Like the song says: “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” More to the point, it is already sounding like Christmas, especially on the broadcast media and in public spaces.

Yet, despite the commercial aspects of the holiday, Christmas is a real thing, deeply personal and intensely communal at the same time; cross confessional, whatever they say; an all-American celebration.

Christmas music, too, is at once deeply personal and intensely communal. Both those qualities are certain to be found, abundantly, in the Santa Barbara Choral Society’s The Hallelujah Project, at the Lobero Theatre, this weekend, Dec. 10-11.

In addition to the chorus and orchestra, under the direction of  Jo Anne Wasserman, there will be a children’s chorus, drawn this year from the Music Academy’s SING! program.

The program, chosen by artistic director Wasserman, includes Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Cantata No. 191, ‘Gloria in excelsis Deo,’ BWV 191,” 1742, and many seasonal favorites, including songs by Irving Berlin, Mack Wilberg, Randol Bass , and John Williams (from the film “Home Alone”), plus the ecumenical gift of “Light the Legend, a Song for Chanukah.”

You will recall the scene in the film “National Treasure” when the main characters have entered an underground chamber of uncertain size. Someone drops a torch into the oil-filled moat at their feet. The oil catches and the flame spreads, through a lattice of channels, to reveal they are in a vast cavern filled with mountains of gold.

That’s how I feel about the Bach cantatas; they constitute a limitless trove of musical treasure. No. 191, the only one of Bach’s sacred cantatas in which he set a Latin text, is a new one on me, and it’s breathtaking

“Audience members of all ages can look forward to the orchestrated version of Clement Moore’s beloved classic ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,’ which in past years has been performed by comedienne Fannie Flagg and actresses Stephanie Zimbalist, Alison Sweeney and Shirley Jones, among others,” the Choral Society states.

“The buzz each year centers on who the celebrity will be, and this year’s guest of honor is none other than president and chief executive officer of The Music Academy, Scott Reed, accompanied by his young daughter, Ruby and friends,” the Choral Society says.

“Audiences can also anticipate an appearance by that Jolly Old Elf himself, who will stick around for photo ops after the concert,” the Choral Society says.

The Choral Society will perform the Hallelujah Project at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11. Tickets are $50 (VIP – includes premium seating and post-show reception with the artists); $30 (reserved); $20 (senior, 65+); and $10 (student with ID).

Tickets can be purchased at the Lobero Theatre Box Office, 33 E. Canon Perdido St.), by phone at 805-963-0761, or online at

(Ticket prices include a per ticket Lobero Facility Fee; other fees may also apply.)