Holiday concerts for many tastes, from El Vez to Ten Tenors


With or without 12 drummers drumming and 11 pipers piping, San Diego music fans won’t lack for concert choices in the coming weeks. Here’s a chronological list of 10 of our top picks from the many enticing options.

Ten Tenors: “Home for the Holidays”

The hard-working Australian vocal group returns for its second San Diego County concert in barely eight months. Judging by previous “Home for the Holidays” tours, their Christmas repertoire will be seasoned with a medley of hits by The Four Seasons and — joy to the world! — a Meat Loaf chestnut. 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30. California Center for the Arts Escondido, 340 North Escondido Blvd., Escondido. $35-$70. (800) 988-4253.

Old 97’s Holiday Extravaganza, with Caseymagic and Rhett Miller

For those who like their Christmas music to have some alt-country twang and rock ’n’ roll bite, this veteran Texas band should deliver the goods. Old 97’s co-founder Rhett Miller will open the show with a solo set. 8 p.m. Dec. 2. Belly Up, 143 South Cedros Ave., Solana Beach. $25 (general admission), $44 (reserved); must be 21 or older. (858) 481-8140.

“Carols by Candlelight,” with Hunter Hayes, Jamie O’Neal, Anna Vaus and Steve Vaus

Now in its 29th year, this annual fundraising concert for Rady Children’s Hospital was co-founded by Grammy Award-winning Poway Mayor Steve Vaus. This year’s lineup — which features Hunter Hayes and Jamie O’Neal — also includes Vaus and his daughter, Anna. 8 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8. California Center for the Arts Escondido, 340 North Escondido Blvd., Escondido. $19-$87. (800) 988-4253.

San Diego Opera presents “All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914”

A co-production with Bodhi Tree Concerts and the San Diego chamber choir Sacra/Profana, this a cappella chamber opera pays tribute to a real-life event in World War I. Specifically, the Dec. 24 and 25 truce of 1914, when Allied and German soldiers put down their weapons to celebrate the holiday together in a no-man’s land, only to resume four more years of battle the following day. 7 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8, 2 p.m. Dec. 9. Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., Balboa Theatre, Gaslamp Quarter. $33-$108. (619) 570-1100.

San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus presents “Jingle!”

Expect more than ample holiday cheer when the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus performs its annual holiday extravaganza. Both concerts will feature 200-plus singers, dancers and instrumentalists, along with a segment by the chorus’ children’s choir. 8 p.m. Dec. 15 and 3 p.m. Dec. 16. Balboa Theatre, 868 Fourth Ave., Balboa Theatre, Gaslamp Quarter. $20-$48. (619) 570-1100.

91X presents “Wrex the Halls 2018,” with Death Cab For Cutie, Third Eye Blind, Billie Eilish, Lord Huron, The Interrupters and Barns Courtney

It’s unclear how many holiday songs will be performed at this annual alternative-rock bash, but it may be worth attending just to hear Billie EIlish alone. The Los Angeles singer-songwriter — who turns 17 on Dec. 18 — is gifted well beyond her years and her Nov. 17 show at nearby Soma sold out in a near-instant. 5:30 p.m. Dec 14. Valley View Casino Center, Sports Arena Blvd., Midway District. $50-$95. (619) 224-4171.

San Diego Symphony presents “Noel, Noel”

The beauty of the human voice will be showcased at four concerts teaming the San Diego symphony and conductor Sameer Patel with rising Broadway star Bryonha Marie Parham, the San Diego Master Chorale, the San Diego Children’s Choir and — during the audience-sing-along segments — by you. 8 p.m. Dec. 15 and 21; 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Dec. 22. Jacobs Music Center’s Copley Symphony Hall, 700 B St., downtown. $28-$80. (619) 235-0804.

Camarada presents “Let It Snow!” featuring Holly Hofmann, Mike Wofford, Lillian Palmer and Beth Ross Buckley

Long known for its chamber-music concerts, Camarada will take a jazzy turn with this concert featuring nationally acclaimed San Diego artists Mike Wofford on piano and Holy Hofmann on flute. They’ll be joined by Camarada co-founder Beth Ross Buckley on flute and the ace rhythm section of Jim Plank, Gunnar Biggs and Duncan Moore. 6:30 p.m. Dec. 17. Bread & Salt, 1955 Julian Ave., San Diego. $15-$50. (619) 231-3702.

El Vez’s “Merry Mex-Mas,” with The Exbats and Pony Death Ride

San Diego-born punk-rock musician Robert Lopez morphed into El Vez, the self-proclaimed “Mexican Elvis,” in 1994. His annual “Merry Mex-Mas” shows at the Casbah typically feature such sly gems as “Poncho Claus,” “Brown Christmas” and “Mamacita, Donde Esta Santa Claus?” 8:30 p.m. Dec. 23. Casbah, 2501 Kettner Blvd., Middletown. $25; must be 21 or older to attend. (619) 232-4355.

Peter Sprague’s 40th annual Christmas Eve Concert

Leading San Diego jazz guitarist Peter Sprague has been presenting his free outdoor Christmas Eve concerts in Del Mar since 1978, including last year’s Beatles-themed program. He’ll be joined this time by such top are singers as Leonard Patton, Allison Adams Tucker, Rebecca Jade and Nina Francis, and such ace instrumentalists as Tripp Sprague, Duncan Moore, Gunnar Biggs and Fred Benedetti. 1 p.m. Dec. 24. Del Mar Amphitheatre, L’Auberge Del Mar, 1540 Camino Del Mar. Free.

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