THURSDAY DECEMBER 18



HANDEL'S MESSIAH

For the last two weeks, I've been monitored by the Messiah Gestapo, a shadowy special-ops team that makes sure Handel's Messiah is not only performed across the nation (in this case, by the Seattle Symphony and Seattle Symphony Chorale) but written up by indifferent writers like me. So yes, Messiah is fun, ennobling, majestic, etc. Also Fri Dec 19 at 8 pm, Sat Dec 20 at 1 and 8 pm, Sun Dec 21 at 2 pm. Benaroya Hall, Third Ave and Union St, 215-4747, 7:30 pm, $16-$65.

FRIDAY DECEMBER 19



CANDLELIGHT CHRISTMAS CONCERT

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) composed far too many works for this or any music writer to hear in one lifetime, but I'll guess that his Christmas Oratorio, written for solo quintet, choir, string orchestra, organ, and harp, is pretty good. Also on the program: Northwest native Morten Lauridsen's O magnum mysterium; John Rutter's delightful Angels' Choir for choir, harp, and orchestra; and the exuberant "Gloria" from Paul Basler's Missa Kenya. Green Lake Church of Seventh-Day Adventists, 6350 E Green Lake Way N, 522-1330, 7:30 pm, donation requested.

SEATTLE BAROQUE

This holiday concert features pieces by Biber, Handel, and Delande. A featured soloist is Kim Pineda, a recorder virtuoso whose faultless pitch and sensitive playing knocked me out at a Gallery Concerts gig several weeks ago. Also Sat Dec 20 at the Recital Hall at Benaroya at 8 pm. The family concert, hosted by KING-FM's Miss Marta, is Sun Dec 21 at the Recital Hall at Benaroya at 3 pm. University Christian Church, 4731 15th Ave NE, 322-3118, 8 pm, $10-$27.

GHIDRA/CLIMAX GOLDEN TWINS

Ghidra, the out-jazz skronk trio of Wally Shoup (alto sax), Bill Horist (guitar), and Mike Peterson (drums), celebrate the release of their new disc, Strawberry Skinflint. Electroacoustic duo/sometimes trio Climax Golden Twins make a rare appearance with their distinguished blend of field recordings, odd electronics, and just plain weird sounds. Lo_Fi, 429B Eastlake Ave E, 9 pm, $5.

COMBUSTION COLLECTIVE

The dilemma: how to combine brainy, jazz-driven improvisation over engaging, funky grooves without sounding like perpetually grinning smooth-jazz sellouts or a second-rate jam band that hawks handblown glass pipes on the side. The Combustion Collective vaults over this hurdle by coupling the vibe of Dennis Coffey's disco-funk classic "Scorpio" with the sinuous twists and turns of Miles Davis' music circa Big Fun. Suite G, 513 N 36th St, 632-5656, 10 pm, $5.

SATURDAY DECEMBER 20



ELLINGTON SACRED CONCERT

In the late 1960s, Duke Ellington (1899-1974) composed three "Sacred Concerts" to honor God through jazz. For this annual concert, the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra compiles music from all three Sacred Concerts and imports topnotch guest vocalists like Dee Daniels and Woody Woodhouse. I dug this gig last year--the formidable Dee Daniels sent shivers up my spine--so expect a swingin' (and crowded) affair. University Christian Church, 4731 15th Ave NE, 523-6159, 7:30 pm, $26.

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