If this week's cold spell put you in the holiday mood, check out these concerts this week:
• What: Tucson Symphony Orchestra "Messiah."
• Featuring: TSO Chorus directed by Bruce Chamberlain.
• When: 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday.
• Where: Catalina Foothills High School, 4300 E. Sunrise Drive.
• Tickets: $40-$50 through www.tucsonsymphony.org.
• Details: 882-8585.
• Holly, jolly and then some: This is the last season - for now - that the TSO will perform Handel's choral masterpiece in its entirety. Chamberlain said the orchestra next year will turn its attention to Bach's Christmas Oratorio.
"The Christmas Oratorio of Bach is one that isn't particularly heard all that often," Chamberlain said. "But it is the retelling of the story complete with narrator whereas 'Messiah' is kind of a thought-provoking pastiche of biblical verses.
"I think what really makes 'Messiah' so spectacular is Charles Jennings's libretto, the way that he has selected biblical verses," he added. "It is just a very special libretto. Not to downplay that Handel's music is outrageously fun and really terrific."
• What: Southern Arizona Women's Chorus "A Holiday Twist."
• When and where: 7 p.m. Friday at Ascension Lutheran Church, 1220 W. Magee Road, east of La Cañada; 3 p.m. Sunday at the University of Arizona's Crowder Hall, East Speedway and North Park Avenue.
• Tickets: $18 in advance by calling 404-3148, $20 at the door. Children 10 and under are free.
• Details: 404-3148.
• Holly, jolly and then some: Terrie Ashbaugh leads the 85-voice chorus in holiday songs from around the globe including classic Christmas carols, Hanukkah gems and songs from India and Iraq.
• What: 15th Annual "Christmas at San Xavier."
• Featuring: Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus and Sons of Orpheus Men's Chorus.
• When: 6 and 8 p.m. Wednesday and next Thursday.
• Where: Mission San Xavier del Bac, 1950 W. San Xavier Road.
• Tickets: $90, $70 of which is tax-deductible. (Early performances sold out.) Proceeds benefit the restoration and preservation of the Mission.
• Details: Call Vern Lamplot, 407-6130.
• Holly, jolly and then some: In the rustic and historic setting of San Xavier Mission, this annual concert is the hottest holiday ticket. The acoustics in the drafty mission, lit mostly by candles to add to the solemn setting, are a perfect complement to the combined choruses - high voices from the boys, richer textures from the men. Don't be surprised if you hear sniffles from audience members moved by the spirit of the performance.
Coming up next:
• Sons of Orpheus Holiday Concert at Green Valley's Madera Clubhouse in the Quail Creek Resort Community, 2055 E. Quail Crossing Blvd., at 3 p.m. Dec. 18. Call 393-5822 for details.
• Tucson Chamber Artists "Lessons and Carols" at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 17 and 2 p.m. Dec. 18 at St. Philip's in the Hills Episcopal Church, 4440 N. Campbell Ave. Call 401-2651 for reservations; in years past, these concerts have sold out.