The holidays are quickly approaching, and there are more than 200 events on our holidays calendar, including seasonal theater and dance performances, festive light displays, and pop-up markets where you can buy handmade gifts. But Seattle also has an abundance of seasonal concerts, and we've compiled them all below, ranging from The Music of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" to David Bazan’s Christmas Miracle to J.S. Bach's Christmas Magnificat.
1. Wintertide: A Concert Fantasy for the Holiday Season
Gather at Saint Mark’s for a multimedia blending of classical music and heavenly imagery of the winter season. Ola Gjeilo’s Sunrise Mass will be sung with orchestra accompaniment and visual media presented by Bus No. 8 video productions, and Seattle-based women’s choir Ancora will perform the world premiere of Wintertide by Seattle composer Donald Skirvin.
2. Holiday Pops
Broadway star Nicole Parker (best known for playing Elphaba in Wicked), acclaimed conductor Stuart Chafetz, and the University of Washington Chorale will headline a program of holiday favorites with the Seattle Symphony.
3. ¡Navidad! – A New World Christmas
Pacific MusicWorks blends the colonial Latin American musical traditions from Italian, Spanish, African, Portuguese, and native contributions for a performance of the Christmas Villancico, a rhythmic and rustic form of retelling the Christmas story using the sounds of guitar, harp, harpsichord, and other strings, with a quartet of voices. The December 9 performance will take place in Edmonds, and the December 11 performance will occur at Benaroya Hall.
4. Gloria & The Nutcracker
The Bremerton Symphony Orchestra presents Gloria & The Nutcracker, a holiday production featuring conductors Alan Futterman and Gary Dahl, with the Bremerton Symphony Chorale and Peninsula Dance Theater performing selections by Poulenc, Tchaikovsky, and other seasonal favorites. Maestro Futterman will appear before the show for a free pre-concert chat about music and theater.
5. A Very Choral Christmas with Northwest Chorale
Celebrate the holiday season with a free, family-oriented concert of holiday favorites performed by the Northwest Chorale.
6. TangleTown Trio's Holiday Cabaret
The TangleTown Trio of mezzo-soprano Sarah Mattox, Steinway pianist Judith Cohen, and violinist Jo Nardolillo together weave an evening of magical songs and storytelling with classical and traditional Americana genres, including touches of jazz, folk, and musical theater.
7. Seattle Girls Choir: A Gift of Song
All six Seattle Girls Choir levels, from ages 5 to 18, host their annual winter holiday concert, performing seasonal tunes for treble voices.
8. Magical Strings Celtic Yuletide
The Bouldings, a big, musical Northwest family, make up a Celtic string ensemble. This season, they will inspire some holiday craic with the help of the Tara Academy of Irish Dance, Dublin-born guitarist Colm MacCárthaigh, and other collaborators. After the Town Hall concert on December 10, there will be another performance in Issaquah on December 16.
9. Star of Wonder
Experience the varieties of choral beauty, from medieval chants to contemporary compositions, with Star of Wonder, a showcase of music from around the world and through the ages that evokes the winter spirit and glow of the holiday season.
10. A Festival of Lessons & Carols
Northwest Boychoir will join with Vocalpoint! Seattle to present the story of the Nativity through reading, choral arrangements, and audience-participation carols at churches around Seattle.
11. CSO Holiday Pops
The Cascade Symphony will perform classical holiday favorites like Overture to Die Fledermaus, Pizzicato Polka, and Kaiser Waltzes op. 437 by Johann Strauss, Seletsky/Marcus' Chanukah Medley, Anderson's Sleigh Ride, and pieces from Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. Plus a sing-along!
12. J.S. Bach's Christmas Magnificat
Originally written for Christmas Vespers in 1723, this rousing performance of the original version of J.S. Bach’s Magnificat in E flat major will illuminate vignettes of the Nativity story. Conductor Alexander Weimann will lead the Northwest Baroque Masterworks ensemble, including five soloists, a full baroque orchestra, three trumpeters, and a timpani in song.
13. Unto Us a Child is Born
Brass Band Northwest presents their annual Christmas concert of traditional favorites, with performances from featured soloist and soprano cornet player David Hall and the Seattle Temple Salvation Army band.
14. A Byzantine Christmas
As directed by Dr. Spyridon Antonopoulos of Cappella Romana and presented in collaboration with the Greek Institute of Cambridge, the Boston-based chorale ensemble Psaltikon will perform Byzantine chant pieces and traditional Greek carols known as kálanda for this holiday season production.
15. Handel's Messiah
Experience Handel's classic masterwork in the heart of the holiday season, performed by the renowned Tacoma Symphony with conductor Sarah Ioannides.
16. Handel's Messiah
You've heard the imitations and seen the "alternative" takes on Handel's classic; you may as well take in the towering work performed by our own renowned Symphony while you're at it, with conductor Stephen Layton.
17. A Candlelight Christmas
Musician Andre Feriante presents an evening of holiday magic and wonder, with performances of early Christmas classics, a retelling of the Christmas story, and a blend of traditional songs presented as trios, duos, and solos with vocals, piano, and Andre's variety of stringed instruments, including his classical harp guitar.
18. The Christmas Revels
The chorale group Puget Sound Revels are back with a holiday set steeped in traditional Welsh tones, with music, magic, and mythology from the ancient Celtic nation, and performances from singer Tony Curry and Deuair, a musical duo from Wales.
19. Community Messiah Sing-Along
Interact with Handel’s greatest masterpiece as a community event with guest conductors and soloists, featuring the audience as the chorus, with options to sing along with the performance, or just listen and enjoy. Admission is free and vocal scores will be available for purchase if you'd like to follow along.
20. Ensign Symphony & Chorus: A Joyeux Noel
Ensign Symphony & Chorus begin their new season with A Joyeux Noel, an evening of lush holiday traditions explored through song and orchestral arrangement, with guest conductor Maestro Fabio Pirola.
21. Live Music Academy Presents Christmas in Bellevue
The Live Music Academy presents their third annual Christmas in Bellevue Concert, with the Breath of Aire Choir, Yuri Litvinchuk and Cityhill Band accompanied by a full symphony orchestra. Special guest vocalists include Andre Hovnanyan, Armenia's Eurovision 2006 representative, and jazz-fusion musician Elena Maque.
22. Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Yes, I know, they're cheesy in the extreme and not even actually from Siberia, but Trans-Siberian Orchestra's jolly blend of electric-guitar shredding and Christmas music is like the flu: It comes around every year and it's extremely catchy. That being said, if I'm going to be afflicted with pinch-harmonic-inflected cheer, then I'm at least going to focus on the upside. Which is, TSO formed from the remains of the excellent and under-appreciated power-metal outfit Savatage, whose interpretation of Edvard Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King" probably sparked the whole classical-music-meets-metal fad. Now if only they still had Alex Skolnick from Testament in the band. JOSEPH SCHAFER
23. Sultry Sounds of the Season: A Benefit for Frankie's Friends
Celebrate the reason for the season with this fundraiser for animal care non-profit foundation Frankie's Friends, soundtracked by local "pheromone-jazz" vocalist Barbara Ireland, and Emmanuel del Casal and his Sophisticated Experience jazz ensemble.
24. The Cloud Room Holiday Sing-a-long
Led by local songstress and Cloud Room member Shenandoah Davis, the Cloud Room Holiday Sing-a-long promises tunes from the classic holiday songbook, and craft cocktails from the bar to keep you warm.
25. 2nd Annual Kristin Chambers Snow Globe
Now in its second year, the Snow Globe will bring a flurry of holiday spirit with a live soundtrack provided by Kristin Chambers' dulcet tones, and the Mack Grout Trio playing Vince Guaraldi's score from A Charlie Brown Christmas. Get into the rhythm of season's givings by bringing some non-perishable food items for Northwest Harvest.
26. Duke Ellington's Sacred Music
Now in its 28th year, this concert of celebration for Duke Ellington's musical legacy erupts forth with tomes of jazz classics in the vein of the three Sacred Music concerts that Ellington himself premiered in 1965, 1968, and 1973, which were the culmination of the last and most liturgical phase of his life’s work.
27. Mambo Cadillac Holiday Salsa Celebration
Dance away your pre-holiday angst with Cuban-influenced Latin jazzmeisters Mambo Cadillac. Learn how to salsa from 3:30-4:00 with a drop-in class, then show off your new moves during the party.
28. The Music of "A Charlie Brown Christmas"
Because the Royal Room does the music of Charlie Brown every year, I every year have to write this love poem to the core tune, "Christmastime Is Here (Instrumental)," of this masterpiece of American culture. It is, I think, one of the most beautiful pieces of jazz ever composed. Listening to it is like watching falling snow through a window. The room is warm, something is roasting in the oven, and outside, the flakes are falling faintly through the universe and upon the trees, the hedges, the water gutters, the telephone poles, and the rooftops of a thousand apartment buildings. This is where you want to be forever. This is Vince Guaraldi's "Christmastime Is Here (Instrumental)." It opens with a trembling bass, like someone coming out of the cold, stamping their feet, brushing the snow off their shoulders, hanging their winter coat, rubbing and blowing on numb fingers, and entering the living room where there is a window, watching the flakes falling faintly upon all the buildings and the living. CHARLES MUDEDE
29. Sara Gazarek: Home For The Holidays
Sara Gazarek’s a Seattle native. She graduated from Roosevelt High School and its sophisticated jazz programs. She lives in LA but comes up here not quite enough. She’s one of the most interesting jazz singers working; the only aggravating thing is that she may never become a superstar. She doesn’t force anything and she doesn’t grandstand. What she does comes off subtle, and you have to lean your ears in carefully to get to the bottom of it. The new album Dream in the Blue finds her as half of a duo, with pianist Josh Nelson. Listen to it several times after you buy it at the show. Come to think of it, buy her other records on top of that. ANDREW HAMLIN
30. Sundae + Mr. Goessl Holiday Extravaganza
Agile-voiced Sundae and swinging guitarist Mr. Goessl make the musical equivalent of shiny-wrapper candy scattered on a coffee table: light, sweet, glittery, and dangerously inviting to sample before dinner. Join them for a presentation of holiday classics.
31. Band It LIVE
Hale's will host the big Band It holiday show with a variety of genre and artist tribute performances. Four bands throughout the night will play selections originally by Talking Heads, Bon Jovi, and KISS, with several mini bands taking on yacht rock standards for a breezy '70s vibe.
32. Hail Santa 7: Macabre, Witchaven, Xoth, Inquinok, MRSA, Weaponlord
Christmas gets creepy with Highline's annual nightmarish holiday lineup of Hail Santa 7, with true crime math-rock metalheads Macabre headlining, joined by Witchaven, Xoth, Inquinok, MRSA, and Weaponlord.
33. A Whateverly Christmas/Hanukkah/Solstice/Kwanza/12th Night/New Years
Power-folk group The Whateverly Brothers will take on songs from every part of this holiday season, regardless of what you celebrate.
34. Holiday Hooray! Let Your Music Shine with Lisa & Linda
Designed for children 5 years old and younger, this holiday concert features moments to sing along with your frosty favorites, with heartwarming music for the family performed by Lisa and Linda.
35. Silver & Soul
The 250-member Seattle Men's Chorus will celebrate this season with their annual holiday concert, an evening of beloved carols, gospel harmonies, and musical classics to keep you warm this winter. Plus, a David Bowie tribute, a "clever karaoke sing-along," and a disco Santa finale are all promised.
36. A Very Sing (and Dance!)-A-Long Xmas
Get into the holiday spirit and sing along to your favorite seasonal classics with Lavender Lucy, and '80s and '90s Christmas covers from Blitzen in Rendezvous' winter wonderland of lights.
37. Chris Tomlin: Adore Christmas Tour with Matt Redman
Christian worship artist Chris Tomlin hits the road with Matt Redman on his Adore Christmas tour for an evening of contemporary Christian music and celebrating the reason for the season, "the birth of our Lord and Savior."
38. The Round #139: Special Holiday Edition
The 139th edition of The Round features a special holiday layout, with live performances by musicians Lana McMullen, The Native Sibling, Tyler Edwards, Drew Martin, Katie Costello (formerly of Pretty Broken Things) and additional guests, who will share the stage with spoken word poet Chelsey Richardson. They'll also have live painter Jess Smith visually soundtracking the whole set, and live sewing by Lucy Kruesel who will be making a solidarity blanket for Standing Rock. Feel free to break out your best ugly holiday sweater and anything else festive.
39. Bait Shop's Fourth Annual Birthday Bop with Dancer and Prancer
Slide your sled down to Bait Shop for their holiday-themed three year anniversary blowout with all the happy hour tacos, frozen gingerbread drink specials, free cake, and seasonal cheer from Christmas surf rock band Dancer and Prancer that you could want.
40. Courtney Act: Dashing Through The Divas
RuPaul's Drag Race and Australian Idol favorite Courtney Act is back in town to perform a revue of songs from the holiday albums of such greats as Barbara Steisand, Mariah Carey, Rosemary Clooney, Peggy Lee, Bette Midler, and a bevy of other queens.
41. Do206 Holiday Soiree with Pickwick, SISTERS, Calm Candy
Celebrate fake snow, tinsel, and teeth-cracking candies at the Do206 Holiday Soiree with main stage sets from tender-hearted, soulful-toned indie rockers Pickwick, SISTERs, and Calm Candy, and in the back bar, a dance party featuring Motown on Monday DJs DJ 100 Proof and Blueyedsoul.
42. An Appalachian Christmas
Mark O'Connor and his family band pay a loving Christmas tribute to Americana in its diverse forms, with a mixture of traditional American folk music and holiday carols.
43. Tacocat, Boyfriends, Connie & The Precious Moments, Dancer & Prancer
In the case of Tacocat, the familiarity of melodic pop songs cut with some element of punk something has been a massively useful framework for containing the humor, creativity, and expressive zeal that explodes out of the band's every gesture like thermal energy out of sparklers. If their 2014 album NVM found their songs catching up with their band-ness, the new record, Lost Time, shows them taking the essential next step of allowing their grasp of the punky pop song form to get a little looser, weirder, more eccentric. SEAN NELSON
44. Annual Gundersen Family Holiday Show
The Gundersen clan, namely Lizzy, Noah, Abby, and Jonny Gundersen, gather together every Christmas for an evening of cheery folk and holiday classics.
45. Substation Holiday Party: Jay DLay, The Black Clouds, Dearheart
Get into the holiday spirit with the Substation crew and live sets from Americana rocker and singer-songwriter Jay DLay & The Haze, The Black Clouds, and Dearheart.
46. We Three Kings Christmas with The West Coast Kings and Rae Gordon
The annual We Three Kings holiday show features the music of the West Coast Kings, a live touring band that hosts guitar players from all three West coast states: CD Woodbury from Seattle, Garry Meziere from Salem, and Tommy Marsh from Los Angeles. They'll perform with support from vocal powerhouse Rae Gordon and the Holy Horns brass section.
47. Maldoggies Family Christmas
Northwest indie rock and folk-pop stalwarts The Maldives and The Moondoggies join forces for a family band Christmas series for two nights at the Tractor.
48. The Coats Annual Holiday Concert
Seattle vocal band The Coats return for their annual holiday concert, a night of seamless a cappella arrangements of holiday classics and more contemporary favorites.
49. Caspar Babypants
Seattle's original "kindie rocker" Chris Ballew of the Presidents of the United States of America performs holiday music as Caspar Babypants, his children's music project.
50. A Classic Christmas with The Classic Crime
For nine years now, The Classic Crime has hosted a Christmas party with live music. This year they'll play a headlining set of their own work as an exclusive live listening party for their latest album, with support from acoustic musicians Zach Bolen and Jamison from Ghost Ship.
51. JINGLE BOMB 15
Now in its fifteenth year, Jingle Bomb explodes at Studio Seven, promising a night of widely acclaimed DJ talent, and as always, snow machines. Enjoy high-energy dance music sets from T-Mass, Far Too Loud, Reid Speed, Beauflexx, Thiq James, Wheelz, and more.
52. Bluegrass Christmas
Celebrate Christmas the down-home way with a night of bluegrass from Jim Faddis, Cort Armstrong, Rick Meade and John Pyles in an acoustic quartet. They'll be showcasing their smooth country harmonies as FarmStrong, with opening sets from Todd and the Toots, The Mighty Dreadful Stringband, and Bluesy Santa.
53. David Bazan’s Christmas Miracle with Advance Base
David Bazan’s downfall is also his greatest virtue: a deeply misanthropic consistency that makes you groan with impatience as much as you nod your head in agreement. His latest album, Blanco, incorporates a mirrored synth effect that is a new aesthetic for his solo work, but somehow easily folds itself into this weathered canvas, as its referential palette of Pac-Man bleep-bloops serves to give an almost earnestly youthful and truly rather tender feel to what otherwise would be deeply depressing bowling-alley poetry. This noted production change from his work of 2011 to now (while still maintaining his staunchly linear emotional context) is really just a manifestation of relief: that of all the David Bazans in the world, he continues to be the David Bazaniest. KIM SELLING
54. Anuhea, Justin Kawika Young, Jessica Domingo, Two Story Zori
Join island girl Anuhea for two nights of Vitamin D-infused reggae on her All Is Bright Holiday Tour with Justin Young.
55. Manatee Commune On Ice!
This festive art and music extravaganza promises an experience not unlike "dancing inside of a snow globe with 1,000 of your closest friends." Draws include performances by Manatee Commune and Yppah, projection mapping, and art installations.
56. Massy Ferguson Christmas in Ballard with The Swearengens and Jackrabbit
Americana-rich bar band Massy Ferguson celebrates the season with The Swearengens and Jackrabbit in tow.
57. 13th Annual Blue Moon Christmas Pageant
Celebrate Christmas with a ragtag bunch of local folk-rockers at Blue Moon's annual pageant, with live sets from The Yule Loggers, Butt Dial, Best Band From Earth, The Donner Vixens, and many more to sling holiday cheer your way. Even better, proceeds from the door go to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
58. A Very Squirrelly Christmas
Join old-timey blues-folk duo Squirrel Butter and friends on Christmas Eve for a potluck and cozy live performance.
59. The Brian Setzer Orchestra’s 13th Annual Christmas Rocks! Tour with Beat Roots Revival
Iconic guitarist and Grammy-winner Brian Setzer hits the stage with his 19-piece orchestra as they whip up a frenzy of retro holiday cheer on their Christmas Rocks! Tour, which features music from their latest Christmas album, Rockin’ Rudolph, their three other holiday albums, and original Brian Setzer hits.
60. Straight No Chaser
Renowned all-male a cappella ensemble Straight No Chaser celebrate their 20th anniversary as a group with a night of holiday classics and contemporary favorites.
61. The Bobs After Christmas Show!
A cappella quartet The Bobs perform vocal renditions of everybody from Bach to Hendrix. They'll take on a holiday oeuvre for a post-Christmas show at the Triple Door.
= Recommended by a Stranger critic