Wednesday, November 9, 2016

December will Begin with Three Christmas Concerts on the Same Night

December is the month in which a variety of different holidays all seem to get recognized by at least one concert event. The holiday that tends to get the most attention is Christmas; and, for the devout, it is preceded by four Advent Sundays, the first of which will be on November 27 this year. This year the eve of the Friday before the Second Sunday of Advent will see performances by two choral ensembles, both named after Johann Sebastian Bach.

The first of these will be the annual Christmas by Candlelight concert presented by the San Francisco Bach Choir (SFBC). As in the past, this will be a festive, contemplative, lush, jubilant journey of the celebration of Christmas around the world. The repertoire will cover music history from the fifteenth century to the present, including plainchant, American shape-note hymns, early motets, carols, and delightful new compositions. In addition where appropriate, SFBC will be given instrumental accompaniment by the wind band The Whole Noyse performing on Renaissance instruments.

The performance of this program at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 2, will be the first of two. The second will take place at 4 p.m. on the Second Sunday of Advent, December 4. The venue will be Calvary Presbyterian Church at 2515 Fillmore Street, located on the northwest corner of Jackson Street. General admission at the door is $40 with a $35 rate for seniors aged 62 and older. Patrons under the age of 30 and students with valid identification will be admitted for $10, and those under the age of nineteen are admitted at no charge. General admission and senior tickets purchased online in advance through Brown Paper Tickets will receive $5 savings. There is also an Older Adult Choir Donation option through which $25 buys a seat for a singing senior, as well as an option for adding a donation of any amount. Separate event pages have been created for the Friday and Sunday concerts.

Friday will also be the evening of the San Francisco performance of the Christmas concert by the California Bach Society. The title of this season’s concert will be Jul, Jul—A Scandinavian Christmas. This will be a program of seasonal music from the Scandinavian countries that will include both traditional Swedish carols and a cappella choral works composed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Familiar composers on this program will include Edvard Grieg, Carl Nielsen, and Hugo Alfvén.

This performance will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 2. It will take place at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church at 1111 O’Farrell Street, just west of the corner of Franklin Street. General admission tickets will be $35 at the door with a $25 rate for seniors. Students and patrons under 30 will be admitted for $10. If tickets are purchased in advance, general admission will be $28; and the senior rate will be $20. In this case, however, advance purchase is available through a Tickets Web page on the California Bach Society Web site. This Web page also provides an electronic mail hyperlink and well as the telephone number for further information or assistance (650-485-1097).

In addition, for those who prefer instrumental music, the Old First Concerts series at Old First Church will use that same Friday evening for its Annual Holiday Guitar Concert. Guitarist Lawrence Ferrara were perform as both soloist and director of an ensemble of guitars joined by pianist Mengni Tang. The program will present music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. This will include music by Bach, as well as Gaspar Sanz, George Frederic Handel, and Antonio Vivaldi.

This concert will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 2. Old First Church, is located at 1751 Sacramento Street on the southeast corner of Van Ness Boulevard. General admission will be $20 with discounted rates of $17 for seniors and $5 or full-time students showing valid identification. Children aged twelve and under will still be admitted for free. In addition there is a $2 discount for tickets purchased online in advance from the event page for this concert on the Old First Concerts Web site. There is also a discount available for those parking at the Old First Parking Garage at 1725 Sacramento Street, just up the street for the church.

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