The San Francisco Symphony Chorus performs in Handel’s “Messiah” at the San Francisco Symphony in 2006. Photo: Jakub Mosur / The Chronicle 2006

California Bach Society

There are plenty of ways to celebrate Christmas with Bach, but the California Bach Society and Artistic Director Paul Flight keep finding new ways to give the holiday season some musical variety.

This year’s program is devoted to Christmas music from the British Isles, a lineup that includes seasonal offerings by such English composers as Benjamin Britten, John Tavener and John Rutter, as well as a contemporary carol by composer Ann Burgess.

An array of traditional carols in English, Welsh and Gaelic completes the program.

8 p.m. Dec. 2. St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 1111 O’Farrell, S.F.; 8 p.m. Dec. 3. All Saints’ Episcopal Church, 555 Waverley St., Palo Alto; 4 p.m. Dec. 4. St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 2300 Bancroft Ave., Berkeley. $10-$30. 650-485-1097. www.calbach.org

Berkeley comedian and author W. Kamau Bell will be the narrator for S.F. Symphony’s “Peter and the Wolf.” Photo: Paul Chinn / The Chronicle 2017

San Francisco Symphony

The San Francisco Symphony always takes the opportunity of the Christmas season to spread its wings stylistically, offering a wealth of programming that encompasses carols, holiday offerings, film music and more.

This year’s schedule gets under way with the return of the festive family program “Deck the Hall” (Dec. 4), and continues up through a New Year’s Eve program featuring Seth MacFarlane.

In between come two performances of Handel’s “Messiah” (Dec. 9-10) led by Japanese conductor Masaaki Suzuki; “Peter and the Wolf” with narrator W. Kamau Bell (Dec. 11); a Dec. 15 “Holiday Gaiety” event with Edwin Outwater and Peaches Christ; and film screenings with live orchestral accompaniment of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (Dec. 16-17) and “Elf” (Dec. 21-22).

Dec. 4-31. $20-$175. Davies Symphony Hall, 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F. 415-864-6000. www.sfsymphony.org

The women’s chorus Kitka Photo: Vincent Louis Carrella

Kitka

The venerable Bay Area women’s chorus, which focuses on vocal music of the Balkans, reprises its popular “Wintersongs” program of seasonal music from Eastern Europe.

This year’s iteration puts a special emphasis on music of Ukraine, both secular and sacred, in support of the nation’s ongoing humanitarian crisis.

Dec. 9-18. $25-$50. Locations in Belvedere, Sacramento, Menlo Park, Oakland and San Francisco. 510-444-0323. www.kitka.org

Grace Cathedral in Nob Hill. Photo: Stephanie Wright Hession

Grace Cathedral

Twelve days of Christmas means a dozen separate musical events for the holiday season, at least according to the folks at Grace Cathedral. And who could decline such abundance?

Among the seasonal offerings are performances by Cathedral’s Choir of Men and Boys, the Bay Brass, Presto Opera and Destiny Muhammad. They include carols from around the world as well as organ music, jazz and a wealth of spiritual feeling.

Dec. 10-23. $15-$70. Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F. www.gracecathedral.org

Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale

It would hardly be Christmas without “Messiah,” and this season brings several opportunities to enjoy Handel’s brilliant and beloved oratorio.

First out of the gate — though only by a nose — are Music Director Richard Egarr and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra & Chorale.

For these performances, the group welcomes an impressive lineup of vocal soloists, most of them new to the Bay Area: soprano Stefanie True, mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb, tenor Andrew Tortise and bass Joshua Bloom. Also on hand is the Philharmonia Chorale, under new leadership since the arrival of director Valérie Sainte-Agathe.

7:30 p.m. Dec. 14. Bing Concert Hall, 327 Lasuen St., Stanford; 7 p.m. Dec. 15. Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F.; 7 p.m. Dec. 17, 4 p.m. Dec. 18. First Congregational Church, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley. $32-$130. 415-295-1900. www.philharmonia.org

American Bach Soloists

The holiday lineup from American Bach Soloists and Music Director Jeffrey Thomas is traditionally a three-part affair, beginning with a mixed concert of Baroque music and then executing a natural segue into performances of Handel’s “Messiah.” This year, the lead-in program (Dec. 14) includes music by Valentini, Charpentier and Johann Christoph Pez alongside “Messiah” excerpts.

The complete “Messiah” follows on Dec. 15-16, with soloists soprano Maya Kherani, countertenor Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen, tenor James Reese and bass-baritone Christian Pursell.

Finally, soprano Liv Redpath and bass Alex Rosen are expected to join forces for a New Year’s Eve program of operatic arias by Rameau, Purcell and more.

Dec. 14-16. Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., S.F. 4 p.m.; Dec. 31. Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., S.F. $25-$125. 415-621-7900. www.americanbach.org

The men’s chorus Chanticleer Photo: Courtesy Chanticleer

Chanticleer

Holiday music is just one part of the repertoire of the Bay Area’s leading men’s chorus. The group also excels in jazz, Renaissance polyphony, pop music and spirituals — and all of those traditions make their presence known in Chanticleer’s annual Christmas program.

This year’s lineup includes a new jazz arrangement of “O, Come All Ye Faithful” by Grammy nominee Amanda Taylor.

Dec. 15-23. $35-$79. Locations in Palo Alto, Petaluma, San Francisco, Sacramento, Carmel, Santa Clara and Berkeley. 415-252-8589. www.chanticleer.org