Musical Notes Graphic

'Tis the season.

Which means, jolly or not, 'tis time to preview the upcoming December concerts. 'Tis a pretty long list.

That first weekend, 'tis a busy one. You probably don’t care about my kid's guitar recital. So how about the Bob Cole Conservatory’s Holiday Percussionfest on Friday, Dec. 6, at Daniel Recital Hall?

The Bob Cole Conservatory's choirs combine with handbells and the Southern California Brass Consortium for three performances of their traditional, and beloved, Winter Festival Concert on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8, at First Congregational Church. And speaking of that Southern California Brass Consortium, their own concert is later that Sunday at Los Altos Methodist.

If 'tis too early for Christmas music and your bells haven't yet begun to jingle, the Music Guild concert at Daniel on Tuesday, Dec. 10, features Franz Schubert's great "Death and the Maiden" quartet, sure to put everyone in the festive holiday mood.

Okay, seriously. Two of my favorite annual December offerings are on the following weekend, and you can make both. Musica Angelica's "Baroque Christmas," on lucky Friday the 13th at the Beverly O'Neill Theater, offers period music of the season impeccably performed in collaboration with the Camerata Singers; a light dinner is served beforehand.

Then on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 14 and 15, Long Beach Chorale displays its customary innovative programming with "Candlelight Carols," at Grace First Presbyterian Church. Artistic director Eliza Rubenstein is on sabbatical, so Matthew Martinez is in charge this year.

'Tis also time again for Long Beach Ballet's 37th annual production of "The Nutcracker" at the Terrace Theater, with seven performances between Dec. 14 and 22, featuring full orchestra and, probably, your neighbor's children.

Like the brass ensemble, the Camerata Singers are busy this month. They've got the Musica Angelica concert, a family program called "Christmas at Rancho Los Alamitos" on Dec. 12, and then on Dec. 21 and 22, two performances of their annual "Messiah," with soloists and the aforementioned Musica Angelica, at the O'Neill.

Pianist David Benoit returns to the Carpenter Center with "A Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown," featuring guest artist Sara Gazarek, on Saturday the 21st. 'Tis also the date of the Long Beach Symphony's "Holiday POPS! with The Copa Boys" at the Arena, so you'll have to pick.

There's a lot here to choose from, and 'tis all high-quality stuff; performing groups put extra care and effort into their December offerings. Whether your taste inclines toward the classical or popular, instrumental or vocal, these concerts enhance the holidays in a very special way. 'Tis a good idea to check the organizations' websites for details and tickets.

'Tis the season, for concerts.

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