Music provides many of the special delights of the holiday season. Throughout the San Fernando Valley, a variety of programs--featuring carols, hymns and gospel music--are being offered by church choirs and congregations, as well as several major shopping malls. What follows is a sampling of some of the upcoming musical events. Unless otherwise specified, they are free to the public.
A one-hour a cappella song service featuring traditional Christmas carols is scheduled at the Church of Christ in Woodland Hills Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. In addition, the service will feature several solo numbers, as well as the reading of poems and Scriptures (23363 Burbank Blvd., 818-348-3712).
A program described by Pastor Larry Maib as "a Christmas buffet and caroling service" will take place Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Faith Baptist Church in Sun Valley. All the pews have been removed from the sanctuary; in their place, a Christmas tree and tables will be set up. A potluck buffet will precede the 7 o'clock evening service, which will feature carols and special musical numbers sung by the church choir (10335 La Tuna Canyon Road, 818-767-5749).
A modern-day Christmas pageant titled "The Gift Goes On" will be performed by members of First Baptist Church of North Hollywood today and Saturday at 7 p.m. The new musical, written by Claire Cloninger, will include adult performers and more than a dozen children. Traditional Christmas carols will be interspersed throughout the 45-minute outdoor performance. At 11 a.m. Sunday, a contemporary Christmas cantata titled "We Behold His Glory" will be presented by the church's choir and musicians (11210 Otsego St., 818-763-4356).
The "25th Annual Living Christmas Tree" will be presented by the First Baptist Church of Van Nuys at 8 tonight, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 2 and 6 p.m. Sunday. This year's show, which is divided into secular and religious segments, will feature 200 performers. The first part, which has the theme of "a country Christmas," will feature performers in a variety of costumes. The second part of the show, during which the cast climbs the 33-foot Christmas tree, will include both traditional and contemporary caroling. The program ends with a performance of the "Hallelujah Chorus." All tickets are $8 (14800 Sherman Way, 818- 787-4450).
"The Music of Christmas," an annual concert of traditional carols and hymns, will be presented by the sanctuary choir of the First Foursquare Church of Van Nuys/The Church on the Way at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 and 6 p.m. Sunday. Soloists and an orchestra will be featured in the 90-minute program, to be held in the main sanctuary, which seats 1,500 people (14300 Sherman Way, 818-786-7090).
The annual Christmas concert of the First Lutheran Church of Northridge will be presented at 4 p.m. Sunday. The Carol Choir, made up of children ages 8 to 11, and the Cathedral Choir will sing a variety of traditional and contemporary Christmas hymns and anthems. Accompaniment will be provided by organist Mark Holmstrom, and there will be several guitar and flute instrumentals. Soloists Sue O'Connor, Doug Uyehara, Mary Beth Heglund, and Dave and Michelle Segstock are scheduled to perform under the musical direction of Susan Hamre. A reception with refreshments will follow the presentation (18355 Roscoe Blvd., 818-885-6861).
The First United Methodist Church of Glendale will welcome the Pasadena Boys Choir, under the direction of John Barron, for a special holiday performance Sunday at 4 p.m. Classical selections from the 13th through 20th centuries and familiar holiday tunes will be performed (134 N. Kenwood St., 818-243-2105). For ticket information, call Ticketmaster, (213) 480-3232.
The 100-voice choir of Grace Community Church, accompanied by a 35-piece orchestra, will perform familiar Christmas carols during its annual Christmas concerts, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday, and 6 p.m. Sunday. Soloists Daniel Huff and Phillip Webb, tenors, and soprano Karoline Thomer will sing several lesser-known carols during the hour-and-40-minute program. The church seats more than 3,300 people (13248 Roscoe Blvd., Sun Valley, 818-782-5920).
Lake Manor Chapel, an Advent Christian church in Chatsworth, will offer "Carols and Communion" Wednesday at 7 p.m. The 90-minute event in the congregation's small country church will feature a selection of Christmas songs, old-time and modern gospel music, including Christian songs from the Marantha song book. The Children's Choir will also take part in the festivities. Refreshments follow the service (23449 Lake Manor Drive, 818-712-0079).