Choral music soars this Christmas in Petaluma

PETALUMA CHORAL“The human voice,” composer Richard Strauss once said, “is the most beautiful instrument of all, but it is the most difficult to play.” He could have added the words, “at Christmas time,” and few would have blinked an eye, because it’s true. At Christmas time, there’s nothng more beautiful than the human voice lifted in song. In ancient days, as the Solstice drew near and the nights grew longer, communities would gather together around fires and hearths to sing together, joining their voices to drive away their fear of the dark. That tradition has never faded. From Christmas carolers on the street to vast choirs singing Handel’s Messiah, there’s just something about human voices joined in unison that makes the holidays seem even more beautiful, warm, and magical.
Should you be looking for some of that vocal magic this winter season, we’ve compiled a list of local choral concerts and events designed to lift our spirits and send us into the night with a song in our hearts.

Tuesday, Dec. 5, 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 9, 3 p.m.

The Petaluma Chorale presents its joyous annual holiday concert, with choral favorites performed under the direction of Linda Evans Manuilow. Petaluma Valley Baptist Church, 580 Sonoma Mountain Parkway. Admission $12 (general), $10 (seniors and students), free for children 12 and under.
Tickets available at the door. Proceeds from this concert will go to help those affected by the fires.

December 10, 2 p.m.

Featuring a performance of Rachmaninoff’s transcendent “All Night Vigil” – which does NOT last all night, and has sometimes been mistranslated as “Vespers” – this stirring concert by the Cinnabar Singers also showcases a spicy surprise-pack of other holiday pieces. Those will possibly include French carols, some holiday tunes by Robin Eschner, instructions for putting together a bicycle, and a recipe for figgy pudding (all set to music, of course). The Cinnabar Singers are conducted by musical director Michael Shahani, with accompaniment by Chris Alexander. Elim Lutheran Church, 504 Baker St. $15 (general), $10 (youth). Purchase tickets through


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