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San Francisco Symphony Holiday Concerts Preview

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There's Christmas music playing in all the stores and although I love to complain about it, I keep catching myself whistling along. The tunes are just too catchy to resist. The San Francisco Symphony's December lineup includes fun and festive holiday music for everyone. The mood at Davies Symphony Hall is palpably lighter as the Leroy Anderson-style jazzy arrangements replace the likes of Mozart and Beethoven.

In addition to the annual offerings of the Youth Orchestra's Peter and the Wolf on Dec 14 (ideal for kids, this year narrated by John Lithgow from 3rd Rock From the Sun) and Handel's Messiah on Dec. 19-21, the symphony also broadens its target demographic with Preservation Hall Jazz Band: A Creole Christmas Dec. 15 and Colors of Christmas Dec. 16-18 featuring Peabo Bryson, CeCe Winans, Melissa Manchester, and American Idol-winner Ruben Studdard.

The celebration culminates on New Year's Eve, when Davies is the venue of the bay area's fanciest party. Cocktail hour starts at 8pm followed by a concert featuring classic Viennese Waltzes. After the concert, revelers can dance on stage to the early-mid-20th Century tunes of The Peter Mintun Orchestra. Meanwhile in the 1st tier lobby, Hit Wave will offer a slightly more modern dance flavor. At midnight, 2014 balloons will drop from the ceiling.

Tickets start at $85 and include a mask, sparkling wine, and hors d'oeuvres.

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