For millennia, our species has recognized the transition of the seasons with ritual arts.
Fast forward to the modern moment, where our sentimentality about, say, the solstice, continues, but the variety of our expression now represents myriad disciplines and traditions.
Writing up an annual listicle of these is a tradition of mine—perhaps one of the many possibilities below will become one of yours.
Transcendence Theatre Company
“The holidays are my favorite time of year, and I’m thrilled to create this show with my Transcendence family,” says Colin Campbell McAdoo, who directed and co-conceived Transcendence Theatre Company’s Holiday Spectacular.
The production celebrates the holidays with an all-ages-friendly performance that recalls Judy Garland’s holiday specials of yore and will feature classic holiday tunes like “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “Run, Run Rudolph,” as well as modern tunes like Michael Buble’s “Jingle Bells,” and The Maccabeats’ “Latke Recipe.”
“This show will take the whole family on a holiday journey with Broadway tunes, seasonal classics, pop music and more,” Campbell McAdoo adds.
Performances run from Dec. 2 to 4 at Hanna Center, 17000 Arnold Drive, Sonoma. For tickets and times, visit bestnightever.org or call the box office at 877-424-1414.
The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus
Is one “holiday spectacular” ever enough? Never! To keep the celebration going, thank the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, which brings its Holiday Spectacular to the Green Music Center on Dec. 17.
An annual tradition of Face2Face, the local nonprofit dedicated to ending HIV in Sonoma County, the concert will deliver holiday faves including “Jingle Bells” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” plus light-hearted originals like a holiday-themed Cher medley.
The San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday Spectacular commences at 5pm, Saturday, Dec. 17 at the Green Music Center, Sonoma State University, 1801 E Cotati Ave., Rohnert Park. Tickets are $25–$85.
Sonoma County Bluegrass & Folk Music Festival
Solstice Celebration With MaMuse
The Sebastopol Community Cultural Center celebrates the 20th anniversary of Sonoma County’s very own Bluegrass & Folk Music Festival on Saturday, Nov. 12, with a lineup of luminaries that includes Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Waddie Mitchell, California Bluegrass Reunion, Rita Hosking and Cowboy Scott Gerber.
The center follows up the following month with a Solstice Celebration with MaMuse on Saturday, Dec. 10, featuring the duo’s signature folk-soul-revival sound and complemented by appearances by Thrive Choir, with special guests The Feelings Parade.
Both shows are at Sebastopol Community Cultural Center, 390 Morris St. Visit Seb.org for times and tickets.
Then and Now: The Rock and Fine Art of Stanley Mouse
Speaking of Sebastopol Community Cultural Center, The Livery CoWork is hosting a benefit for the institution, leveraging some rock-n-roll history. Meet “The Man Who Drew the Face on Rock Music,” artist Stanley Mouse, perhaps best-known for his ’60s era album covers and concert posters.
The event kicks off at 6pm, Friday, Nov. 18 at The Livery CoWork, 6940 Burnett St., Sebastopol. More information at livery135.com/events.
Downtown Santa Rosa becomes a winter wonderland once again as “Sonoma County’s Destination for Season Long Holiday Fun” makes its annual return. There is a veritable cavalcade of activities sure to entertain kids of all ages (including those approaching middle age and beyond).
The Winter Lights Synthetic Ice Rink in Old Courthouse Square is one of the main attractions, offering locals a chance to partake in a traditional winter pastime without having to endure the kind of weather required to freeze a pond. Skating on the square is available from Nov. 25 to Dec. 31, and ice skate and helmet rentals are available.
Also on the docket is the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Nov. 25, accompanied by a skating show by Redwood Ice Theatre Company and Snoopy, the cartoon beagle.
There will also be a proliferation of weekly Holiday Markets through the Sundays of December (is that a Lifetime movie title or what?). Other winter highlights include kids skate clinics from Snoopy’s Home Ice and The Growlers, “Drag on Ice” with Redwood Ice Theatre Company & Sonoma County Pride, as well as a New Year’s Eve Skating Show.
For specific times, dates and tickets, visit downtownsantarosa.org/winterlights for links.
Santa’s Riverboat Arrival & Small Business Saturday
Of course, no holiday season is complete without Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus arriving by boat on a tidal estuary. Such is the premise that is Petaluma’s annual Santa’s Riverboat Arrival & Small Business Saturday, that finds St. Nick docking at the River Plaza Shopping Center on East Washington Street.
The Christmas couple will arrive around noon (tides willing) and will be welcomed by costumed dancers from the Petaluma School of Ballet’s Nutcracker (prior to their arrival, pianist Petaluma Pete and the Pacific Empire Chorus will supply a live holiday-themed soundtrack). After their arrival, the Clauses will then traverse the parking lot to their festive tent outside Taps Restaurant, where they will be available for family photos.
The festivities start at 11:30am and continue through 1:30pm, Saturday, Nov. 26 at River Plaza Shopping Center, 20 East Washington St., Petaluma. For more information, visit petalumadowntown.com/holidays-in-petaluma.
Petaluma Merchant Holiday Open House & Kentucky Street Marketplace
If you miss Santa Claus on the Petaluma River, don’t fret; he makes a return appearance with Mrs. Claus (surely, she has a first name—what is it?) on Dec. 3 as part of the Petaluma Merchant Holiday Open House & Kentucky Street Marketplace. Live holiday music will be complemented by face painting, as well as local merchants and vendors presenting their holiday wares.
More information can be found at petalumadowntown.com/holiday-open-house.
Warren Miller Film Tour
How could it be winter without another annual offering from international ski hero and filmmaker Warren Miller? A pioneer in action sports cinematography since 1949, Warren Miller Entertainment’s namesake and founder died five years ago, but his legacy continues with a 73rd ski and snowboard film, Daymaker. The films are celebrations of winter sports that cross generations, and watching them is vastly safer (and cheaper) than braving the slopes oneself.
‘Daymaker’ plays locally on Saturday Nov. 19 at Santa Rosa’s Summerfield Cinemas. For times and tickets, visit warrenmiller.com/events/summerfield-cinemas.