Winter wonders

Holiday events that will get you in the spirit

When deciding on the theme for this year's holiday concert, Ragazzi Boys Chorus Artistic Director Joyce Keil turned to nature for inspiration.

"I noticed how many composers set texts that positioned the contrasting stories of roses growing from the bleak hard snowy frozen ground, of the sadness of loss with the joy of hope for peace in the world, and the paradox of light in the midst of winter," she told the Weekly. The concert,"For the Beauty of the Earth," includes the hymn of the same name as well as various other seasonal music that celebrates nature's gifts. "We all have different interpretations when it comes to faith, but we all can count on the coming again of the beauty of the Earth, the blooming of the rose, the outbreak of spring and the renewal of hope in the midst of the dreariness of winter," she said. The chorus, which includes around 200 boys from the local community, will perform Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto, 625 Hamilton Ave., Palo Alto, and Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. at Messiah Lutheran Church, 1835 Valota Road, Redwood City.

The organization's alumni chorus, Ragazzi Continuo, will present "An English Christmas," featuring English carols and seasonal songs from the past to the modern era on Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 178 Clinton St., Redwood City, and Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 1140 Cowper St., Palo Alto. For tickets and more information, go to Ragazzi Boys Chorus and Ragazzi Continuo.

Below are some more holiday offerings, listed in roughly chronological order. As usual, there are plentiful "Nutcracker" productions for ballet lovers (see companion story). For more event listings, or to submit your own, check out the Midpeninsula event calendar.


Palo Alto tree-lighting ceremony

What: Live entertainment, cookies and hot cocoa will be offered as part of Palo Alto's annual holiday tree-lighting ceremony.

Where: Lytton Plaza, Palo Alto.

When: Nov. 30, 6-7 p.m.

More information: City of Palo Alto.

Menlo Park tree-lighting ceremony

What: Menlo Park's tree-lighting event will feature a visit from Santa Claus along with other treats.

Where: Fremont Park, Menlo Park.

When: Nov. 30, 5:30-7 p.m.

More information: City of Menlo Park

'Presents from the Past'

What: The J. Gilbert Smith House will be decorated in 1930's holiday splendor for an exhibition of Christmas gifts, including toys, books and more, from yesteryear.

Where: Los Altos History Museum, 51 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos.

When: Through Jan. 6.

More information: LAHM.

Hometown Holidays

What: Redwood City's annual downtown celebration includes snow and a tree-lighting.

Where: Downtown Redwood City

When: Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

More information: Hometown Holidays

Caltrain Holiday Train

What: Caltrain's festive Holiday Train will make nine stops along the Peninsula, boasting lights, entertainment, characters and a chance for locals to donate a new, unwrapped toy to the annual toy drive.

Where: The train will stop in Redwood City at 6:10 p.m. and Mountain View at 7:25 p.m. on Dec. 1; and Menlo Park at 7:05 p.m. on Dec. 2.

More information: Holiday Train.

'Buon Natale'

What: The California Bach Society will celebrate five centuries of Italian Christmas and Advent music.

Where: All Saints' Episcopal Church, 555 Waverley St., Palo Alto.

When: Dec. 1, 8 p.m.

More information: CalBach.

''Twas the Night Before Christmas'

What: Dancers Repertory Theatre presents the annual dance and theater production of the classic holiday poem.

Where: Woodside Performing Arts Center, 199 Churchill Ave., Woodside.

When: Dec. 2 and 9 at 1:30 and 4 p.m.; Dec. 8 at 3 p.m.

More information: ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Hanukkah on the Square

What: Chabad Mid Pen hosts a Hanukkah celebration featuring festive refreshments, a glow-in-the-dark menorah, music and games.

Where: Courthouse Square, downtown Redwood City

When: Dec. 2, 4-5:30 p.m.

More information: Redwood City Hanukkah.

Mountain View tree lighting

What: The City of Mountain View will hold its community tree-lighting ceremony, including a visit from Santa Claus. Donations of canned food for the Community Services Agency are encouraged.

Where: Civic Center Plaza, 500 Castro St., Mountain View.

When: Dec. 3, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

More information: City of Mountain View.

'The Christmas Ballet'

What: Smuin presents its annual holiday performance, incorporating classical ballet and contemporary dance into a two-act show ("Classical Christmas" followed by "Cool Christmas") suitable for all ages.

Where: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View.

When: Dec. 5-9, 7:30 p.m., plus 2 p.m. matinees on weekend.

More information: Christmas Ballet.

'The Santaland Diaries'

What: TheatreWorks Silicon Valley presents a staged version of David Sedaris' comedy, starring Max Tachis. The one-man show (for mature audiences only) chronicles the misadventures of a department-store elf.

Where: Lohman Theatre, Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills.

When: Dec. 5-23, 8 p.m. plus 3 p.m. matinees on weekends.

More information: TheatreWorks.

Hanukkah Celebration at Stanford Shopping Center

What: The Oshman Family JCC hosts a free family Hanukkah celebration with a musical performance by Noa Levy and her band, who will lead dancing both in English and Hebrew, arts and crafts, dreidel games and a candle-lighting ceremony.

Where: Stanford Shopping Center, The Plaza (near Neiman Marcus), Palo Alto.

When: Dec. 6, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

More information: Hanukkah celebration.

'Metropolitan Klezmer'

What: Metropolitan Klezmer will perform a family Hanukkah-celebration concert incorporating a variety of fresh sounds and eclectic arrangements.

Where: Oshman Family JCC, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto.

When: Dec. 8, 5:30 p.m.

More information: Metropolitan Klezmer.

Friends of Music Holiday Musicale

What: The Friends of Music at Stanford present their annual holiday showcase featuring the Stanford Philharmonia, Stanford Chamber Chorale, Early Music Singers and other guests.

Where: Memorial Church, 450 Serra St., Stanford.

When: Dec. 8, 2:30 p.m.

More information: Holiday Musicale.

'The Elves and the Shoemaker'

What: Peninsula Youth Theatre's production of "The Elves and the Shoemaker" is a premiere adaptation of a classic folk tale about two helpful elves.

Where: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View.

When: Dec. 7-8, multiple showtimes.

More information: PYT.

'PACO Holiday Extravaganza'

What: The Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra will be joined by special guest TwoSet Violin and dancers from Pacific Ballet Academy for its annual performance of holiday music.

Where: Smithwick Theatre, Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Road, Palo Alto.

When: Dec. 9, 3 p.m.

More information: PACO.

Gryphon Carolers

What: The Gryphon Carolers and All-Star Band will perform their annual concert of holiday songs from around the world.

Where: Woodside Village Church, 3154 Woodside Road, Woodside.

When: Dec. 9, 6:30 p.m.

More information: Gryphon Carolers.

'Christmas Time is Here'

What: Grammy-winning jazz legend Dianne Reeves will sing holiday standards.

Where: Bing Concert Hall, 327 Lasuen St., Stanford.

When: Dec. 14, 7:30 p.m.

More information: Stanford Live.

'The Snow Queen'

What: When the Snow Queen's spell captures a young boy, his best friend sets out on a quest to save him in this whimsical adventure presented by Bayer Ballet (suitable for age 3 and up).

Where: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View.

When: Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 15 at 2 p.m.

More information: Bayer Ballet.

'Winter's Gifts: Journeys'

What: The Choral Project and the San Jose Chamber Orchestra present their annual "Winter's Gifts" concert, with a theme of journeys both physical and emotional. The concert will include choral works from various faith traditions and cultures.

Where: First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, 1140 Cowper St., Palo Alto.

When: Dec. 15 at 8 p.m.

More information: The Choral Project.

'Jingle! Angels! Silent! Merry!'

What: San Francisco Choral Artists will offer a variety of seasonal singing.

Where: St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 600 Colorado Ave., Palo Alto.

When: Dec. 15, 8 p.m.

More information: SFCA.

'Nat 'King' Cole & Me'

What: Gregory Porter sings the songs of his greatest influence, Nat "King" Cole.

Where: Memorial Auditorium, 551 Serra Mall, Stanford.

When: Dec. 15, 7:30 p.m.

More information: Stanford Live.

'Heartfelt Season 2018'

What: Bravissimo Dance Studio presents a tale of a Grinch, Santa Claus and more, told through dance.

Where: Canada College, 4200 Farm Hill Blvd., Redwood City.

When: Dec. 15, 4 p.m.

More information: Bravissimo.

Italian Christmas market

What: Mitchell Park Community Center will host "Bay Area's Natale," an Italian Christmas market, where Italian-style crafts and foods will be sold, carols sung and more. Admission is free.

Where: Mitchell Park Community Center, 3700 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto.

When: Dec. 16, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

More information: Bay Area’s Natale.

'A John Rutter Christmas'

What: Schola Cantorum presents a concert of cozy Christmas carols by John Rutter, followed by a singalong of holiday tunes.

Where: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View.

When: Dec. 16, 3 p.m.

More information: Schola Cantorum.

Holiday organ recital: Robert Huw Morgan

What: Stanford University organist Dr. Robert Huw Morgan will present his annual holiday recital.

Where: Memorial Church, 450 Serra St., Stanford.

When: Dec. 16, 1:30 p.m.

More information: Stanford Music.

'Gypsy Soul Holiday Experience'

What: Eclectic jazz-pop duo Gypsy soul puts its own spin on holiday music.

Where: Club Fox, 2209 Broadway St., Redwood City.

When: Dec. 16, 6 p.m

More information: Gypsy Soul.

'Messiah Sing'

What: Schola Cantorum's annual singalong (age 12 and up) of Handel's "Messiah" will be presented with Sinfonia Schola Cantorum. Scores will be available.

Where: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View.

When: Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m.

More information: Schola Cantorum.

'An Irish Christmas'

What: The music and dance of the Emerald Isle comes to the Peninsula for a performance of Irish dancing and singing with a holiday theme.

Where: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View.

When: Dec. 20, 7 p.m.

More information: Irish Christmas.

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir

What: The OIGC will perform a concert of gospel and spiritual music holiday music.

Where: Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro St., Mountain View.

When: Dec. 21, 7:30 p.m.

More information: OIGC.

Winter solstice bike ride

What: GreenTown Los Altos will lead an 8-mile bike ride starting at Peet's in Los Altos, visiting "Christmas Tree Lane" in Palo Alto and stopping for hot chocolate on the way back.

Where: 367 State St., Los Altos.

When: Dec. 21, 6:30 p.m.

More information: GreenTown Los Altos.

'Music in My Soul'

What: The Taylor Street Stop and friends will perform holiday hits and classics from the Great American Songbook.

Where: Angelica's, 863 Main St., Redwood City.

When: Dec. 22, 8:30 p.m.

More information: Angelica’s.

Holidays at Filoli

What: Filoli will be hosting holiday decor and special events throughout the season.

Where: Filoli Historic House & Garden, 86 Cañada Road, Woodside.

When: Through Dec. 23; schedule varies.

More information: Filoli.

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