Pasadena offers a variety of ways to celebrate the season
By Carl Kozlowski 12/17/2013
With the holiday season in full swing and just about a week to go before the Big Day arrives, there are plenty of ways for area residents to enjoy festive cheer. Some are free, some expensive, but most are — much like Goldilocks’ infamous porridge — just right.
First up, seniors seeking an easy trip down memory lane can go see the classic Bing Crosby film “White Christmas” for free at 1 p.m. Friday at the Pasadena Senior Center. The tale of a successful song-and-dance team (Crosby and the immortal Danny Kaye)who become romantically involved with a sister act and team up to save the failing Vermont inn of their former commanding general, the musical is packed with tunes that are fun, nostalgic and memorable. While visiting the center, viewers can sign up for the center’s Christmas dinner, scheduled for noon Wednesday. Cost is $12, $10 for members. Friday night, get the whole family together for a free event at Lake Avenue Church that kicks off with the church posada, a short processional re-enactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for lodging preceding the birth of Jesus. The night doesn’t end there. The festivities include everything from a dinner of homemade Mexican food and a piñata to caroling, crafts and children’s activities, starting at 5:30 p.m.
Saturday features two different live staged readings of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic “A Christmas Carol.” First, the California Shakespeare Ensemble performs at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Descanso Gardens. Tickets for that show are $15, while Parson’s Nose Theater goes the “pay what you will” route, charging $5 to $25 for their staged readings at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.
Saturday night, escape the overabundance of schmaltzy holiday music by heading over at 8 p.m. to the Alex Theatre for a night of Christmas-themed orchestral works. The Los Angeles Symphony presents a Christmas concert featuring works by Tchaikovsky, Liszt, Schubert, Gounod, Weber and Schubert. Tickets are $25 to $75.
Aerin Holt and California Contemporary Ballet will present the 16th annual production of the original ballet “The Snow Queen” at Glendale Community College Theater. Matinee performances at 2 p.m. are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Glendale Community College’s performing arts theater is located on campus, 1500 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale. Advance tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for children; $30 and $25 at the door. For tickets or information, call the ticket line at (818) 583-7406 or visit calballet.com or snowqueenballet.com.
More Christmas classics are performed at 5 p.m. Sunday during the Advent Evensong service at All Saints Church in Pasadena, as the Canterbury Choir and Chamber Orchestra perform Bach’s “Magnificat in D Major” in a performance that’s free and open to the public.
Another free church-choir concert takes place at 6 p.m. Sunday at One Colorado courtyard, as the Saints Felicitas and Perpetua Church Children’s Choir presents a selection of favorite holiday tunes.
One decidedly different alternative to all the holiday cheer and Dickensian worship can be found when the Sierra Madre Playhouse presents “The Christmas Carol Murder Mystery” at 7 p.m. Sunday. The show puts a twist on the traditional story of Scrooge, with a murder added to the tale, Marley’s ghost serving as a detective and other characters as suspects. Tickets are $20.
Tuesday marks the exciting anticipation of Christmas Eve, as kids nervously await opening presents and adults appreciate the warmth of family and friends. All in the family can head over to All Saints Church at 3 p.m. for a trio of choices to participate in sharing the holiday. A family candlelight service begins at 3 p.m., followed at 5:30 p.m. by a festive Eucharist celebration featuring music by Trouveres and a sermon by Jon Dephouse. The church’s rector, Ed Bacon, closes out the holy night by preaching at 8 and 11 p.m.
Meanwhile, Lake Avenue Church is also offering a fresh set of events, its family service featuring the Worship Band, children’s ensembles, instrumentalists and a Christmas message by Senior Pastor Greg Waybright, concluding with a candle lighting ceremony, all starting at 4 p.m. Meanwhile, Christmas Eve Candlelight Services feature Christmas carols led by the church choir, orchestra and soloists, with church members reading lessons of Christmas in scripture and a sermon by Senior Pastor Greg Waybright, at 9 and 11 p.m.
Finally, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Christmas Day, one of the biggest hot-meal events in the country returns to Pasadena’s Central Park when the Union Station Homeless Services Christmas Dinner in the Park welcomes homeless people, senior citizens, low-income families and those with no place to go for dinner to dine on turkey and all the trimmings for free.
Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Call (818) 243-2539 (ALEX) or visit alextheatre.org.
All Saints Church, 132 N. Euclid Ave., Pasadena. Call (626) 796-1172 or visit allsaints-pas.org.
Central Park is located at the corner of Fair Oaks Avenue and Del Mar Boulevard, Pasadena. Call (626) 240-4557 or visit unionstationhs.org.
Descanso Gardens, 1418 Descanso Drive, La Cañada Flintridge. Call (818) 949-4200 or visit descansogardens.org.
Glendale Community College Theater, 1500 N. Verdugo Road, Glendale. Call (818) 583-7406 or visit calballet.com or snowqueenballet.com.
Lake Avenue Church, 393 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena. Call (626) 844-4700 or visit lakeave.org.
Parson’s Nose Theater is located at Lineage Performing Arts Center, 89 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena. Call (626) 403-7667 or visit parsonsnose.com.
Pasadena Senior Center, 85 E. Holly St., Pasadena. Call (626) 795-4331 or visit pasadenaseniorcenter.org.
Sierra Madre Playhouse, 87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre. Call (626) 355-4310 or visit sierramadreplayhouse.org.