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In and around the Bay Area this week - Part I

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There’s so much on this week that we’ve had to divide our round-up into two sections, and still zip through all the pre-Christmas productions at speed. There’s a weblink for each, though, so you can go straight to the source for detailed information.

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“No one does a better choral Christmas than the virtuoso male voices of Chanticleer...” says The New Yorker, so the Stanford Memorial Church is the place to be for this year’s presentation of A Chanticleer Christmas. This Grammy award-winning “orchestra of voices” sets the tone for the holiday season at Stanford with a program of peaceful and joyful music. The repertoire includes the rarities of Gregorian chant, American gospel classics, and a good selection of holiday carols.

A Chanticleer Christmas takes place at Stanford Memorial Church on Wednesday, December 11, at 7:30 pm. For further details, here’s the website.

Davies Symphony Hall is buzzing with activity this week with a wonderfully varied program which sees Dianne Reeves, one of the world’s foremost jazz singers, join the San Francisco Symphony, led by Sarah Hicks, for just one performance. Winner of four Grammys, Reeves has recorded and performed extensively with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis, has recorded with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim, and was a featured soloist with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. She also appeared throughout George Clooney's award-winning film Good Night and Good Luck and performed every song on the Grammy-winning soundtrack.

Dianne Reeves performs at Davies Symphony Hall on Wednesday December 11. For tickets and more information, visit the San Francisco Symphony website

On Thursday, Grammy Award-winning, cross-cultural party band Ozomatli presents music from around the world in what’s described as “an urban-Latino-and-beyond collision of hip hop and salsa, dancehall and cumbia, samba and funk, merengue and comparsa, East LA R&B and New Orleans second line, Jamaican ragga and Indian raga”. The group has appeared with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Colorado Symphony, the San Diego Symphony, and the New York Pops. The San Francisco Symphony is conducted in this performance by Resident Conductor Donato Cabrera.

See Ozomatli at Davies Symphony Hall on Thursday, December 12 at 7:30 pm. For tickets and information, see the SF Symphony website.

Friday at Davies Symphony Hall sees one of the most popular composers of the 20th century in performance. Burt Bacharach, conducting his band and the San Francisco Symphony from the piano, presents two concerts of his greatest hits, including What the World Needs Now is Love, I Say A Little Prayer, and (They Long to Be) Close to You. He has performed with some of the greatest artists of the 60s and beyond, including Dusty Springfield, the Beatles, Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick, and was a 2012 recipient of the Library of Congress' Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, confirming his ongoing influence on popular music.

Burt Bacharach appears at Davies Symphony Hall on December 13 and 14. For tickets and further information, please visit the San Francisco Symphony website.

The San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, conducted by Music Director, Donato Cabrera, takes to the stage on Saturday afternoon for its annual delight, Peter and the Wolf. Guest narrator is actor John Lithgow, in his San Francisco Symphony debut, who’ll be recounting the story of Prokofiev’s enchanting tale. The program also includes selections from The Nutcracker, a piece by Bill Elliott and John Lithgow entitled The Bandshell Right Next to the Zoo, and Johan Straus Snr’s Radetzky March.

Peter and the Wolf takes place at Davies Symphony Hall on Saturday December 14 at 1.00 and 4.00 pm. Further details and tickets are available from the SF Symphony website.

To round off the week at Davies Symphony Hall, Preservation Hall Jazz Band (PHJB) presents A Creole Christmas - a performance of classic New Orleans jazz. The group - which takes its name from the revered music venue in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter - has traveled the world perpetuating its art form, performing at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, for British royalty and for the King of Thailand.

A Creole Christmas by Preservation Hall Jazz Band is on at Davies Symphony Hall on Sunday, December 15. For tickets and information please visit the SF Symphony website. (The San Francisco Symphony does not perform in this concert)

The SFJAZZ Center has a busy week, too. All performances by Buika are now sold out, as is the Family Matinee.

On December 12, though, you can still drop in to SFJAZZ Hotplate - a concert series which takes place on the second Thursday of every month at the Joe Henderson Lab. In an informal setting, you can enjoy a drink while listening to some of the Bay Area’s most gifted musicians re-imagining a famous recording of a jazz legend. This week Robert Stewart and Chester Thompson play Jimmy Smith’s Back at the Chicken Shack. The advice is to get there early, because it’s a load of fun and it’s always packed.

Robert Stewart and Chester Thompson are at SFJAZZ Hotplate on Thursday December 12. More information can be found on


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