Saxophones and singers – the perfect holiday combination for 2017

By Ande Jacobson

Music is in the air this holiday season. While there are numerous concerts and stage productions to choose from, there are two musical events fast approaching in the South Bay that are not to be missed.

First up is the 24th Annual San Jose Saxophone Christmas on the third Saturday in December (the 16th this year). In recent years, there have been around 200 musicians (215 in 2016) playing everything from soprillo saxes (the smallest commercially made saxophone in existence) to sarrusophones and bass saxes along with everything in between. Some years, there is even a tubax or a contrabass sax (the biggest of the saxophone family).

Saxophone Christmas founder Ray Bernd takes a little time during each concert to talk about the different saxophones being played and invites each section to raise their horns as he calls them out. He likes to point out that for this event, there are saxophones of all shapes and sizes played by players of all shapes and sizes. Watch out for the bari sax players, as they are really feisty.

The repertoire has grown over the years, so the group plays about 17 or so pieces. Of those 17, only about 3 will come from the previous year. The rest of the program will include several new charts and a few revisions of others from the existing repertoire. The players never know until the day of the concerts what the actual set list will be, and it’s as exciting for them as it is for the audiences that delight in hearing this bubbling ensemble of players who come from regions near and far each year.

As usual, there will be two concerts on Saturday, 16 December 2017:

  • 2 p.m. at Christmas in the Park in San Jose – across from the Tech Museum.
  • 5 p.m. at the Vallco Shopping Mall in the foyer underneath the movie theaters.

Want to see some samples, take a look at these:

 

For more information, see sjsaxmas.com.


The second not-to-be-missed music event is Warmest Christmas Traditions presented by Schola Cantorum on Sunday, 17 December 2017, at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts. The official choral concert begins at 3 p.m. on the mainstage, and a special pre-concert lobby musical event begins at 2:30 p.m. and returns at intermission.

Schola’s program includes their favorite holiday songs from several genres, many of which are familiar to listeners of all ages. They promise a festive ambiance, a few surprises, and even some audience participation.

Because there is no such thing as too much saxophone when it comes to holiday music, the lobby pre-concert and intermission entertainment is a sax quartet playing some jazz, classical, traditional carols, and even some charts that started on the screen, both large and small.

For more information or to order tickets for this special Schola Cantorum concert, see:

scholacantorum.org/warmest-christmas-traditions

What better way to usher in the season than with two very different musical experiences to celebrate?

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