The beginning of our two week concert series in California was last night in Oakland's magnificent Cathedral of Christ the Light. Our last concert here was "The Boy Whose Father was God" in March. Not only was there massive traffic which caused a late-arriving audience and a 20 minute delay, our concert seemed to have landed in the middle of a creche festival and book signing by the Cathedral's architect, large tour groups coming through and newly installed food service and full bar (...) downstairs. It was all GO in there; we hope we managed nevertheless to create the peaceful moment which is the aspiration of our Christmas concerts. Our appearances in this venue are always subject to tight timing as mass ends fairly late, and our warmup has to be very efficient.

Volunteers from our LAB Choir in appropriate headgear welcomed our first Christmas audience ( thanks LAB kids!)

Business at the CD table was brisk. The CD table is downstairs, so the proximity of the creche festival and book signing activities got more people to us. Education and LAB Choir Director Ben Johns helps people with their choices.

An enjoyable aspect of our California Christmas tour is the variety of places in which we perform, from the Oakland Cathedral, to Walt Disney Concert Hall, to the smallest venue - the Mission in Carmel. Tomorrow (Sunday) will be in the intimate and beautiful acoustic of St. Vincent in Petaluma where Chanticleer has performed forever, and which is surrounded by the legendary Christmas lighting of Petaluma Victorians. In Petaluma we will record for American Public Media, so you can hear the concert starting around Thursday if you're too far away to come.