Regardless of whether you recognize or celebrate the holidays (or, originally, holy days) of the next few weeks, the holiday season is upon us. That means the movies, dedicated music channels, parades, decorations, commercials and what-have-you are out in full force for you to enjoy or avoid.
There are also a lot of what promise to be wonderful performances, most of them locally produced, that you may want to take in, whatever your thoughts are about the season.
Some of these performances are based on the Christian celebration of this time of year. For Christians, the next few weeks are not the Christmas season; it’s Advent, a time of preparation in anticipation of the Nativity of Jesus, and begins this Sunday. The Christmas season begins on the evening of Dec. 24 and continues through the Feast of the Epiphany, Jan. 6. Secular events are more “holiday” or “winter” themed, and include thoughts of being with loved ones, the approaching new year, and wishing for snow.
So, here’s your music shopping list to help you celebrate the season:
Dec. 1: The Bakersfield Deseret Chorale presents “Unclouded Day,” at 7 p.m., 5500 Fruitvale Ave., at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Directed by Dr. Jennifer Garrett.
“It’s free,” Garrett wrote in an email. “It includes such songs as ‘Unclouded Day;’ ‘O, Divine Redeemer;’ ‘In Remembrance' by Ames,” Garrett continued. “The second half is holiday music such as ‘Do You Hear What I Hear?’ ‘Fum, Fum, Fum;’ ‘See Amid the Winter’s Snow,’ and more.”
Dec. 4: The Fox Theater is doing its bit to contribute to the festivities with several shows. The first is “A Merry-Achi Christmas” (oy vey) starring Mariachi Sol de Mexico at 8 p.m.; doors open at 7 p.m. at the theater, 2001 H St. Tickets range from $28-$68, and are available through the theater website at thebakersfieldfox.com.
Dec. 5: The venerable Advent Organ Concert series at First Presbyterian Church, 1705 17th St., returns for three Thursdays, including Dec. 12 and 19, to celebrate the Advent season. Starting at 12:15 p.m. and barely an hour long, this is a great way to take a break from the self-imposed crazy. Performers include T. Paul Rosas, Dr. Kyle Shaw and Meg Wise. Admission is free, but a donation of nonperishable food for the church’s food pantry is requested.
Wise, who serves as organist at First Presbyterian Church, said the final concert will be a big finish to the series.
“I’m including brass and other winds,” Wise said. “It’s going to be a great concert.”
Dec. 6: The Fox Theater presents "Pink Martini: Holiday Show," featuring China Forbes. The internationally famous “little orchestra” brings a mix of classical, jazz and pop to holiday music. Show is at 8 p.m.; doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets $35-$75, available at thebakersfieldfox.com.
● So much to do this night! Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra and Bakersfield College Choirs present “Home for the Holidays,” the BSO’s annual Holiday Pops concert. At Mechanics Bank (formerly Rabobank) Theater at 1001 Truxtun Ave., the concert starts at 7 p.m., but doors open at 6 for a time to gather in the lobby, including serenading by the Panama-Buena Vista Union School District “Strolling Strings.” Tickets range from $20-$45; students get in for half-price.
Dec. 11: Alt 106.1 KRAB Radio presents its annual Christmas Show at the Fox Theater, featuring Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins, Dreamers and Bakersfield's Western Medicine, starting at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10-$50. Doors open at 5 p.m.
Dec. 12-15: Bakersfield Civic Dance Center presents the 42nd annual performance of Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker,” featuring the Shafter Symphony Orchestra, at Mechanics Bank Theater. Evening performances are at 7:30 p.m.; matinees at 1 p.m. Tickets are $85-$124 for evening performances, $79-$118 for matinees.
Dec. 14: Bakersfield Master Chorale presents “A Master Chorale Christmas,” 7 p.m., at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 5500 Buena Vista Road. It cannot be Christmas without a performance of Handel’s oratorio, “Messiah,” and the Master Chorale has made sure that has happened for 86 years. Soloists include tenor Robert MacNeil, a native of Shafter. Chorale president Jerry Buzzell said to expect a mini-concert from the tenor.
"He will be singing three to four numbers himself apart from the rest of the Christmas concert,” Buzzell said.
Also on the program is “Gloria,” composed by Kevin Memley, an internationally recognized composer of choral music who serves as music director at Kingsburg Community Church in the Central Valley. Tickets are $20 and $10 in advance; $25 at the door, and are available at bakersfieldmasterchorale.org.
● Natalie Grant’s and Danny Gokey’s “Celebrate Christmas” tour heads to Canyon Hills Assembly of God, 7001 Auburn St. Tickets are $29.95-$45, and are available at eventbrite.com. Concert starts at 6 p.m.
● Bakersfield College Chamber Choir presents “A Not-So-Silent Night,” the ensemble’s annual holiday fundraiser. With activities for all ages, this family-friendly event runs from 5 to 8 p.m. at the BC Gym Huddle, 1801 Panorama Drive. Tickets are $20, $12 for children 12 and under.
Dec. 15: The CSUB Holiday Concert features Cal State Bakersfield’s Chamber Orchestra performing music from the traditional chamber orchestra repertoire. Expect Bach. The show is at 3 p.m. at the Dore Theatre, 9001 Stockdale Highway. Tickets are $12, $7 for students and seniors.
Dec. 19: The Fox Theater presents “A Charlie Brown Christmas: Live on Stage." Wow, even the most jaded of us have to love this show. A reenactment of one of the most memorable, and historic, Christmas shows ever produced for television, Charles Schulz’s beloved worldly children take to the stage to teach the true meaning of Christmas. Featuring Vince Guaraldi’s music, of course, and a concert of Christmas carols by the cast. Tickets are $35-$95. Show starts at 7:30 p.m.; doors open at 6:30 p.m.