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Friday, December 5, 2014

The San Francisco Symphony Nails the Holiday Season

Posted By on Fri, Dec 5, 2014 at 10:13 AM


The holidays can be hard. When you throw legal injustice and riots on top of it, they can be, well, really hard. But it’s the holiday season. We’re supposed to be feeling good! And feeling good (at least for a little while) might still be an option, thanks to the San Francisco Symphony, which is kind of nailing it, holiday-wise. With this upcoming series of concerts, the Symphony makes patrons feel all safe and cozy in that way that only the holidays can do. It might sound cheesy, but if audiences need a little cheese this year, it’s safe to say that they’ve earned it — even if it’s just for an hour or two.

What better way to add a little optimism than with Colors Of Christmas, essentially a collection of some of the best voices out there singing classic Christmas songs? Featured artists include R&B singer Peabo Bryson, American Idol winner Ruben Studdard, pop singer Taylor Dayne, and original Dreamgirl Jennifer Holliday, aka the woman who you fell in love with after “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” (Dec. 15-17)

Similarly traditional is Deck the Hall: Holiday Favorites with the San Francisco Symphony. Decidedly geared toward an all-ages crowd, the event focuses on sweet, familiar holiday tunes, seasonal snacks, family-friendly arts and crafts, and an abundance of glittering decorations — basically a dream come true for any starry-eyed and sugar-filled child. Joining the San Francisco Symphony are performers from longtime local revue Beach Blanket Babylon, dancers from San Francisco Ballet School’s trainee program, and a group of young men from the SF Boys' Chorus. If that weren’t darling enough, a portion of the Deck the Hall’s proceeds go toward the Symphony’s music education and community programs for Bay Area students. (Dec. 7)

Equally lively and suited for children is A Merri-achi Christmas (see what they did there?), an observance of Mexican Christmas traditions. The Symphony sits this one out, and in their place audiences will see Mariachi Sol De Mexico De Jose Hernandez and the beautiful all-female troupe Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles. (Dec. 14)

click to enlarge mariachi.jpg
Between these performances, the Symphony presents an evening for a more mature crowd. That is, a crowd who still finds VistaVision extraordinary, and who agree that Christmas without Bing Crosby isn’t really Christmas. In Excerpts of White Christmas, the San Francisco Symphony is replaced by Michael Feinstein, Debby Boone, and their big band to bring back songs from the original soundtrack alongside festive Crosby songs. (Dec. 7)

And those of us who grew up thinking ultimate Christmas movies to be A Charlie Brown Christmas and Home Alone will be pleased to hear their scores rearranged and performed by the Symphony. (Dec. 19-25 and Dec. 12-13, respectively.)

In a perplexing twist, the season is rounded out in a New Year's Eve performance by “vocalist” and confirmed sexist douchebag Seth MacFarlane. (MacFarlane is joined by soprano Measha Brueggergosman, an actual artist.) You can’t win them all.

San Francisco Symphony presents its 2014 Holiday Concert Series through December 31st at the Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., S.F. Tickets are $15-$195; call 864-6000, or visit

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Laura Jaye Cramer

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