Holiday Concerts

Veretski Pass:
Music from the Carpathian Bow

Friday, December 1 at 8:00 pm

Cookie Segelstein, violin, viola, scordatura violin; Joshua Horowitz, chromatic button accordion, cimbalom, piano; Stuart Brotman, basy (bass cello), bass, tilinca, baraban

Taking its name from the mountain pass through which Magyar tribes crossed into the Carpathian basin to settle what later became the Austria Hungarian Empire, Veretski Pass plays old country music with origins in the Ottoman Empire, once fabled as the borderlands of the East and the West. In a true collage of Carpathian, Jewish, Rumanian and Ottoman styles, typical suites contain dances from Moldavia and Bessarabia; Jewish melodies from Poland and Rumania; Hutzul wedding music from Carpathian-Ruthenia; and haunting Rebetic aires from Smyrna, seamlessly integrated with original compositions. Playing in an unbound, energetic, village style, this band of world renown klezmer veterans carries on the ancient tradition of klezmer musicians, playing music of all kinds, but with a recognizably Jewish sound.

East Bay

Candlelight Concert

December 3
at 4 pm

Robert Geary, director

The internationally-acclaimed Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir (PEBCC) offers children in San Francisco’s East Bay an outstanding program of music education and performance. Started in 1982 by founding Executive Director Susan Rahl and Artistic Director Robert Geary, PEBCC has become one of the leading children’s music programs in the United States.  In addition to hundreds of local performances, PEBCC has also performed with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, Berkeley Symphony, West Edge Opera, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Choral Society, Volti, John Denver, The Mark Morris Dance Group, Barenaked Ladies, and for national and regional conventions of ACDA and OAKE. PEBCC has earned grand prizes, first prizes, and gold medals at prestigious competitions across Europe, Asia and the Americas.

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 seeks to engage the concert-going public, new listeners, and student musicians alike through unique programming and joyfully artistic performances. “Gaude” means “Rejoice” in Latin—the most common language for Sacred Renaissance music, which forms the core of their repertoire. Gaude’s debut concerts took place in December 2015 to an overwhelmingly positive response in San Jose and San Francisco, presented by Music on the Hill. Gaude is regularly presented by Old First Concerts in San Francisco, and was the premier professional chorus at the 2017 CASMEC Conference in San Jose. 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

Lacuna Arts Chorale returns to O1C for the third year in a row with another unusual and innovative holiday program, this time featuring choral works by all living composers. In the bleak midwinter by Abbie Betinis and There is no rose from Paul Mealor’s Now Sleeps The Crimson Petal make a nod to the traditional Christmas narrative. Madrigals by Emma Lou Diemer and Theodore Morrison set familiar Shakespeare texts including the chilly Blow, blow thou winter wind and When icicles hang by the wall in contemporary musical arrangements while Morten Lauridsen explores the burning passion found in love poetry of the Italian Renaissance in his Six Fire Songs, built upon different iterations of what he calls his “fire chord.”

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 at weddings, concerts and festivals throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and beyond. They’ve performed with Joan Baez, the Oakland Symphony, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and Frank London (founder of the Klezmatics) and many other great artists.