North Bay Christmas Concerts and Winter Festivals Make Music Online

As social distancing remains the order of the day in the North Bay, several planned holiday concerts and other musical celebrations are taking to the Internet for virtual programs that feature seasonal cheer and performances by local, national and international artists.

In San Anselmo, the community comes together this weekend to support the town’s beloved community space, The Playhouse in San Anselmo, with a virtual fundraising concert on Saturday, Dec. 12, at 7pm. “Friends of The Playhouse Sing for Support” features several talented performers, including Jenny Boynton, Jennifer Daine, Nelson Brown, Kelsey Magana, Tyler Anne Solum and more. These musicians and vocalists invite the public into their homes for this cabaret-style show, where they will perform excerpts from musicals such as “Legally Blonde,” “Chicago,” “Tangled on Broadway” and more. Proceeds from the live-streaming show will help the 50-year-old Playhouse survive the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that has kept the performing arts center empty since March. Join the live stream at Playhousesananselmo.org.

From its home in San Rafael, the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center has created the National JCC Adult & Senior Alliance to offer educational and entertaining classes, workshops, activities and cultural arts trips for the entire community. For this year’s Hanukkah celebration, the alliance offers the musically rich virtual event, “Songs of Light: A Multi-Genre Musical Celebration of Hanukkah,” on Sunday, Dec. 13, at 1pm. The afternoon offering marks the Jewish holiday with music that incorporates the theme of light. Opera expert and curator James Sokol, Director of the Kurland Center for Adult Living & Learning at the Osher Marin JCC, leads the online celebration, which delves into Broadway, pop music, opera and more. Register for the free musical celebration at Marinjcc.org.

Singer, songwriter and Marin County resident Michelle Schmitt’s annual holiday concert on the first Thursday of December is a staple of the season, and Schmitt shows her holiday spirit each year by donating proceeds from the annual concert and sales of her holiday albums to local charities and nonprofits. In lieu of this year’s benefit concert, Schmitt is sharing two playlists on Spotify and Apple Music and donating 5 dollars to nonprofit organization Little Wishes for every song downloaded or streamed from these playlists until December 25. Little Wishes grants the immediate and ongoing wishes of chronically and critically ill, hospitalized children. Find Michelle Schmitt’s playlists and help her raise funds for those in need at Michelleschmitt.com.

In Cotati, an annual summer tradition is making a new seasonal debut when the Cotati Accordion Winter Virtual Festival commences on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 19 and 20. The second virtual offering–coming after this summer’s successful online accordion affair–will once again feature a lineup of internationally-acclaimed virtuosos from eight different countries such as Cory Pesaturo, Jenny Conlee-Drizos, Matthias Matzke, Pietro Adragna and Erica Mancini. These global stars will be performing live throughout the weekend festival, which will also be streaming chats, interviews, The Lady-of-Spain-a-Ring, The Grand Finale, raffles and more. Get all the details at Cotatifest.com.

In Petaluma, the Phoenix Theater is decking its stage out once again for a virtual holiday concert boasting several North Bay rock bands. “A Very Phoenix Theater Christmas” streams for free on Dec. 24 and features holiday hits performed by Trebuchet, Royal Jelly Jive, Schlee, Matt Jaffe, John Courage, One Armed Joey, Gio Benedetti, Bad Thoughts, Down Dirty Shake, Ismay, The Happys and others. Tune in on Christmas Eve at Phoenixchristmas.com.

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Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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