Every year San Francisco Renaissance Voices (SFRV) presents a free concert as a holiday gift to its audiences. Led by Music Director Katherine McKee, the ensemble presents a program of Lessons & Carols modeled after the service that has been performed at King’s College Cambridge every year since it was first given in 1918. Since 1983 King’s College has annually commissioned both carols and organ postludes to add to the service. The first such commissioned composer was Lennox Berkeley; and his successors have included Peter Maxwell Davies, Peter Sculthorpe, and Arvo Pärt. That tradition will also be part of the SFRV service, which will include the world premiere of a carol by Bay Area composer Angela Kraft Cross setting a text by Bay Area poet Elisabeth Eliassen (who happens to be an SFRV alto).
This year the program will be given two performances. The first will begin at 7:30 p.m. this Saturday, December 10. It will be held at SFRV’s “home base,” the Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church at 1329 Seventh Avenue, a short walk from the Seventh Avenue stop on the Muni N trolley line. The second will be given when SFRV returns to the Noontime Concerts (“San Francisco’s Musical Lunch Break”) series, performing at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 20. The venue is Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral, located in Chinatown at 660 California Street on the northeast corner of Grant Avenue. Both of these concerts are free, requiring neither tickets nor reservations. However, donations are both accepted and encouraged at Noontime Concerts events with a suggested amount of $5.
In addition there will be a festive reception held in conjunction with the December 10 performance. Children of all ages are invited to come to Seventh Avenue Presbyterian beginning at 6:15 p.m. to create Christmas cookies. Those cookies will then be served when the reception is held following the concert.