweets is a unique 50-minute production of the classic holiday ballet designed for families with small children and audiences of all ages. This production is danced storytelling that is affordable, magical, zany, and fun. At the Cowell Theater.

Oakland Ballet: Graham Lustig’s Nutcracker  (Dec. 12–19) — The Oakland Symphony accompanies this production of Graham Lustig’s setting, which also features the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir. 

ODC/Dance: The Velveteen Rabbit (Dec. 4–12) — Brimming with wit, festive costumes, madcap characters and the perfect amount of holiday cheer, ODC/Dance returns to the stage and on-demand with the 35th anniversary of the beloved Bay Area holiday tradition, The Velveteen Rabbit, directed and choreographed by KT Nelson. Based on the beloved children’s classic book by Margery Williams, the show features captivating narration, a delightful musical score by Benjamin Britten, and larger-than-life storybook characters portrayed by the world-class dancers of ODC/Dance.

SF Ballet: The Nutcracker (Dec. 10–30) — An evergreen thrill. With its spectacular sets, costumes, staging, and cast, the SF Ballet’s performances of Helgi Tomasson’s wonderful setting of Tchaikovsky’s classic is hard to top.

Musical Theater and Pageantry

California Revels: La Sirène (Dec. 11–12, 17–19) — This year California Revels dives into the Age of Sail, blending 19th-century London with folklore and traditions from the Caribbean and Gullah Islands in an odyssey across the Atlantic. From sea chanteys, mermaids, and Christmas carols to Jonkonnu and Papa Bois, the Revels will celebrate the Winter Solstice through the eyes of La Sirène and Joseph Johnson, a man who lived his life in all these traditions. At the First Congregational Church of Oakland.

"The Magic Lamp"
The Magic Lamp is at the Presidio Theatre throughout December.

Panto at the Presidio: The Magic Lamp (Dec. 1–31) — An all-star team of theater icons brings panto to San Francisco this holiday season. The Magic Lamp turns the classic children’s tale of Aladdin on its head with magnificent costumes, musical parodies, dance, magic, and over-the-top silliness. Join Aladdin, a bike messenger, and Jazz, the daughter of a successful tech entrepreneur, as they discover new love and ancient magic in modern day San Francisco. The show features work by award-winning comedy writer and musician Mason Williams and musical direction by Bill Keck of Beach Blanket Babylon fame.

International Traditions

Golden Bough: Celtic Christmas (Dec. 5–18) — These joyful Celtic Christmas concerts are a wonderful opportunity for the whole family to gather together to celebrate and drive the cold winter away with Golden Bough’s unique Yuletide presentation. Various locations.

Jewish Community Center of San Francisco: Hanukkah Events (Dec. 2–5) — Celebrate Hanukkah at the JCCSF. Illuminate the darkness and join in the lighting of the hanukkiyah. Celebrate with community and sing along to music played by Jonathan Bayer. Stop by for one evening or share the light with the JCCSF throughout the week.

Kitka | Credit: Vincent Louis Carrella

Kitka: Wintersongs (Dec. 4–11) — Wintersongs is Kitka’s critically-acclaimed and wildly popular December concert offering. For centuries, communities around the world have utilized the power of collective singing to summon warmth, cheer, and spiritual connection to sustain themselves through the challenges and uncertainties of the coldest and darkest season. Returning to the stage after nearly two years of pandemic separation, Kitka’s reunited voices will joyfully bestow musical blessings for health, hope, peace, good fortune, and the return of the light as the Winter Solstice and New Year draw near. Various locations.

Mariachi Sol de Mexico: A Merry-achi Christmas (Dec. 8) — José Hernández leads Mariachi Sol de Mexico at Davies Symphony Hall for a festive musical tribute to Mexico’s Christmas traditions. Experience a multicultural celebration, with the ensemble singing and playing holiday favorites from both Mexico and America in a vibrant performance you won’t want to miss.

Jazzy Holiday Music

Maria Muldaur: Christmas at the Oasis (Dec. 12) — Over the years, as an antidote to all the sappy and sentimental Christmas tunes we are all inundated with every holiday season, Maria Muldaur has collected some wonderfully hip, swinging, humorous, and irreverent Christmas songs by her favorite Jazz and Blues artists.  She and some of the Bay Area’s finest jazz players will be presenting her special “Christmas at The Oasis” show, an evening of “Christmas tunes for Hipsters.” At the Piedmont Piano Company.

Cosmo Alleycats: A Very Cosmo Christmas (Dec. 19) — Cosmo Alleycats,  a San Francisco-based swing band that mixes vintage dance music with a soulful delivery, will be presenting their Christmas Song Countdown from 2020 plus other holiday favorites, in person and livestreaming. At the Piedmont Piano Company.

Sing-It-Yourself Fun

Golden Gate Symphony and Chorus: Sing It Yourself Messiah (Dec. 13) — Join the Golden Gate Symphony and soloists for a DIY, fully masked rendition of Handel’s Messiah. This year’s concert also will feature Mozart’s clarinet concerto with soloist Colby Bond. At the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco.

UnSilent Night: UnSilent Night (Dec. 11 and 18) — This free holiday event is linked to other Unsilent Night celebrations around the world. The original composition by Phil Kline, written specifically to be heard outdoors in the month of December, takes the form of a street promenade in which the audience becomes the performer in an interactive “boombox parade.” There are three regional opportunities to engage this year: Dec. 11 in Berkeley and Sacramento, and Dec. 18 in San Francisco. Read our story about the project to learn more.

Holiday Music at the Green Music Center

Damien Sneed: Joy to the World, a Christmas Musical Journey (Dec. 9) — Pianist, organist, and singer Sneed takes the listener on a journey through his original arrangements of gospel, jazz, and classical favorites. The performance features a cast of 10 singers and musicians performing well-known holiday classics such as “Silent Night,” “This Christmas,” “Joy to The World,” excerpts from the Messiah, and many others.

Damien Sneed
Damien Sneed

Windham Hill Artists: 35th Anniversary of Windham Hill Winter Solstice (Dec. 16) — Celebrate the winter solstice and its warm traditions with a concert of original and traditional acoustic music. This season marks the 35th anniversary of the multiplatinum Winter Solstice album series from Windham Hill Records. Grammy Award-nominated singer, fiddler, pianist, and songwriter Barbara Higbie joins composer/guitarist Todd Boston, and cellist Mia Pixley, to lead a joyous holiday concert. See other performances here.

American Bach Soloists and Choir: Handel’s Messiah (Dec. 19) —Under the leadership of Co-Founder and Music Director Jeffrey Thomas, the ensemble has been a leader in historically-informed performance practice since 1989. Thomas has made something of a specialty of Messiah, which the group performs every year in one of its versions.

Seasonal Fun at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse

Kitka: Wintersongs (Dec. 11) — Wintersongs is Kitka’s critically-acclaimed and wildly popular December concert offering. For centuries, communities around the world have utilized the power of collective singing to summon warmth, cheer, and spiritual connection to sustain themselves through the challenges and uncertainties of the coldest and darkest season. See other performances here.

Kurt Elling: The Beautiful Day: Kurt Elling Sings Christmas (Dec. 14) — Renowned for his combination of robust swing and poetic insight, two-time Grammy winner Kurt Elling has secured his place among the world’s foremost jazz vocalists. The New York Times proclaimed Elling “the standout male vocalist of our time.”

Kurt Elling | Credit: Credit: Anna Webber

Windham Hill Artists: 35th Anniversary of Windham Hill Winter Solstice (Dec. 16) — Celebrate the winter solstice and its warm traditions with a concert of original and traditional acoustic music. This season marks the 35th anniversary of the multiplatinum Winter Solstice album series from Windham Hill Records. Grammy Award-nominated singer, fiddler, pianist, and songwriter Barbara Higbie joins composer/guitarist Todd Boston, and cellist Mia Pixley, to lead a joyous holiday concert. See other performances here.

The Christmas Jug Band: Holiday Pageant (Dec. 21) — “A momentary lapse of sanity that became an annual holiday tradition spanning over 40 years.” This ragtag group of musical pals includes Gregory Leroy “Duke Dagreeze” Dewey, his brother Nicholas Q (Not Joe) Dewey, their partner in “The Reptile Brothers Band,” Tim Eschliman, and Paul Wenninger. The Jug Band will be joined by Foxes in the Henhouse, “five audacious women with stunning three-part harmonies and mad instrumental skills.”