Not-So-Silent Night: Holiday Concerts That Deliver Christmas Cheer

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Oh baby, it’s cold outside! Singing the 1936 song is as close as you’ll ever get to snow flurries in the Bay Area but holiday concerts largely make up in winter spirit what balmy skies deny us. ‘Tis the season for sing-alongs – and more! These family-approved musical events all have great cheer potential and will lift your spirits up with familiar heart-warming tunes.

San Francisco

San Francisco Symphony’s Deck the Hall: Children’s Holiday Concert and Party
This Symphony classic is a tradition for Bay Area families who come with little ones in their Sunday best to enjoy a magical hour of holiday music and dance on stage, a post-show arts and crafts, as well as more than 20 trees decorated by local community groups that pepper the lobby promenade. Upgrade to the Angel Package and get premium concert seating with a pre-concert reception featuring crafts, gourmet treats, and a visit by Santa Claus!

Sun., December 2 at 11:00 am and 3:00 pm.
Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, Ca.

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Le Jazz Hot Family Matinee
Love your sleigh bells with a jazz twist? Now save on a flight to Paris and discover the French Gypsy swing take on holiday tunes. Le Jazz Hot is a San Francisco quartet that will delight the entire family with its Django Rheinhardt jazz tradition played on guitars, bass and violin. This special holiday concert will feature the songs of 1930’s Paris as well as American favorites —a festive foray into jazz for the whole family!

Sat., December 15 at 11:00 am.
Herbst Theatre
401 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, Ca.

San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus: 22nd Annual Home for the Holidays
For a uniquely sassy and glam musical evening, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus will rock your idea of holiday concerts! Converge to the historic Castro Theatre and enjoy an energetic selection of holiday songs – just not exactly your grandmother’s lyrics or outfits. Where else do you find an audience sporting reindeer antlers and elf attire?

Mon., December 24 at 5:00 pm, 7:00 pm, and 9:00 pm.
Castro Theatre
429 Castro Street
San Francisco, Ca.


Marin Symphony Chamber Chorus: Holiday Concerts by Candlelight
Nothing says winter like a traditional concert by candlelight. The Marin Girls Chorus joins the Marin Symphony Chamber Chorus to share the spirit of the holidays, accompanied by a string quintet, harp, oboe, and hand bells. Children and adults can join their voice for a special sing-along in the glow of their own hand-held lighted candle.

Sat., December 1 at 7.30 pm and Sun., December 2 at 4:00 pm.  
Church of Saint Raphael
1104 Fifth Avenue
San Rafael, Ca.

Dream Circle Holiday Concert and Sing-Along at the Bay Area Discovery Museum
Before or after roaming the new exhibitions of the Bay Area Discovery Museum, join an uplifting concert where your little one can discover songs of the winter season and its various traditions and holidays including Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and Chinese New Year. The Dream Circle includes beloved Bay Area children’s entertainers such as Tim Cain and Miss Kitty.

Sat., December 15 at 11:30 am and 1:00 pm.

557 McReynolds Road
Sausalito, Ca.

East Bay

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choirs’ Annual Holiday Concert
Expect to join in the songs and dance in the aisles with this award-winning multiracial, interfaith group that regularly performs throughout the Bay Area. Featuring traditional and contemporary black gospel music and spirituals, the concert is an Oakland tradition and a great opportunity for kids to discover amazing gospel music.

Sat., December 1 at 7:30 pm.
Paramount Theatre
2025 Broadway
Oakland, Ca.


Walnut Creek Concert Band’s Holiday Concert
Ring in the holidays with the traditional Walnut Creek Concert Band Holiday concert featuring seasonal favorites that the entire family will enjoy.

Tues., November 27 at 7:30 pm.
Lesher Center for the Arts
1601 Civic Drive
Walnut Creek, Ca.


Mid-Peninsula Recorder Orchestra 
Sure you remember picking up the recorder when you were in the fourth grade as part of your mandatory music class, but we’re willing to bet it didn’t sound anything like this. Imagine a whole orchestra of recorders playing recognizable Christmas classics. It’s a one of a kind show that you won’t want to miss out on.

Sat., December 8, at 2:00 pm.
Grace Lutheran Church

3149 Waverley Street
Palo Alto, Ca

A Chanticleer Christmas
Never before has a group of male singers made such a lasting impression on audiences for over 35 years. Chanticleer’s not-to-be-missed holiday show promises to showcase some of the most amazing male voices singing some of your favorite Christmas tunes.

Sat., December 22, at 6:00 pm and 8:30 pm
Mission Santa Clara
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, Ca.

Worth the Drive

VOENA’s Drummer Boy at Napa Valley Opera House
VOENA, a Bay Area multicultural children’s choir with kids from age 6 to 18 will perform Drummer Boy, a magical experience capturing the essence of the season in beautiful Victorian costumes. Kids will love to know that audience participation is encouraged but they will also love the holiday musical arrangements, festive choreography, and theatrics.

Sat., December 17, at 7:30 pm.
1030 Main Street
Napa, Ca.

Christmas Jug Band
Hatched out of Petaluma, Ca, the Christmas Jug Band is a rag tag group of musicians who don their season’s finest and take to the stage for tongue-in-cheek holiday highjinks. It’s an all acoustic folk-swing jug band, so be ready for a twangy Christmas!

Sat., December 15, at 8:00 pm
115 North Street
Healdsburg, Ca.

Which holiday concert are your little ones most excited about? If this is your first year headed to a holiday performance, let us know which one you’re planning to attend.

— Laure Latham

photo credit: abbamouse, Philharmonic Association, Hodgson School of Music, & Cody Tucker