Holiday Arts Guide

Survival Techniques

How to get through the holidays in one highly entertained piece

By Sara Bir

Dark at 5pm, lights strung up on trees, winter storms, chestnuts. The signs are clear: It’s holiday season. And along with the acorn squash and declining quality in tomatoes comes winter’s attendant events. Ballets, chorales, crafts fairs–it’s all there to get you in the spirit of whatever winter holiday you celebrate. So enjoy it while it lasts, because before long it will be spring again.

Spirited Ballet

”Twas the Night before Christmas’ The students of Healdsburg Ballet set Clement B. Moore’s story to dance with innovative choreography and updated music. Saturday, Dec. 7, 7:30pm; Sunday, Dec. 8, 2:30pm. Sonoma Country Day School’s Jackson Theater, 4400 Day School Place, Santa Rosa. $15 adults; $10 seniors and students. 707.431.7617.

‘Sophie and the Enchanted Toy Shop’ Sophie meets icicle and frost fairies, the Snow Prince and Princess, Valentina Ballerina, and the dancing bear. Then they dance, thanks to the cast and crew of the Marin Dance Theatre. Saturday, Dec. 14, 1 and 5pm. Marin Center’s Veterans Auditorium, 10 Avenue of Flags, San Rafael. $25 adults; $12.50 seniors and children under 12. Following the 1pm performance, have photos taken with the cast of characters at the Teddy Bear Tea Party in the Redwood Foyer. $8. 415.499.6800 or

Nutcrackers Galore

Ballet California’s Nutcracker is the only one in Sonoma County offering a live orchestra. Ballet: Dec. 13 at 8pm; Dec. 14 at 2pm and 7pm; Dec. 15 at 2pm. Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. $14-$30. 707.546.3600. Nutcracker Breakfast: Sunday, Dec. 1, 9:30am-noon, Sonoma County Hilton, 3555 Round Barn Blvd., Santa Rosa. $20 adults; $15 children 10 years and under. 707.537.0140. Sugar Plum Parties: LBC’s Gold Room, Dec. 14 and 15 at 4:30pm. $12.

Marin Ballet’s Nutcracker, a 30-year tradition starring students from the dance school. Dec. 7-8, 1pm and 5pm. Marin Center’s Veterans Auditorium, 10 Avenue of Flags, San Rafael. $15-$26. 415.499.6800 or

Ballet Califia’s staging features the choreography of David McNaughton, one of the brightest talents in ballet today. Dec. 20, 8pm; Dec. 21, 2:30pm and 8pm; Dec. 22, 2:30pm. Spreckels Performing Arts Center, 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park. $16 general; $12 youth and seniors. 707.588.3434 or

Stapleton School’s Nutcracker features a cast ages five to 18 years and original choreography by Virginia Stapleton. Dec. 20, 7:30pm; Dec. 21, 3pm and 7:30pm; Dec. 22, 1pm. Marin Center’s Veterans Auditorium, 10 Avenue of Flags, San Rafael. $21 general; $14 youth and seniors. 415.499.6800.

Merry Olde Chorale Concerts

Santa Rosa Symphonic Chorus’ ‘Mid-Winter Songs’ Under the direction of Dan Earl, the Santa Rosa Symphonic Chorus presents Mid-Winter Songs: An Evening of Morten Lauridsen. Nov. 23, 8pm, Santa Rosa High School, 1235 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa; Sunday, Nov. 24, 4pm, Our Lady of Guadeloupe Church, 8400 Old Redwood Hwy., Windsor. $10 general; $8 seniors and students. 707.579.6030.

Quire Quodlibet’s ‘Paens and Patronesses’ The newly reorganized Quire Quodlibet makes a joyful noise to celebrate St. Cecelia’s Day. Nov. 22, 8pm, Sebastopol United Methodist Church, 500 N. Main St., Sebastopol; Nov. 23, 8pm, Raven Theatre, 115 North St., Healdsburg; Nov. 24, 3pm, First United Methodist Church, 1551 Montgomery Drive, Santa Rosa. $15 adults; $10 seniors and students. 707.526.5787.

Russian State Chorus Recognized as one of the world’s leading vocal ensembles, the long-established Russian State Chorus performs on Sunday, Dec. 1, 3pm. $15-$25. Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 707.546.3600 or

Kitka at Russian River Chamber Music Ancient a cappella Balkan and Slavic village chants, as well as complex 20th-century choral works, make up the women’s choral group Kitka’s world-renowned holiday wintersong concert. Sunday, Dec. 1, 4pm. Healdsburg Community Church, 1100 University Ave., $20 general; $10 students. 707.524.8700.

The Edlos The weird guys of a cappella stitch together humor, costume changes, smoke machines, and extensive classical training into a holiday show of traditional and original numbers. Dec. 6, the Raven Theater, Healdsburg; Dec. 14, Santa Rosa High School, Santa Rosa (benefit); Dec. 21, Marin Center Showcase Theater, San Rafael; Dec. 23, COPIA, Napa.

Sonoma Valley Chorale’s ‘Holiday to Remember’ SVC’s musical treats include Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on English Christmas Carols and Randol Bass’ Gloria. Saturday, Dec. 7, 8pm; Sunday, Dec. 8, 2pm and 7:30pm. Sonoma Veterans Memorial Building, 126 First St., Sonoma. $15 adults; $12 seniors and children 16 and under. 707.935.1576 or

Light against the Darkness The Occidental Community Choir celebrates Hanukkah, Christmas, the solstice, and the coming of winter–a suitably ecumenical celebration. Under the direction of Doug Bowes, the choir will perform both classical pieces and choir originals. Saturday, Dec. 7, 8pm, Church of the Incarnation, Santa Rosa; Sunday, Dec. 8, 7pm and Sunday, Dec. 15, 3pm, St. Philip Center, Occidental; Friday, Dec. 13, 8pm, United Methodist Church, Sebastopol. $8. 707.547.0204 or

True Vine Gospel Choir Sonoma State’s well-received new choir, True Vine, holds its first Christmas Gospel Concert with East Bay Anointed Voices and the Kingdom Travelers. Sunday, Dec. 8, 5pm. Evert B. Person Theatre, SSU, 1801 E. Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. $6. 707.664.2353.

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir Twenty-five Academy Award-winning voices soar in unison when the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir takes to the stage. In two performances the choir, led by the charismatic Terrance Kelly, will showcase the power of the voice. Saturday, Dec. 14, 4:30pm and 7:30pm. Bartholomew Park Winery, 1000 Vineyard Lane, Sonoma. $40. 707.935.9511.

Jarvis’ Annual Christmas Music Concert Napa’s Jarvis Conservatory invites three top high school choir ensembles from the area to perform, and the proceeds from the show go to the schools’ music programs. Saturday, Dec. 14, 7pm. Jarvis Conservatory, 1711 Main St., Napa. $30 adults; $15 students. 707.255.5445 or

Petaluma Sings! The Petaluma Women’s Chorus joins up onstage with the Cinnabar Chamber Singers for a joyful holiday concert. Saturday, Dec. 14, 8pm. St. Vincent de Paul Church, 35 Liberty St., Petaluma. $12 general; $10 seniors and students; $6 children 12 and under. 707.763.8920.

San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus’ ‘Home for the Holidays’ The 25th anniversary season of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus begins with their popular Christmas show, Home for the Holidays. A benefit for Face to Face/Sonoma County AIDS Project, the concert usually sells out fast. Sunday, Dec. 15, 5pm (reception), 6pm (concert). Jackson Theater, Sonoma Country Day School, 4400 Day School Place, Santa Rosa. $20. 707.525.6229 or

Chanticleer Christmas Concert The highly acclaimed 12-man a cappella group Chanticleer continues their tradition of Bay Area Christmas choral performances with two shows in Petaluma. Tuesday, Dec. 17, 6pm and 8:30pm. St. Vincent de Paul Church, 35 Liberty St., Petaluma. $34-$37 reserved; $25 general. 800.407.1400 or

Redwood Empire Sing-Along Messiah Don’t know the words? No worry–the Baroque Sinfonia, solo vocalists, and a 100-voice choir can cover for you. Wednesday, Dec. 18, 7:30pm. Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. $14 general; $10 students and seniors. 707.537.6809 or

Symphonic Seasons

Santa Rosa Symphony Dec. 7-9, Sonoma County Bach Choir and Sonoma County Honor Choir sing Brahms’ German Requiem. Jan. 11-13, Beethoven’s Egmont Overture, Korngold’s Violin Concerto, and Schumann’s Symphony no. 4. 707.546.8742 or

Carols in the Caves Musical “improvisator” David Auerbach plays dulcimers, harps, psalteries, and more in this annual acoustic-in-the-caves concert. Dec. 7-8, 2pm, Hans Fahden Vineyards, 4855 Petrified Forest Road, Calistoga; Dec. 14-15, 2pm, Folie à Deux, 3070 Hwy. 29, St. Helena; Dec. 21-22, 2pm, Vine Cliff Winery, 7400 Silverado Trail, Yountville; Dec. 28, 8pm, Buena Vista Winery, 1800 Old Winery Road, Sonoma. $35. 925.866.9559 or

Festival Consort’s Renaissance Christmas Founded in 1976, Festival Consort is the oldest early-music ensemble in the Bay Area, playing both Renaissance and Medieval music on historical instruments such as the cornett and crumhorn. Dec. 9, 12:15pm. Newman Auditorium, Emeritus Hall, Santa Rosa Junior College, 1501 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa; Wednesday, Dec. 11, 7:30pm, Herold Mahoney Library, Santa Rosa Junior College’s Petaluma Campus, 680 Sonoma Mountain Parkway, Petaluma. Free. 707.527.4372.

New Century Chamber Orchestra’s Baroque Christmas Warm the cold season with rich baroque selections by Vivaldi, Handel, and Corelli. Sunday, Dec. 22, 5pm. Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. $35. 415.357.1111 or

Twinkly Parades, Trees, & Houses

Petaluma Festival of Trees The Downtown Petaluma Association’s Festival of Trees promotion plants trees (not literally) in stores and restaurants for merchants to decorate. Each tree will then be auctioned off with funds going to local charities. Trees go on display Nov. 26-Dec. 6. Call 707.762.9348 for more info.

Yountville Festival of Lights Yountville goes all-out for a day of food, wine, and holiday. Santa arrives at noon aboard the famed Anheuser-Busch wagon. Other attractions include a gingerbread house competition and the Napa Valley Ice Art Championship. Friday, Nov. 29. 12:30pm, ice carving begins; 5-6pm, tree lighting. Downtown Yountville. Free. 707.944.0904.

City of Lights Driving Tour Take a self-guided tour of highly decked-out homes and businesses in Petaluma. Dec. 6-27. Free. For details, go to or call 707.769.0429.

Light Up a Life Hospice of Petaluma’s annual fundraiser electrifies the Christmas tree in Center Park. Friday, Dec. 6, 6:30pm. Center Park, Petaluma Boulevard at B Street, Petaluma. Free. To sponsor a tree light, call 707.778.6242.

Russian River Parade of Lights Fifty floats, cars, horses, and such cruise through downtown Guerneville, all bedecked and alighted. Saturday, Dec. 7, 7pm. Main Street, Guerneville. Free. 887.644.9001.

Holiday Lighted Boat Parade The most luminous flotilla on earth parades around Petaluma’s waterfront. Saturday, Dec. 7, 6:30pm. Petaluma River Harbor, Petaluma. Free. 707.769.0429.

Luther Burbank Holiday Open House Visit the Burbank Home as it’s decked out in festive Victorian holiday style and stop in for tea and cookies in the Burbank Greenhouse. Dec. 7-8, 10am-4pm. Luther Burbank Home and Gardens, Santa Rosa and Sonoma avenues, Santa Rosa. Free. 707.524.5445.

Heritage Homes Holiday Parlor Tour Experience four Victorian parlors, plus the vintage holiday decorations at the Petaluma Museum. Sunday, Dec. 8, 6-9pm. Petaluma Historic Library and Museum, 20 Fourth St., Petaluma. $15. 707.762.3456.

Healdsburg Victorian Inns Tour Step back in time and get a peek at five of Healdsburg’s quaint Victorian inns: the Madrona Manor, Haydon Street Inn, Camellia Inn, Grape Leaf Inn, and Healdsburg Inn on the Plaza. All you need to do is pick up a map at your first stop of this self-guided tour. Sunday, Dec. 15, 2-4pm. Free. 707.433.6935 or 707.433.5228.

Napa Holiday Candlelight Tour Napa Landmark’s yearly tour of Victorian homes with costumed docents, plus wines and chocolate. Saturday, Dec. 14, 3-8pm. Various sites, First Street neighborhood, Napa. Advance: $25 adult; $10 ages three to 12. Day of event: $30 adults; $12 ages three to 12. 888.255.1836 or

Santa Sightings

Direct from the North Pole via the Petaluma River, it’s Santa’s Riverboat Arrival and Antique Wagon and Horse Procession, when Santa and Mrs. Claus land at the Petaluma Riverfront to hand out candy canes. Then, the Antique Wagon and Horse Procession makes its way through downtown Petaluma (it’s also a holiday open house for downtown merchants). Saturday, Nov. 30. Santa’s arrival, noon; Wagon Procession, 1pm. Petaluma Riverfront, Western Avenue, Petaluma. Free. 707.769.0429.

A Very Merry Morning with Santa Infants to children six years of age are invited to visit Santa at the “North Pole” for the traditional rite-of-passage photo-op. Presale-only tickets go on sale Nov. 12. Saturday, Dec. 14, 9-9:45am, 10-10:45am, and 11-11:45am. Steele Lane Community Center, 415 Steele Lane, Santa Rosa. $5 per child. 707.543.3282 or 707.543.3737.

Ye Olde Craft Faires

Gifts ‘n’ Thyme Holiday Faire Eighty-two booths of fresh herbs–er, make that arts and crafts, plus baked goodies. Nov. 15-17. Friday, 11am-8pm; Saturday, 11am-6pm; Sunday, 11am-5pm. Chardonnay Hall, Napa Valley Exposition, 575 Third St., Napa. Free. 707.224.3207.

Petaluma Alternative Christmas Bazaar The gifts are handcrafted by Third-World artists; all proceeds support the artists and their families. Saturday, Nov. 16, 9am-3pm. Free. United Church of Christ, 825 Middleford Drive, Petaluma. 707.763.2454.

Holiday Jubilee A top-quality venue for juried artisans, Holiday Jubilee offers gift items, plus winetasting and sales, gingerbread house workshops and kits, gift-making workshops for kids, and home-decor craft workshops for adults. Nov. 22-23, 10am-5pm. Sonoma Country Day School, 4400 Day School Place, Santa Rosa. $5 adults; $2 children. Workshops: $40 each, adult; $18 each, children. 707.284.3281 or

Meet the Artists Twenty-two consignment artists whose work is featured at the Graton Gallery will appear in a “meet the artists” holiday gift show and reception. Saturday, Nov. 23, 3-6pm. Graton Gallery, 9048 Graton Road, Graton. Free. 707.829.8912 or

Spirit of Christmas Crafts Faire Three weekends long with 250 exhibits and ongoing entertainment for the family, the Spirit of Christmas Crafts Faire is now in its 26th year. Nov. 28-Dec. 1; Dec. 6-8; and Dec. 13-15. Fridays, noon-9pm; Saturdays and Sundays, 10am-6pm. Grace Pavilion, Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa. $4 general; $2 seniors and children ages six to 12. Fridays are half-price for everyone. 707.575.9355 or

Christmas Crafts Fair The 21st annual Christmas Crafts Fair, sponsored by the Russian River Watershed Protection Committee takes place Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 10am-5pm. Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, 1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa. $1.50. 707.869.0054.

Winter Open Studios The Industrial Center Building in Sausalito houses a thriving group of artists–75, to be exact. This makes it very convenient for them to throw their Winter Open Studios. Opening reception: Friday, Dec. 6, 6-9pm. Open studios: Dec. 7-8, 11am-6pm. ICB, 480 Gate Five Road, Sausalito. Free. 415.332.1909. A few blocks away, Sausalito’s Schoonmaker building also opens up Dec. 7-8, 11am-6pm. 10 Liberty Ship Way, Sausalito. 415.331.6466.

Dickens of a Holiday Crafts Show Santa Rosa Recreation and Parks’ 28th annual crafts show has over 60 booths of handcrafted gifts. Saturday, Dec. 7, 9am-5pm; Sunday, Dec. 8, 10am-4pm. Finley Community Center, 2060 W. College Ave., Santa Rosa. Free. 707.43.3737.

Herbal Christmas Fair The Sonoma County Herb Association’s herb and craft sale puts an old-fashioned spin on seasonal crafts fairs with one-of-a-kind holiday gifts by herbal artisans and homemade cookies at a bake sale. Proceeds benefit SCHA. Sunday, Dec. 15, 10am-5pm. Lodge Room, Santa Rosa Veterans Building, 1351 Maple Ave., Santa Rosa. Free. 707.585.8575.

Dramatic Affairs

Cinnabar Theater Cinnabar brings us two shows for the holidays. First, Cinnabar Young Actors Repertory Company presents the world premiere of Christmas Comes to Cherrywood, a tale of a lost unicorn and an enchanted forest. Nov. 15, 16, 22, and 23 at 7:30pm; Nov. 17 and 24 at 2pm. Then, Young Actors Repertory makes the classic Capra movie It’s a Wonderful Life come alive in musical form. Dec. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, and 21 at 7:30pm; Dec. 15 and 22 at 2pm. Tickets for both productions are $10 general; $6 ages 12 and under. Cinnabar Theater, 3333 Petaluma Blvd. N., Petaluma. 707.763.8920.

‘Holiday Memories’ Sonoma County Repertory Theatre offers an adaptation of “The Thanksgiving Visitor” and “A Christmas Memory,” probably Truman Capote’s warmest works. Nov. 22-23, 29-30, Dec. 5-7, 12-14, 19-21 at 8pm; Dec. 1 at 2pm. Sonoma County Repertory Theatre, 104 N. Main St., Sebastopol. $15. 707.823.0177 or

The 1940s Radio Hour A 10-piece orchestra adds to the madcap action of this nostalgic holiday treat, presented by Pacific Alliance Stage Company. Nov. 29-30, Dec. 6-7, 13-14 at 8pm; Dec. 1, 8, 15 at 2:30pm; Dec. 5 and 12 at 7:30pm. Spreckels Performing Arts Center, 5409 Snyder Lane, Rohnert Park. $22 adult; $18 youth and senior; $15 all seats. 707.588.3434 or

‘A Christmas Carol’ Dreamweavers Theatre stages the Christmas classic. Dec. 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, and 27-29. Fridays and Saturdays, 8pm; Sundays, 2pm. 1637 Imola Ave. (in the River Park Shopping Center), Napa. $15 general; $12 seniors and students. 707.255. LIVE.

An Imaginative ‘Christmas Carol’ Healdsburg’s Imagination Foundation, a new nonprofit theater for young actors, presents Dickens’ Christmas Carol with three holiday performances. Dec. 13 and 14, 8pm; Dec. 15, 3pm. Raven Theatre, 115 North St., Healdsburg. Advance: $10 adults; $5 children, students, and seniors. Door: $12 adults; $7 children, students, and seniors. 707.431.7ACT.

Festive Events

Chocolate and Carols Falkirk’s yearly Victorian holiday celebrates all things Dickens and Christmas-y. Carols, fine confections from local chocolatiers, and an authentic Father Christmas are all in store. Friday, Dec. 6, 6:30-9pm. Falkirk Cultural Center, 1408 Mission Ave., San Rafael. $8 adults; $5 members and children. 415.485.3328 or

Madrigal Dinner Gualala’s art center gets the Olde English treatment and is transformed into the Great Hall of Sterling Castle for a six-course feast, complete with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, with madrigal singing for dessert. Dec. 7-8, 6pm. Gualala Arts, 46501 Old State Hwy., off Highway One, Gualala. $65. 707.884.1138.

Annual Victorian Tea The Petaluma Women’s Club serves a proper English tea Upstairs, Downstairs-style. Benefits Petaluma Historical Library and Museum. Dec. 8-14, 11am, 2pm, and 5pm. Petaluma Women’s Club, 518 B St., Petaluma. $25 per seating. 707.762.4247.

Granny Bear’s Christmas Tea Party A traditional Victorian high tea meets the cuddly fuzziness of teddy bears with a live variety show, games, storytelling, and a souvenir photo with Granny Bear herself. Proceeds go to Story Bear Benefits. Saturday, Dec. 14, 11am and 2:30pm. Cotati Veterans Building, 8505 Park Ave., Cotati. $18-$40. 707.829.2494.

‘Fiddler on the Roof’ Sing-Along Sing, laugh, cry, and sing again. Come dressed as your favorite character, then watch the movie on the big screen and belt it out just like Zero Mostel. Lyrics provided. Register by Dec. 23–last year they sold out. Wed, Dec. 25, 11am-3pm. Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. $18 adult members; $22 adult public; $12 all children 12 and under. 415.444.8000 or

Hanukkah Celebrations

Latke Dinner Party Bring salad or dessert for four to this potluck and enjoy The Miracle of Chanukah, a professional multimedia musical puppet extravaganza. Reservations required. Tuesday, Dec. 3, 5:45pm. Congregation Beth Ami, Freedman Center, 4676 Mayette Ave., Santa Rosa. Members: $5 adults; $3 children. Nonmembers: $6 adults; $4 children. 707.545.4334.

Family Storytelling Family activities like making olive oil proceed a concert and storytelling by bestselling children’s musician Joanie Bartels and storyteller Joel ben Izzy. Sunday, Dec. 8, noon-3pm. Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. $6 members; $7 public. 415.444.8000 or


Sausalito’s Bay Area Discovery Museum goes global for its holiday celebration, bringing its fifth annual Kwanzaa celebration to the area. The seven guiding principles of Kwanzaa will be portrayed in the day-long event, as well as drumming, dancing, and crafts. Thursday, Dec. 26, noon-4pm. 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito. 415.487.4398 or

From the November 14-20, 2002 issue of the North Bay Bohemian.

© Metro Publishing Inc.

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