Sonoma County Christmas Concerts and Winter Festivals Make Music Online

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DECK THE STAGE ‘A Very Phoenix Theater Christmas’ features holiday hits performed by Petaluma indie-rockers Trebuchet, photographed with Phoenix Theater manager Tom Gaffey and theater booker Jim Agius (third and second from right respectively).

As social distancing remains the order of the day in Sonoma County, several planned holiday concerts and other musical celebrations are taking to the Internet for virtual programs that feature seasonal cheer and performances by local and international artists.

On Friday, Dec. 11, Santa Rosa Junior College music students bridge the gap when SRJC Choirs, Symphonic Band and String Quartet perform virtually in “Music Across the Distance.” Under the direction of Jody Benecke, SRJC Choirs director, and Dr. Jerome Fleg, SRJC Director of Bands, SRJC musicians celebrate the musical connections among people of different cultures from around the globe with a program that includes music from North America, Europe and Africa, with composers ranging from Mozart to Pete Seeger. The recorded video performances were mixed and edited by Nancy Hayashibara, SRJC Choirs accompanist, and Dr. Jerome Fleg; and will include special small ensembles of students who have worked on their own in collaboration to prepare, perform, and record some extra special features. Watch for free at Music.santarosa.edu/events.

Also in Santa Rosa, the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts annually hosts a full season of holiday concerts featuring both cultural performers and modern pop artists. This year’s season is all happening virtually, though the schedule is no less packed with cheer. On Friday, Dec. 11, Northern California-based Mexican folk and contemporary dance company Calidanza performs the virtual Posada Navideña, a holiday tradition in Mexico that features Latin dance and song traditions. The next day, Dec. 12, the center hosts two holiday-themed concerts, as saxophonist Dave Koz & Friends present “The Greatest Hits of Christmas!” live-streaming concert at 5pm, and Pink Martini pianist Thomas Lauderdale and vocalist China Forbes appear for a holiday concert as part of the LBC’s ongoing “Muse Hour” virtual series at 7:30pm. Later this month, the center also hosts the Blind Boys of Alabama in their annual Christmas show, live-streaming on Dec. 23 at 6pm. Get tickets to all of these shows at Lutherburbankcenter.org/events.

In Cotati, an annual summer tradition is making a new seasonal debut when the Cotati Accordion Winter Virtual Festival commences on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 19 and 20. The second virtual offering–coming after this summer’s successful online accordion affair–will once again feature a lineup of internationally-acclaimed virtuosos from eight different countries such as Cory Pesaturo, Jenny Conlee-Drizos, Matthias Matzke, Pietro Adragna and Erica Mancini. These global stars will be performing live throughout the weekend festival, which will also be streaming chats, interviews, The Lady-of-Spain-a-Ring, The Grand Finale, raffles and more. Get all the details at Cotatifest.com.

In Petaluma, the Phoenix Theater is decking its stage out once again for a virtual holiday concert boasting several North Bay rock bands. “A Very Phoenix Theater Christmas” streams for free on Dec. 24 and features holiday hits performed by Trebuchet, Royal Jelly Jive, Schlee, Matt Jaffe, John Courage, One Armed Joey, Gio Benedetti, Bad Thoughts, Down Dirty Shake, Ismay, The Happys and others. Tune in on Christmas Eve at Phoenixchristmas.com.

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