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A choral Christmas

  • Chanticleer: An Orchestra of Voices

There's nothing like the soaring, four-part harmonies of a choir to capture the wonder and joy of the holiday season.

This year, singers are warming up their voices in every corner of the county, from intimate church alcoves and community halls to the Green Music Center in Rohnert Park.

Whether you're a fan of Handel's "Messiah" or Haydn's Mass No. 10, Old World carols or contemporary tunes, you'll find a celebration of song to suit your taste. Here are some good options:

<strong>The Sonoma County Chamber Singers </strong>present "December Promise" at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the United Church of Cloverdale, 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Santa Rosa, and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Presbyterian Church of the Roses in Santa Rosa. The musical program includes Dieterich Buxtehude's "Magnificat" and Gustav Holst's Choral Hymns as well as secular gems. Free but donations welcome. <a href="http://sonomacountychambersingers.org" target="_blank">sonomacountychambersingers.org</a>.

<strong>The Occidental Community Choir </strong>presents "Illuminations" at 8 tonight, 8 p.m. Saturday, 8 p.m. Dec. 13, 8 p.m. Dec. 14 and 3 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Occidental Center for the Arts. The program celebrates all kinds of light, from the spiritual light of freedom to the comforting light of home. $15 adults, kids 12 and under free. <a href="http://occidentalchoir.org" target="_blank">occidentalchoir.org</a>.

<strong>The Santa Rosa Symphony</strong> under Music Director Bruno Ferrandis joins forces with four vocal soloists and the Santa Rosa Symphony Honor Choir for <strong>"Contemplation of Peace and War"</strong> at 8 p.m. Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday and 8 p.m. Monday at Sonoma State University's Weill Hall in Rohnert Park.

<strong>Mezzo-soprano Christine Brandes</strong> showcases her crystalline voice in Leonard Bernstein's Symphony No. 1 before intermission, then joins three other soloists — soprano Jenni Samuelson, tenor Brian Thorsett and baritone Philipe Skinner — to perform Haydn's Mass No. 10.

Opening the program on a whimsical note, the orchestra plays Leopold Mozart's "The Toy Symphony," with toy instruments performed by Santa Rosa Mayor Scott P. Bartley (drum), SSU Chief Financial Officer Laurence Furukawa-Schlereth (cuckoo), symphony supporter Sam Guerrera (rattle), Santa Rosa Symphony Board President James Hinton (trumpet) and Green Music Center Board of Advisors member Marne Olson (nightingale).

Tickets are $20-$80. <a href="http://santarosasymphony.com" target="_blank">santarosasymphony.com</a>. 546-8742.

<strong>The Healdsburg Chorus</strong> welcomes winter with "Sleigh Bells Ring" at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Glaser Center in Santa Rosa, 3 p.m. Dec. 15 and 7 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Healdsburg Community Church.


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