Holiday Concerts

Gaude: O magnum mysterium

Friday, December 8 at 8 pm

Jace Wittig, director

GAUDE is a professional, a cappella chamber ensemble based in San Francisco. Directed by Jace Wittig (former Interim Director of the Grammy Award-winning ensemble, Chanticleer), Gaude presents choral masterpieces from the Renaissance and beyond in intimate settings with modern sensibility.  “Gaude” means “Rejoice” in Latin—the most common language for Sacred Renaissance music, which forms the core of their repertoire.  Their performance will include choral Christmas works, including Gabrieli’s Magnificat, Victoria’s O magnum mysterium, Poulenc’s Videntes stellam, Howells’s A Spotless Rose, Willan’s The Three Kings, and excerpts from Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vigil, along with lively Villancicos by composers from Old and New Spain, and arrangements of familiar carols.

Golden Bough:
Christmas in a Celtic Land

Saturday, December 9 at 8 pm

Kathy Sierra, Margie Butler, & Paul Espinoza

Folk songs tell a story and the music of the Celtic trio Golden Bough is full of the stories and mythology of the Celtic lands. The Celtic nations share a long history of culture and fine arts and their music often intertwines to create the powerfully emotional sound of what we now call Celtic music.  With lively instrumental pieces, haunting ballads and humorous sing-alongs, the band creates an atmosphere in which the listener is transported to another place and time. Margie Butler, Paul Espinoza and Kathy Sierra capture the essence and joy of traditional music on a wide variety acoustic instruments, including Celtic harp, penny-whistle, guitar, accordion, violin, viola, mandolin, and bodhran (a hand held drum, particular to the Celtic culture).

Ragazzi Boys Chorus:
Ubi Caritas - Where There is Love

Sunday, December 10 at 4 pm

Joyce Keil, Artistic Director;
Jesse Buddington, Young Men’s Ensemble Associate Director;
Ihang Lin, accompanist;
Othello Jefferson, accompanist 

Ragazzi Boys Chorus’ Ubi Caritas: Where There is Love, presents music exploring the idea that love marks God’s presence throughout our world. Choral works from the Hindu tradition as well as the Jewish and Christian faiths will be featured. Among the pieces will be four settings of the Ubi Caritas text, based on the Gregorian chant. Paul Halley’s Ubi Caritas combines the Gregorian chant line with a climactic African song—accompanied by exciting percussion, while Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo’s Ubi Caritas is a mesmerizing and contemplative acapella version. Other expressions of love as a universal truth include a Hindu devotional song with the refrain Dear God, be your name Eshwar or Allah, give everyone wisdom, and A. R. Rahman’s Zikr, a Muslim chant that begins as a meditation and ends as an energetic proclamation. Explorations of other Gregorian chants include a rhythmic and exhilarating version of Veni, Veni Emmanuel by modern composer Michael John Trotta. The gorgeous Duo Seraphim by Tomás Luis de Victoria shows how chant evolved into counterpoint during the Renaissance, where the original one-voice chant line becomes the basis for overlapping melodies throughout the voices. The concert will conclude with Christmas carols—and an invitation for the audience to join the boys in song.

Lacuna Arts:
Fire & Ice:
Winter Madrigals

Friday, December 15 at 8 pm

Sven Edward Olbash, director

Winter Madrigals (and a Mass!)
Sven Edward Olbash, Director

Hans Leo Hassler Missa Dixit Maria
Thomas Weelkes Five Madrigals
Reynaldo Hahn Chansons et madrigaux
Emma Lou Diemer Three Madrigals

Madrigals by Emma Lou Diemer set familiar Shakespeare texts including the chilly Blow, blow thou winter wind and When icicles hang by the wall in contemporary musical arrangements.  Music by French-Venezuelan composer Reynaldo Hahn and late renaissance composers Hassler and Weelkes round out the program.  In medieval music, a lacuna is a gap or missing section in a particular manuscript. Lacuna Arts bridges the gap between large community choruses and small professional choirs in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Kitka: Wintersongs

December 16 at 8 pm

*Please note pricing structure is slightly different for this concert

Shira Cion, director

Wintersongs is Kitka’s critically-acclaimed and wildly popular winter holiday program showcasing seasonal music from a wide variety of Eastern European ethnic and spiritual traditions. For countless centuries, people around the world have utilized the power or community singing to infuse warmth, cheer, spirituality, wishes for peace, health, and good fortune into the long, dark, cold and difficult winter season. Eastern Europe’s geographic position as a crossroads between Europe and the Orient has produced an astonishingly rich and varied array of seasonal musical rituals. Kitka’s program features songs ranging from rousing Slavic folk carols; to lush, meditative Eastern Orthodox sacred choral works; to Baltic pagan incantations for the return of the Sun Goddess, to Caucasus Georgian Alilos (hallelujahs); to Yiddish songs for Chanukah. Traditional pieces will be woven together with new folk song arrangements and original compositions by Kitka members and contemporary American and Eastern European composers, all inspired by the customs, beauty, and mystery of wintertime.

Kugelplex: Hanukkah Blow-out

Sunday, December 17 at 4 pm

Jason Ditzian, clarinet; Dan Cantrell, accordion & piano; Lila Sklar, violin Max Baloian, guitar; Eric Perney, bass; Michael Pinkham, percussion

Celebrate Hanukkah with a wild performance by Kugelplex, California’s rockin’-est purveyor of klezmer and old-world party music. Formed in 2001, the group plays wild, soulful dance music led by clarinettist extraordinaire Jason Ditzian. They’ve performed with Joan Baez, the Oakland Symphony, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and many other great artists.