Traditional holiday caroling events are rapidly becoming a dying art form in the Bay Area. For those looking to enjoy this centuries-old tradition, options range from outdoor neighborhood strolls to festive indoor events. Caroling enthusiasts can either put on their scarves and mittens and pack up a thermos of hot cocoa to keep toasty, or don their holiday finest and enjoy some celebratory music in the indoor warmth. Go ahead and brighten the community and spread some Christmas cheer with this list of the best places for caroling in the Bay Area.
Saint Mary’s Cathedral
1111 Gough St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
Date: Dec. 24, 2013 at 5 p.m.
The iconic Catholic St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco attracts visitors with its architecture and beautiful stained glass work. The cathedral holds daily masses and is open for weddings and events. On Christmas Eve, the cathedral will be holding a caroling service beginning at 5 p.m. with carols sung by the Cathedral Choir of Boys and Girls and the St. Brigid School Honor Choir. Following the carols will be mass at 5:30 p.m. A second caroling performance by the Cathedral Choir and Golden Gate Brass is scheduled for 11:30 p.m., followed by a midnight mass.
Chanticleer Christmas at St. Ignatius Church
650 Parker Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94118
Date: Dec. 22, 2013 at 8 p.m.
The Grammy Award-winning Chanticleer will be holding its annual Chanticleer Christmas concert at St. Ignatius Church the Sunday before Christmas. Founded in 1978, this year marks the 36th season Chanticleer is performing. Consisting of a group of 12 men, the choral group has performed in 23 states as well as nine European countries, and takes its name from the clear-singing rooster in “The Canterbury Tales.” Join Chanticleer in the architectural majesty of St. Ignatius Church in the Inner Richmond as it sings a seasonal medley of classic, modern and gospel carols.
Christmas Carol Meetup Group at Final Final Sports Bar
2900 Baker St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
Date: Dec. 24, 2013 at 6 p.m.
Located near the Presidio in the Marina district, the Final Final Sports Bar has 24 beers on tap and 11 flat-screen TVs showing just about every game imaginable. Regulars come for free popcorn, sports viewing, darts and pool. The bar will be the starting point for the Christmas Carol Singing Meetup group’s third annual caroling event. Carolers will meet at Final Final at 6 p.m. to get organized and pass out song sheets, and then will walk and carol through neighboring residential Marina streets and a few local hotels.
Comfort and Joy – Santa Clara Chorale
Mission Santa Clara
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
Date: Dec. 13 and 15, 2013
Come to the historic Mission Santa Clara located on the campus of Santa Clara University to hear the Santa Clara Chorale perform its “Comfort and Joy” holiday program. The locally based, world-touring regional choral group began in 1962, and performs both classic and modern works, as well as folk, pop, gospel, jazz and show tunes. During “Comfort and Joy,” the Santa Clara Chorale will perform traditional carols with Oxford Street Brass. The group will also showcase festive pieces by Gabrieli, Pinkham, Rutter and Sweelinck.
Joanna Metheny is a freelance writer covering all things South Bay. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.