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On view at Saint Mary’s College Museum of Art through Dec. 8 “Kal Spelletich: Significance Machines and Purposeful Robots” explores boundaries between humans and machines, integrating spirituality and mysticism through an unlikely form - robots. “New Formalism in Painting and Photography” presents the collaborative work of artists R&D (Diane Rosenblum and Joe Doyle) expanding the boundaries of painting and photography through digital manipulations. SMCMoA admission and programs are free for everyone. For information on programming and hours, visit www.stmarys-ca.edu/museum.

“Teachers Have Class,” Art Gallery at the Orinda Library, 26 Orinda Way. The Lamorinda Arts Council is honored to feature the work of current and retired teachers who are also artists during the month of November. Go to www.lamorindaarts.org for more information.
The Lamorinda Arts Council invites writers and artists to participate in their Art Embraces Words program from 2 to 4 p.m. on Dec. 8 at the Lafayette Library. Emerging writers read excerpts from their work surrounded by visual artwork from local artists. In this way art literally “embraces” the spoken word. A reception with light refreshments follows the readings. Go to https://lamorindaarts.org/art-embraces-words/, email literary@lamorindaarts.org or call (925) 359-9940 for more information.

Valley Art Gallery presents its 54th Annual Holiday Collection for Artful Giving through Dec. 28. Their holiday collection includes a wide variety of jewelry, ceramics, glass, textiles, holiday decorations, small paintings, and many other one-of-a-kind gifts crafted by greater Bay Area artists. In addition, unique sliding walls feature over 300 works in a variety of styles, media and prices by the best Bay Area artists. 1661 Botelho Drive, Suite 110, Walnut Creek. Website and telephone: www.valleyartgallery.org; (925) 935-4311


Pacific Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Conductor Lawrence Kohl, presents a concert production of “The Glorious - Handel Messiah” with soprano Marnie Breckenridge, and mezzo-soprano Silvie Jensen, tenor Ricky Garcia, and baritone Ben Brady and the Pacific Chamber Orchestra Chorus, Ofer dal Lal Chorus Master. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 30 at the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church 24 Knox, Lafayette and at 3 p.m. on Dec. 1 at Bankhead Theatre, 2400 First Street in Livermore. Tickets may be purchased online at www.pacificchamber

Diablo Women’s Chorale Fall concert, “Winter’s Light,” at 4 p.m. on Dec. 8 at Temple Isaiah, 945 Risa Road, in Lafayette. Backed by live musicians, the chorale will present a program of jazzy, uplifting music to kick off the beginning of the holiday season. Grab your friends and family members and join us as we lighten a winter afternoon with songs from Lisa Loeb, George Michael, Irving Berlin, Phil Spector, and many others. Purchase advance tickets online at www.DiabloWomensChorale.org or call 1-800-838-3006.

The Contra Costa Chorale, will present a concert featuring two masters of American music, Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland, at 5 p.m. on Dec. 8 at Mt. Diablo Unitarian Universalist Church, 55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek. $20 General, $15 Students/Seniors/Disabled. Children under 12 free. For further information visit our website at www.ccchorale.org, email cocochorale@gmail.com, or call (510) 255-5850.

Solo Opera presents a collaboration with Macy’s Concord, a fundraiser for their season, entitled The Twelve Days of Christmas at 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 14. The event will include breakfast treats, a concert of opera and holiday music featuring soprano Diane Squires, a fashion show, a sing-along, and 12 enter to win prizes. All proceeds benefit Solo Opera, a local nonprofit opera company and their 2020 season. Tickets - $22 at Eventbrite.

WomenSing presents The Light of Hope Returning at 8 p.m. on Dec. 11 at Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church 1601 Mary Dr., Pleasant Hill and at 4 p.m. on Dec. 15 at Temple Sinai 2808 Summit Street, Oakland. $10-$28. Tickets: https://lightofhopepleasanthill.brownpapertickets.com; https://lightofhopeoakland.

The singing and ringing choirs of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church present their annual Christmas concert at 4 p.m. on Dec. 15. “Faith, Fun, and a Feast” includes a little religious Christmas music, a lot of popular Christmas music, and ends with “A Feast of Carols,” composed by Randol Alan Bass for the Dallas Symphony and Symphony Chorus. 1035 Carol Lane in Lafayette; free admission/freewill offering taken, with half the proceeds going to Contra Costa Interfaith Housing, helping the homeless find permanent homes.


Orinda Intermediate School Bulldog Theater stages Disney’s “Frozen JR.,” Dec. 5 - 7 at Orinda Intermediate School, 80 Ivy Drive. This spectacular musical is a heartwarming stage adaptation of the top-grossing animated film of all time. Tickets are $3-$10. Visit www.showtix4u.com for show times and tickets. Tickets are also available at the door.

Town Hall Theatre Company presents “Cinderella: A Fairytale” Dec. 7-21 at 3535 School Street, Lafayette. There will be previews at 8 p.m. on Dec. 5 and 6. For times, tickets, and prices: BOX OFFICE: (925) 283-1557; www.townhalltheatre.com

Celebrate the holiday season with The Peter Pan Foundation’s original holiday show, “Twas the Opening Night before Christmas” Dec. 14 and 15 at Diablo Valley College, 321 Golf Club Rd. Pleasant Hill. This seasons production includes a cast of more than 100 performers ages eight to adult. Its original story and music tells the heartwarming story of love, hope and holiday cheer the whole family will enjoy. Tickets are $25 for adults; $15 for youth 18 and under. For tickets and showtimes visit www.brownpapertickets.com


Orinda Books presents Alex Counts at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 5. Alex Counts will introduce his new book, “Changing the World without Losing Your Mind: Leadership Lessons from Three Decades of Social Entrepreneurship.” Drawing on his decades of experience as an acclaimed nonprofit leader, he offers practical advice on such vital activities as fundraising, team-building, communications, and management.


Orinda Junior Women’s Club announces Youth Ink 2020, an annual Orinda middle-school writing contest to support literary arts in the community. Prizes include a $250 first prize award. Entry details will be on the Youth Ink 2020 submission forms available online by Dec. 2 at www.orindajuniors.org.

Breakfast with Santa Benefit for Lafayette Historical Society from 8:30 to 10 a.m. at Sideboard Lafayette. Advanced reservations are required and cost $29 for adults and $20 for seniors and kids age 12 and younger. To book your tickets and for more info, go to: www.localfoodadventures.com

Join Mindful Littles at White Pony Express for their Family Volunteering Program from 1 to 2:15 p.m. on Dec. 15 and from 4 to 5:15 p.m. on Dec. 17 at 3380 Vincent Rd #107 Pleasant Hill. White Pony Express is one of Mindful Littles’ nonprofit partners, “working to eliminate hunger and poverty by delivering the abundance all around us to those in need.” Bring water and any snacks needed for your kids. Please also wear comfortable clothes. Programming is for families with kids 4-12. Register at: https://mindfullittles.org/


“It’s a Wonderful Life in Lafayette” scheduled from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 6 in Lafayette’s Plaza Park, located in downtown Lafayette. Tree lighting, live music, community sing-a-long, crafts - and, of course, Santa. Complimentary admission. For more details and the entertainment schedule, please visit www.lafayettechamber.org/
Moraga Country Club will hold its 3rd Annual Turkey Trot at 8:15 a.m. (7 a.m. registration) on Nov. 28. This event is a fundraiser opportunity where all proceeds benefit the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano County. The event is open to runners and walkers of all abilities and age levels. 1.5K is $20 and the 5K is $30 (plus a $3.45 sign-up fee). For more information and donation opportunities please visit the race website at www.runsignup.com/
For the 22nd year, Bobbie and Tom Preston will be holding the Cycle Recycle, collecting repairable bikes to be refurbished and given to charitable groups to distribute at Christmas; new and/or used bikes and trikes-in working order or repairable, or useable bike parts may be delivered to the side driveway of the Preston’s home at 1307 Larch Avenue in Moraga, throughout the month of November only. No skateboards or plastic bikes please; no need to call beforehand, but for more information contact Bobbie or Tom Preston at (925) 376-8474.

Saint Mary’s College Guild Christmas Luncheon from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 4 at the Soda Center, Saint Mary’s College. Featuring the renowned Saint Mary’s College chorale, Infamous Money Tree and several raffle baskets. Lunch will have Molded Crab salad or Chicken salad. Price is $45. Reservations and Meal Choice to Karen Cain 1835 Joseph Drive, Moraga, CA 94556. For information call: Pat Mc Enaney at (925) 376-3306.

Microhair Aesthetics Grand Opening from 5 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 5 at 3420 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Ste. B., Lafayette. Visitors are invited to a ribbon-cutting and champagne party and to learn more about the art of Microblading, a cutting edge method of simulated hair strokes to enhance the eyebrows. Raffle drawings included. RSVP at www.microhairaesthetics.

Come Celebrate the Holidays - Lamorinda Wine Growers Association presents an evening of Local Wines, Food, Dancing and more from 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Dec 5 at the Serbian Cultural Center 1700 School Street, Moraga. Commemorative AVA gift, raffle prizes, and dancing to the Sounds of DIAMOND DAVE. Cost: $60. www.lamorindawine

Santa’s Bag Boutique at the Lafayette Community Center from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8.

Hacienda Holiday Faire at the beautiful, historic Hacienda de Las Flores located at 2100 Donald Drive in Moraga from noon to 8 p.m. on Friday Dec. 6 and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday. Dec. 7 and Sunday, Dec 8. Enjoy the festive atmosphere and find handcrafted, specialty items from over 45 local artisans.

Middle East Children’s Alliance presents Palestinian Holiday Crafts Bazaar from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7 & 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday Dec.8  at Middle East Children’s Alliance, 1101 8th Street, Berkeley. This free event will have a tantalizing array of extraordinary gifts, including olive oil --your purchase aids Palestinian children and their families. For more info see https://www.mecaforpeace.
org/event/berkeley-ca-palestinian-holiday-crafts-bazaar/ or call (510) 548-0542.

North Shattuck Association presents Snow? In Berkeley? from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 8 at Gourmet Ghetto, Shattuck Ave., 1451-1495 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley. Bring boots and mittens to 1451 Shattuck, Berkeley, Sun. Dec. 8, 10AM-3PM. Snow Queen, Pony Rides, DIY Crafts, Holiday Craft Vendors. Free. For more info see www.anotherbullwinkelshow.

Lamorinda Village’s 5th Annual Afternoon of Gratitude will be held from 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13 at LOPC, 49 Knox Drive in Lafayette. We will gather to celebrate with our members, volunteers and community supporters another great year of serving the older adults in our community. Refreshments, entertainment and a special Volunteer of the Year Award in Honor of Ed Stokes will be presented. For more information on Lamorinda Village please go to www.lamorindavillage.org
Hospice East Bay’s Tree of Lights ceremonies have offered community members a way to honor the lives of friends and loved ones. This year’s ceremonies in Lamorinda are at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 7 at Orinda Village by Bank of America, and at 5:30 p.m. on Dec 15 at Moraga Country Club, 1600 St. Andrews Drive. For further information about these special events, visit Hospice East Bay Tree of Lights.

Winter Solstice Event at 6 p.m. on Dec. 21 at Outdoor Courtyard, 1035 Carol Lane, Lafayette. Fire Arts Performance, poetry, candlelight, original music by singer/songwriter Laura Zucker, warm drinks for adults and kids, all to mark the longest night of the year. Free to the public with donations welcome as we pause and honor the turn toward the sun. http://www.oslc.net/
`Live At the Orinda’ features Emily Skinner, Dec 8
Broadway star Emily Skinner will light up the historic Orinda Theatre for the holidays when she brings her gorgeous voice, her sly sense of humor and stories about her life on and off Broadway, her friend Broadway legend Hal Prince, the icon who is Cher and more, when she does Broadway, Her Way.
    The Tony nominated star of Broadway’s “The Cher Show,” “Billy Elliott,” “The Prince of Broadway” and “Side Show,” Skinner has had the distinction of being chosen by two pop icons to star in their musicals. First by Cher to star as her mother, Georgia Holt, in “The Cher Show” and then starring as Amanda Priestly in the reading of Sir Elton John’s upcoming musical version of “The Devil Wears Prada.” Skinner also has the distinction of being the first American to star as Mrs. Wilkinson in Elton John’s “Billy Elliot.” You don’t want to miss her!
    For info/tickets: www.OrindaMovies.com or (925) 254-9065.
Submitted by Angela Woodard Narayani

The Orinda Junior Women’s Club is pleased to announce Youth Ink 2020, the annual creative writing contest open to all middle school students who live in or attend school in Orinda. The Youth Ink 2020 prompt is “The Gift.” Entrants do not have to adhere to the prompt, and imagination and creativity are encouraged. This contest gives young adolescents the opportunity to experience literary arts and enjoy the creative writing process.
    Cash prizes of $250 for first place, $125 for second place, $75 for third place, and gift certificates for 10 honorable mentions will be awarded. Youth Ink 2020 submissions will be accepted via email from Dec. 2 until Feb. 28 in order to be considered for an award. Full entry details will be on the Youth Ink 2020 submission forms, available through Orinda Intermediate School, several local private middle schools, the Orinda Public Library, and online by Dec. 2 at www.orindajuniors.org.
Orinda Junior Women’s Club Announces middle-school writing contest, Youth Ink 2020 prior to show times. “Frozen JR.” is directed and produced by Bay Area Children’s Theatre.

SMC Student Recital Series at Saint Mary’s Chapel continues
Submitted by Renee Witon
Musicians at Saint Mary’s College of California will perform in the second of five Wednesday Student Recital Series concerts at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20 in the Saint Mary’s College Chapel. Featured works include Sonatas for Violin and Cello by Grieg, Schubert and Dvo?ák, chamber music for flute, and various vocal selections.  The finale of the program will feature the SMC Chamber Singers and Glee Club. Donations are welcome.

Pacific Chamber Orchestra to perform Handel’s Messiah in Lafayette Nov. 30
By Cheryl B. North  
For the first time, due to audience demand, a performance of Pacific Chamber Orchestra’s acclaimed concert presentation of Handel’s Messiah will jump start the holiday season.     After the stunningly uplifting experiences presented during Pacific Chamber Orchestra’s September concerts in Lafayette and Livermore, the audiences emerged with feelings of unabashed joy. And indeed, “joy” remained front and center throughout the performances.  
     The poem, “Ode to Joy,” written by German poet Friedrich Schiller, was set to music by a then deaf Ludwig van Beethoven.  The composer said that a great poem is more difficult to set to music than a merely good one, because the composer must rise higher than the poet – “who can do that in the case of Schiller? In this respect Goethe is much easier.”  
    These performances, marking the 30th anniversary of the Pacific Chamber Orchestra, were conducted by its founding music director, Lawrence Kohl.  This orchestra has made its home in Livermore since 2005 and has introduced classical music to over 300,000 schoolchildren.  For the choral finale of the last movement, the orchestra was joined by members and a few friends of the Lafayette Orinda Presbyterian Choir, directed by Brett Strader.  The four soloists were Ben Brady, bass-baritone; Christopher Bengochea, tenor; Silvie Jensen, alto; and Rhoslyn Jones, soprano.   
     Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is a truly monumental work, demanding precision, power, and  beauty from the orchestra and singers. It is usually done by a full symphony orchestra, a large professional chorus, and well-known operatic soloists.  This time, the precision, power, and beauty were achieved by a much smaller chamber orchestra, a church choir, many of whom had not sung this demanding work before, and a quartet of soloists whose voices have the size, range, and agility for lead roles in major opera houses.  Under the masterful leadership of Maestro Kohl, all these musicians showed that they were up to the monumental challenges of Beethoven’s score.     
     Schiller’s words amplified by Beethoven’s music have thrilled audiences for nearly two centuries, and it happened again in Lafayette and Livermore in September.  The audiences for both performances were uplifted and thrilled by this affirmation of brotherhood among the human family and the love of a benevolent God in the starry heavens.  
    For ticket information for PCO’s performance of “The Glorious - Handel, Messiah” at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30 at Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1. at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore, visit https://www.pacificchamberorchestra.org/




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