There are plenty of traditional holiday sounds available this month, but happily, Eugene music organizations are also providing worthwhile alternatives when the wassail grows stale.
The seasonal fare starts with the ever-popular University of Oregon holiday choral and gospel concerts Dec. 6-7 at Beall Concert Hall, featuring youthfully exuberant energy and traditional faves.
The biggest holiday extravaganza happens Dec. 7 at the Hult Center’s Silva Hall, when the Eugene Concert Choir, Oregon Mozart Players and Eugene Vocal Arts Ensemble team up with guests Mason “Classical Gas” Williams, Shedd regular Bill Hulings, Darline Jackson, South Eugene H.S. Concert Choir, Oregon Tuba Ensemble and a cappella singers Evynne and Peter Hollens, Rezonate and Synergy. Be prepared to carol along.
For sounds on a smaller scale, Chamber Music Amici’s Dec. 8 performance at Springfield’s Wildish Community Theater features some of the city’s top musicians in a Mozart Piano Quartet and Boccherini’s famous “fandango” guitar quintet, featuring the excellent Portland guitarist Scott Kritzer and those clacky castanets.
Explore nontraditional holiday music at The Shedd on Dec. 8, when Jóse Hernàndez and Sol De México celebrate Mexico’s Christmas with seasonal mariachi music from Veracruz, Yucatan and Jalisco, and on Dec. 11 and 14 with the Emerald City Jazz Kings Christmas show.
One of my favorite traditions, Oregon Mozart Players’ Candlelight Baroque concert on Dec. 19-20, features music by J.S. Bach (a Brandenburg concerto and an orchestral suite), his brilliant son Carl Philip Emanuel and Vivaldi.
Finally, let’s hope Eugene Opera’s New Year’s Eve celebration becomes a tradition — and not just here: It's such a treat to celebrate music instead of going out, getting hammered and endangering others on the road. Instead, make a special night of it by checking out Donizetti’s bubbly comedy, The Elixir of Love. There’s also a matinee performance Jan. 4, giving you time to recuperate from the hangover if you took the former alternative instead.
For addresses and contact information for the events and venues, please see our listings.