There are plenty of cultural events happening all over Los Angeles during the holiday season. Here are just a few:
51st Annual L.A. Holiday Celebration: A free afternoon of performances by 23 music and dance groups from across L.A. County. Friday, Dec. 24, from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. (213) 972-3099 or www.HolidayCelebration.org
Los Angeles Children’s Chorus: The Los Angeles Children’s Chorus presents its annual Winter Concert with a program spotlighting the choral music of 20 composers from 10 nations spanning five centuries. The “musical tour” includes a Buddhist prayer sung in Japanese, Italian art songs, and a Czech piece based on a Moravian folksong, as well as works by J.S. Bach, Benjamin Britten, John Rutter, Omar Macha and Gustav Holst, and contemporary composers Ruth Watson Henderson, Nicholas Nicassio, Mark Sirett and Brian Holmes, and others. Sunday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. at Pasadena Presbyterian Church. LACC will also host a free community conversation with tenor Ben Heppner on Friday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m. at the Buckley School in Sherman Oaks. The world-renowned opera singer, currently featured in the title role of LA Opera’s production of “Lohengrin,” will discuss his career in general, as well as his singing techniques, his voice change during adolescence, and how he trained during that period of his life. (626) 793-4231 or www.lachildrenschorus.org
Deck the Halls: The LA Phil hosts several holiday concerts at Walt Disney Concert Hall this month, including Chanticleer, the Blind Boys of Alabama and a holiday sing-along. See all of the concerts at http://www.laphil.com/tickets/series-detail.cfm?season=2010&id=121.
Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles: The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles pulls out the stops with its annual holiday musical extravaganza, led by guest conductor Tim Seelig, in his GMCLA debut. Some 150 choristers, resplendent in holiday finery, do Santa proud with a bundle of beloved seasonal works and a dazzling Twelve Days of Christmas “Black-Light Puppet Spectacular.” Country music legend LeAnn Rimes (Dec. 19) and Broadway star Sheryl Lee Ralph (Dec. 18) also make special guest appearances. Saturday, Dec. 18, at 3 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 19, at 3 p.m., at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. (800) MEN-SING or www.gmcla.org
“Amahl and the Night Visitors”: Intimate Opera of Pasadena, the new opera company in residence at the historic Pasadena Playhouse, presents the classic holiday opera with a cast to include mezzo-soprano Suzanna Guzmán, who performed the role of Amahl’s mother under the direction of composer Gian Carlo Menotti, tenor Greg Fedderly, baritone Robin Buck and bass baritone Cedric Berry. Actor Malcolm McDowell will also join the cast as narrator of “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” by Dylan Thomas. Dec. 16 at 8 p.m. (Gala); Dec. 17 at 8 p.m; Dec. 18 at 2 and 8 p.m.; Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. at the Pasadena Playhouse. (626) 274-7342 or www.intimateopera.net
Los Angeles Master Chorale: The Los Angeles Master Chorale, considered one of the world’s leading choirs, showcases its superlative artistry with a rare performance of Mozart’s arrangement of Handel’s beloved “Messiah,” conducted by Music Director Grant Gershon. This marks the Disney Concert Hall debut of Mozart’s full-length symphonic reinterpretation of Handel’s Baroque masterpiece, a monumental choral and orchestral tour de force that presents the popular work in a whole new light. Mozart embellished it with French horns, flutes, clarinets and an expanded string section, creating a lush full sound. It also includes the iconic “Hallelujah Chorus” and captivating solos. Featured soloists, all of whom are Chorale members, include Deborah Mayhan, soprano; Tracy Van Fleet, mezzo-soprano; Jon Lee Keenan, tenor; and Steve Pence, bass. Sunday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. at Walt Disney Concert Hall. (213) 972-7282 or www.lamc.org
“The Nutcracker”: We haven’t seen the Long Beach Ballet’s “Nutcracker,” but it’s touted as Southern California’s only “Nutcracker” production with full symphony orchestra, so it would be our pick. Dec. 18 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. at Long Beach Terrace Theater; Dec. 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Pasadena Civic Auditorium. (877) 852-3177 or www.LongBeachNutcracker.com
Union Station Homeless Services: In the spirit of the season, let’s not forget those less fortunate. Union Station Homeless Services in Pasadena needs help hosting its Dinner-in-the-Park. There are various ways to help. People are invited to: donate toys, prepare food, drop off food, volunteer at the park, host a pledge-a-thon, or become a corporate partner. For more information, visit www.unionstationhs.org or call the Dinner-in-the-Park hotline at (626) 240-4550, ext. 542.