Music is essential to the Advent and Christmas seasons, and it looks like as many Kern County performing organizations as possible are doing their best to give you every opportunity to enjoy some.

Many of the events are church-affiliated and focus on the Christian holiday, with music ranging from sacred hymns to some of the great masterworks of Western European music. On the secular side, you can enjoy jazz, classical music, popular music favorites, ballet and show music.

Here is a rundown of major music events:

Dec. 1

Advent: Christ is Coming — a Festival of Music and Light, 6 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 4500 Buena Vista Road. This musical event features the church’s Celebration Choir and orchestra. The event repeats on Dec. 2, also at 6 p.m.

Fifth annual Christmas Culinary Caroling Dinner, 7:30 p.m. at Bakersfield College Cafeteria, 1801 Panorama Dr. This annual event features the Bakersfield College Chamber Singers and a musical “Christmas Through the Ages.” The event includes activities for children. Tickets are $15, $10 for children 10 and under.

Dec. 3

BC Jazz presents Duke Ellington’s “Nutcracker Suite,” 7:30 p.m. at the Indoor Theater on the BC Panorama Campus. Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s big-band jazz take on Tchaikovsky’s immortal ballet music. Tickets are $10, $7 for children.

CSUB Chamber Orchestra and Symphonic Band Fall Semester Concert, 7 p.m. at the Dore Theatre. If you would rather hear something other than holiday music, this concert will offer music by Henry Purcell, Peter Warlock’s wonderful “Capriol Suite,” Dello Joio’s Satiric Dances, Frank Ticheli’s “Vesuvius,” Sousa’s “Washington Post March” and other selections. Admission is $12, $7 for students and seniors and free for CSUB students with ID.

Dec. 6

Advent Organ Recital Series, 12:15 p.m. Thursdays at First Presbyterian Church, 1705 17th St. A great weekday break from the bustle of the holidays, this annual venerable concert series kicks off Dec. 6 with Carolyn Hill and Martin Goni. It continues Dec. 13 with T. Paul Rosas and Dec. 20 with Phil Dodson and Hymn Sing. Concerts are free.

Dec. 7

CSUB Opera Theater presents "An Evening of Opera Scenes," 7:30 p.m. at the Dore Theatre. Student performers will present scenes from operas by Donizetti, Mozart, Gilbert and Sullivan, Bizet and Rodgers and Hammerstein,  including “Don Giovanni,” “The Mikado” and “Oklahoma!” Admission is $12, $7 students and seniors, free for CSUB students with ID.

Dec. 7-9

Civic Dance Center’s production of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” ballet, various times at the Rabobank Theater, 1001 Truxtun Ave. Feature two separate casts of student dancers, this Bakersfield tradition is now in its 40th year. Evening performances on Dec. 7 and 8 at 7:30 p.m.; 1 p.m. matinees on Dec. 8 and 9. Tickets are $36 and $38.

Dec. 8

Bakersfield Master Chorale performs selection from Handel’s “Messiah,” 7 p.m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 4500 Buena Vista Road. Now celebrating its 86th year, the Master Chorale will perform selections from Handel’s immortal work, and invite the audience to join in a Christmas carol sing-along. Tickets are $20 in advance; $25 at the door; student tickets are $10. bakersfieldmasterchorale.org

Dec. 14

The Tehachapi Symphony Orchestra Christmas Concert, 7 p.m. at Country Oaks Baptist Church, 20915 Schout Road. Joining the orchestra are the Tehachapi Symphonic Chorus and Antelope Valley Master Chorale in performing selections from Handel’s “Messiah” and J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. Concert is free.

Dec. 15

The Desert Community Orchestra presents “A Christmas in Ridgecrest,” 7 p.m. at the Parker Performing Arts Center at Burroughs High School, 500 E. French Ave., in Ridgecrest. Admission is $11, free for children under 7.

Dec. 16

Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra presents “Home for the Holidays,” 3 p.m. at Rabobank Theater, 1001 Truxtun Ave. The Bakersfield College Choirs will appear as guest performers. Tickets are $20-45, available at axs.com.

CSUB Singers, Concert Band and Jazz Combos present an Annual Holiday Concert, 3 p.m. at the Dore Theatre. Admission is $12, $7 for students and seniors, free for CSUB students with ID. 654-3150. Lsakomoto@csub.edu.

All of these events should be great and fill you with holiday cheer. And if there are school-aged children in your life, be sure to attend their school concerts; nothing makes a child feel special as much as seeing family and friends out in the audience at concert time.

Don't see your favorite local holiday musical event listed here? Email us the details at eyest@bakersfield.com.

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