If last weekend’s holiday concerts and performances weren’t enough to get you in the holiday mood, there’s another round coming up to make you feel merry. My arts picks offer a multitude of joyful notes, plus that annual favorite, “The Nutcracker.”
The event: One of the Fresno Community Chorus’ smaller groups, Coro Piccolo, a 55-voice auditioned ensemble, presents two concerts in a beautiful setting: St. Anne’s Chapel on the campus of San Joaquin Memorial High School.
The draw: St. Anne’s is truly one of Fresno’s architectural and acoustic gems. It reminds Anna Hamre, the chorale’s artistic director and conductor, of a quote from Winston Churchill: “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” She’s struck by the space’s classical beauty, symmetry of structure and loftiness of purpose. “Singers have an acoustical ideal, and this hall is what we would consider the pinnacle,” she says. “This is a place that inspires a unique sound, a space that deserves our best vocal product.”
The program: The centerpiece is the Saint-Saëns Oratorio de Noël, which Hamre calls “some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard.” It tells the Christmas story beginning with: “And shepherds were in the same region ... watching their flocks by night.” Also on the lineup: the Pietro Yon solo “Gesu Bambino,” “This Little Babe” from Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols,” the Biebl “Ave Maria” for male voices, and the medieval chant “Of the Father’s love begotten.”
The format: Because of the small size of the chapel, only 128 audience members can be accommodated. Two hour-long concerts will be performed. I’m not saying this will be as hard a ticket to get as “Hamilton,” but demand will be high.
Details: 2:30 and 4 p.m. Sunday, St. Anne’s Chapel, San Joaquin Memorial High School, 1406 N. Fresno St. www.fresnocommunitychorus.org, 559-709-6245. $12.
The event: The Lively Arts Foundation presents its annual holiday ballet. It features more than 100 cast members from three dance schools making up the Central California Ballet.
The draw: Professional guest artists are Alexsandra Meijer and Ryan DeAlexandro, both dancers from the recently shuttered Silicon Valley Ballet. On the local front, look for David Bonetto, director of “New Wrinkles,” as a new Herr Drosselmeyer. Ashelea Okayasu and Rylie Brunson share the role of Marie (this production’s version of Clara), and Jack Hammerstrom and Liam McCullar share the role of Fritz.
Details: 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Saroyan Theatre, 700 M St. www.livelyarts.org, 877-608-5883, $30-$62. Sugar Plum Party (after the Dec. 11 matinee): $12 per child.
Soli Deo Gloria
The event: Soli Deo Gloria, Fresno’s premier women’s chorale, now in its ninth season, presents its annual Christmas concert.
The draw: A highlight of this year’s program is Mathias’ “Salvator Mundi” with a small chamber orchestra. Other pieces include such familiar carols as “I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing” and the premiere of a piece titled “The Rose” by Fresno composer Jordan DeLaSierra. Julie Carter conducts.
Details: 7:30 p.m. Friday, University Presbyterian Church, 1776 E. Roberts Ave. www.sdgchoir.com. $15 advance, $20 at door. Carter will offer a pre-concert lecture at 7 p.m.
The event: Earl Meyers offers his annual free Christmas concert.
The draw: Meyers has shared his operatic talents with Fresno for more than two decades. He enlists fellow musicians as guest artists in this community musical celebration.
Details: 4 p.m. Saturday, Fresno Westside Seventh-day Adventist Church, 2750 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. www.earlmeyersconcerts.com. Free.
The event: The Tulare County Symphony celebrates the season with a program of family favorites.
The draw: Local guest artists include Brandon Pasion, who will sing “Cradle in Bethlehem” and “Jingle Bells,” and The El Diamante High School choir, which will sing “O Holy Night” and “Star Carol.” An annual treat is always a young singer with Tulare Encore Kids belting out “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” this year sung by Bella Tanck.
Details: 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Visalia Fox Theatre, 308 W. Main St., Visalia. www.tularecountysymphony.com, 559-732-8600. $30-$39.50 adults, $10 students.