'A Christmas Carol'
Young audiences can get a kid-friendly introduction to theater — and to Dickens — with a special 45-minute stage adaptation of "A Christmas Carol."
Peninsula Youth Theatre performs the play in Mountain View on Dec. 9 at 9:30 and 11 a.m.; and on Dec. 10 at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. An additional show at 7 p.m. on Dec. 9 offers cookies, cider and Christmas carols sung by young thespians in Victorian costumes.
Peninsula Youth Theatre often presents these abridged "Stories on Stage"; the current production was written for the theater group by Dexter Fidler. Michael Champlin directs.
Performances are at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts at 500 Castro St.; tickets are $8. For more, go to http://pytnet.org or call 650-903-6000.
When artist Esther Traugot covers a branch with hand-dyed, hand-crocheted bamboo yarn, she isn't practicing crafting baby booties. She's making an artistic statement about seeing herself as a part of nature. Are her covers protecting the natural world, or controlling it? Viewers can decide.
"The meticulous act of crocheting mimcs the instinct to nurture and protect what is viable, what is becoming precious," Traugot said in a press release. "As in gilding, these false 'skins' imbue the objects with an assumed desirability or value; the wrapping becomes an act of veneration."
Traugot, who has a master's of fine art in studio art from Mills College, brings her own art to the Peninsula this month with an exhibition at the Community School of Music and Arts at 230 San Antonio Circle in Mountain View. Installations on display will include crochet-covered trees that are 9 to 11 feet tall.
An opening reception with the artist is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 9, with the show running through Jan. 22. Gallery hours are weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Go to http://arts4all.org or call 650-917-6800, extension 306.
Creativity at Cubberley
Palo Alto's Cubberley Community Center may no longer be a school, but its classrooms still bustle with plenty of activity. In E, F and U wings, the activity is especially creative. That's where the Cubberley artists have their studios.
This Saturday, Dec. 3, the public can step inside the studios to meet the artists and view and purchase their artwork. A visitor might see a cast aluminum sculpture, or a stitched-cloth art book, or a collage rich with layers of many materials.
At the same time, the Palo Alto Art Center (which has been temporarily displaced from its Newell Road home by major renovations) will hold its holiday family day at the Cubberley studios. Family-friendly craft activities, music and food are planned, with art teachers at hand to assist.
Both events are free. The artists will open their studios from 1 to 5 p.m., and the art center's family day runs from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, go to http://cityofpaloalto.org/artcenter or call 650-329-2366.
Songs from north and south
Voice meets brass and English meets Catalan and Spanish in an international holiday program planned by the Midpeninsula choral group Schola Cantorum.
On Dec. 11, the Schola singers team up with the Oxford Street Brass ensemble to present "A Schola Cantorum Christmas." The program will begin with 90 vocalists surrounding the audience and singing "Silent Night," then continue with other seasonal carols — in English, Spanish and Catalan. The "Carols and Lullabies of the Southwest" were composed by Conrad Susa of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The brass musicians will join in what is being billed as a "surprise ending."
The concert starts at 3 p.m. in the First Congregational Church of Palo Alto at 1985 Louis Road. Tickets are $20 general and $5 for children in advance, and $25/$10 at the door.
Schola Cantorum will also present its annual sing-along "Messiah," conducted by Schola music director Gregory Wait, at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 12. A chamber orchestra will play on the stage as audience members sing the choruses and arias. Scores will be available to borrow or buy.
The event is at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts at 500 Castro St. Admission is $20 general and $16 for seniors and students, with group discounts available. Go to http://scholacantorum.org or call 650-254-1700.
The members of the Oregon new-music ensemble Beta Collide say they focus "on the collision of musical art forms." That means lowbrow and highbrow, improvisational, ambient, hectic, irreverent and playful. The ensemble is directed by flutist Molly Barth and trumpeter Brian McWhorter.
Tonight, Dec. 2, the group brings its sound to Stanford University, premiering new works penned by Stanford graduate composers. All the pieces were written in response to "Theme in Search of Variations III," by Mark Applebaum, a member of Stanford's composition faculty.
The concert begins at 8 p.m. in Campbell Recital Hall at 660 Lomita Drive on campus. Admission is free. For more about the performers, go to betacollide.com.
Other Stanford Music Department performances scheduled this weekend are: the Stanford Chamber Chorale at 8 p.m. Dec. 3 in Memorial Church, and the Stanford Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. Dec. 4 in Dinkelspiel Auditorium. Details are at http://music.stanford.edu .