Kingston Road United Church will host a special holiday evening, including a reading of A Christmas Carol on Friday, Dec. 5 starting at 7 p.m. The annual event, sponsored by the Kingston Road Village Business Association, will also include carolling and holiday cheer. Donations at the door will be split between the church’s ramp fund and Community Centre 55. Kingston Road United Church is at 975 Kingston Rd.
Pianist Brian Stevens provides the music, while Bill MacLean sings standards and modern classics. Stevens is also a composer, writer, and conductor, and has a long history of performance ranging from chamber music to musical theatre.
Long-time readers will remember MacLean as the arts and entertainment writer for Beach Metro News. He has been part of Toronto’s folk and acoustic music scene for many years, as a singer/songwriter, bassist, and guitarist, but found musical inspiration to stretch out into a new direction when he inherited his mother’s Frank Sinatra album collection, leading to the partnership with Stevens.
The pair will be joined at the concert by special guests, bassist Michael Lalonde and cellist Lucas Tensen, to celebrate the release of B2’s new album Twelve Songs for Christmas. The CD was recorded at Hilo Studios last month, and includes both guest musicians as well as drummer George Jardine. Twelve Songs includes interpretations of classic seasonal tunes, as well as ‘Til You Get to Bethlehem, Stevens’ original contribution to the Christmas canon.
Jazzy Christmas runs from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6 at Beach United Church, 140 Wineva Ave. at Queen Street East.
Café chez Hélène is hosting some live music events in the coming weeks.
On Saturday, Dec. 6, La vie de Jolie Jade will return for an encore performance. The response to Jade’s appearance in October was positive, so she will return for an evening of music, from 8 to 11 p.m. The cost is $10 in advance, with a link to tickets available at facebook.com/cafechezhelene, or $15 at the door.
Khash and Yars will bring a full band to the café on Saturday, Dec. 13. The folk-rock act consists of singer/songwriter and guitarist Khashayar Bavarsad, backed by Sepehr Mohaddes on flute, saxophone, ukulele, and vocals, Rodrigo Cavalcante on guitar and vocals, Kumiko Oshiro on piano, Kathryn Erlandson on cello, Camellia Cheriki on xylophone and glockenspiel, and Shahram Shaghayegh on piano. The show starts at 8 p.m.
Cody McMillan will perform at the Corner House Pub on Saturday, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m.
McMillan, born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, is a singer/songwriter, band leader, multi-instrumentalist, and entertainer inspired by classics like Bob Dylan, The Beatles, The Band, and Neil Young. He performs as often as possible, and has released three albums: Blackwater, Mealtime in Atlanta, and Where’s the Reality.
Lara Solnicki will be joined by Ted Quinlan on Sunday, Dec. 7 as part of Morgan’s On the Danforth’s Jazzy Sundays series. The following week will see the Shannon Butcher Duo take the stage. Performances run from 2 to 5 p.m. at Morgan’s, 1282 Danforth Ave., near the Greenwood subway station.
James Levac, known for his solar-powered piano that he occasionally brings to the boardwalk during warmer months, will be performing a Christmas concert at Faith Community Presbyterian Church.
Levac grew up with a stereo sitting on top of a piano – a configuration he originally thought was a single unit. He would turn on the radio and play along on the piano, leading to his first recital at age 5. Since then he has gone on to perform at a wide range of venues, both on piano and on fiddle, performing East Coast, Scottish, and Irish music.
The concert will take place at Faith Community Presbyterian Church, 140 Dawes Rd., at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13. Also appearing will be folk artist October Browne and the Isotones Big Band. Donations will be accepted for Community Centre 55.
Birchcliff Bluffs United Church presents A Christmas Celebration, a special holiday concert and fundraiser for the Churches By the Bluffs Food Bank.
Guest musicians include jazz pianist and vocalist Sean Stanley, and singers Sokhna Dior, Mitchell Daniels, and Melody Wolfe, as well as the BBUC choir, directed by Mark Oracion. Stories reflecting the spirit and goodwill of Christmas will be presented by Don Gray, filmmaker and former head of Centennial College’s film and broadcasting program, and Rev. Cynthia Stratton.
The event takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13 at Birchcliff Bluffs United Church, 33 East Rd. near Warden and Kingston. Admission is a suggested donation of $15 for adults and $5 for children, plus a non-perishable food item. Refreshments and a social will follow the concert and stories.
The acclaimed a capella group Cadence is returning to the Beach with Cool Yule, a Christmas concert to be held on Friday, Dec. 19 at Beach United Church.
The group’s live show is a hit, as the four members blend “complex harmonies, intricate arrangements, vocal dexterity, and just plain fun.” The audience is always invited to participate, while the singers demonstrate a mix of vocal dexterity and a love of entertaining.
Carl Berger (baritone and bass), Ross Lynde (tenor), Lucas Marchand (tenor), and Kurt Sampson (bass and vocal percussion) have released four albums as Cadence, earning multiple wins and nominations from the JUNO Awards and the Contemporary A Capella Recording Awards.
Doors open at 6:30, and the show gets underway at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 or $10 for children under 10, and are available from the church office at 416-691-8082, eventbrite.ca, or at the door.