A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

"Festival of Carols" is available on CD and digital download. / Image courtesy of LAMC

A Los Angeles Master Chorale performance in Walt Disney Concert Hall is truly a religious experience. Throughout December, LAMC disciples can worship all season long as the choir presents five different holiday concerts and events. The Grammy-nominated LAMC, led by Artistic Director Grant Gershon, really does it up for the holidays — and with class.

Can’t make a concert? Buy a CD! Los Angeles Master Chorale’s “Festival of Carols,” a CD and digital download album recorded live at Disney Hall, features beautiful arrangements of classics and lesser-known fare. This is not the Holly station on Sirius — this elegant and uplifting music could stay in rotation on your iPhone or car disc player year-round. And it’s sure to please even the grumpiest Ebenezer on your Christmas list.

This month’s programming includes:


The Los Angeles Master Chorale fills Walt Disney Concert Hall with yuletide cheer offering two matinee performances of its popular “Festival of Carols,” on consecutive Saturdays, Dec. 5 and 12, at 2 p.m., at the iconic venue. New arrangements of cherished Christmas carols and traditional favorites, performed by 110 members of the Chorale and conducted by Artistic Director Grant Gershon, set a joyful tone. Holiday gems include Joy to the World!, Deck the Hall, Angels We Have Heard on High, O Holy Night, Silent Night, We Need a Little Christmas, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, White Christmas and more. The event also features Lisa Edwards on piano and John West on organ. Ticket holders can arrive early to enjoy a festive brass quintet playing holiday carols and stay afterwards for post-concert visits with Santa in BP Hall. Tickets range from $29 to $99; tickets for children ages 6 to 12 are $22 to $74.


Adding special musical flourish to the holiday season, the Los Angeles Master Chorale presents two performances of its critically acclaimed concert version of Handel’s Messiah on Sunday, Dec. 6, and Sunday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m. Featuring 48 members of the Grammy-nominated chorus, orchestra and four gifted soloists from the Chorale’s ranks, the concert provides the opportunity to hear this riveting oratorio — rich with soaring high notes, powerful bass, majestic brass and beautiful orchestrations — performed by what many critics consider to be the best chorus in the country. Composed in just 24 days, Messiah continues to be the composer’s most popular work and may well be the most performed classical work of all time.


Blazing brass, majestic pipe organ and soaring voices add sonorous sparkle to the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s “Rejoice! Brass Tidings,” which heralds the season with such classics as Willcocks’ Carols for Brass and Choir, Daniel Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata for chorus and double brass and John Rutter’s Gloria on Sunday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m., at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Conducted by Artistic Director Grant Gershon and featuring 62 Chorale members, the program also includes Shawn Kirchner’s Behold New Joy: Ancient Carols of Christmas, composed as a companion piece to Rutter’s jubilant opus, Nico Muhly’s Senex puerum, Paul Gibson’s Rejoice in the Lord Alway and two Christmas motets by Giovanni Gabrieli for double and triple choirs. Tickets range from $29 to $119.


The Los Angeles Master Chorale’s 35th Annual “Messiah Sing-Along,” a beloved and time-honored tradition, brings together family, friends and the community to perform Handel’s masterpiece on Wednesday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m., at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Artistic Director Grant Gershon conducts the do-it-yourself version in which the entire 2,200-member audience becomes the choir. Sopranos, altos, tenors and basses of all levels — even those with no singing experience — are welcome.  The performance features a professional chamber orchestra and a quartet of professional soloists, including soprano Beth Peregrine, mezzo soprano Laura Smith Roethe, tenor Bryan Lane and bass Scott Graff. Messiah scores are available for $10 at the door. Tickets range from $29 to $79.

CAROLING TOURS: Dec. 3, 5, 11 and 12

Ticketed Public Caroling Tours, Led by Chorale Singers, of Downtown Los Angeles, Saturdays, Dec. 5 and 12, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Ticketed Public Caroling Tours, Led by Chorale Singers, of West Hollywood/Fairfax District, Thursday, Dec. 3, and Friday, Dec. 11, from 8 to 10 p.m.

Los Angeles Master Chorale comes a’ caroling in quintessential LA fashion!  The renowned chorus launches the holiday season with a fun new take on the one-horse open sleigh when it rolls out the Los Angeles Master Chorale Carol Bus, an eye-catching double-decker red bus festooned from headlights to tailpipes in seasonal finery, for a range of free and ticketed festive caroling activities across the Southland.

The public is welcome to hop aboard the Carol Bus for ticketed caroling tours, led by singers from the Los Angeles Master Chorale, in Downtown Los Angeles on Saturdays, Dec. 5 and 12, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., and West Hollywood on Thursday, Dec. 3, and Friday, Dec. 11, from 8 to 10 p.m. Tickets for the Carol Bus singing tours ($55) are limited and may be purchased at lamc.org or by calling (213) 972-7282. Carolers must be 21 or older to ride the Carol Bus.

TICKETS/INFORMATION: (213) 972-7282 or
 Walt Disney Concert Hall is located at 
111 S. Grand Ave., LA 90012.