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Almanac

Arts & Entertainment - December 26, 2012

Music of the night: Guide to New Year's Eve events

New Year's Eve on the Midpeninsula means pipe organs, flamenco, jazz, rock and soul

by Rebecca Wallace

Jessie Jewitt rarely performs in public. But this Dec. 31 she'll be in front of an audience, backed by thousands of pipes.

A longtime pipe organist with a degree from the Schola Cantorum music school in Paris, she is scheduled to perform the New Year's Eve concert on the grand 1957 Casavant organ at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Palo Alto. While the concert is usually performed by resident organist James Welch, Ms. Jewitt will do the honors this year.

Ms. Jewitt, who has Asperger's syndrome, has long found spiritual comfort and a way to communicate through her music, she said in an email, writing, "This is the greatest gift I've ever been given."

Her concert is set for 8 p.m. in the church at 600 Colorado Ave. in the Midtown neighborhood. There is a $10 suggested donation for admission, with students under 18 free. For more information, go to saint-marks.com.

The Midpeninsula hosts several other arts-related events on New Year's Eve and Day, including concerts and dances. Here are a few of the options:

Longtime flamenco dancer Koko de la Isla, who has studied for years in Spain and Japan and teaches the art form in Mountain View, will be featured in a New Year's Eve "Flamenco Night at Menlo Hub," at 1029 El Camino Real in Menlo Park. Other performers will include guitarist Alberto Marques, singers Virginia Juan and Jose de la Isla, percussionist and bass player Mike Masuda, and drummer Sam Sotelo. Flamenco shows are set for 9 and 10 p.m.; the restaurant's New Year's celebration continues until 1 a.m. Go to menlohub.com or call 650-630-6273 to reserve a table.

Revelers who prefer to take the stage themselves can opt for the annual New Year's Eve Contra Dance put on by the Bay Area Country Dance Society from 8 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. The event includes a potluck and is held at the Palo Alto Masonic Temple at 461 Florence St. Caller Lynn Ackerson will join musical guests Stringfire (Erik Ievins, Patti Cobb and Chris Knepper). Admission is $20 general, $16 for society members and $10 for students. Go to bacds.org.

Several local restaurants offer special New Year's Eve menus, often along with live music. At Morocco's Restaurant at 873 Castro St. in Mountain View, keyboardist Johnny Smiley will play jazz and belly dancer Etain will perform on Dec. 31, with a five-course set menu. Dinner is served starting at 5 p.m., with small-plates meals from 10 p.m. Call 650-968-1502 or go to moroccosrestaurant.com.

Farther north, Redwood City's Fox Theatre at 2223 Broadway hosts the rock and soul cover band The Houserockers and DJ Dinero on New Year's Eve, with a balloon drop, party favors and a midnight champagne toast. Doors open at 8 p.m., and the party is for ages 21 and up. Tickets are $35 general. Go to foxrwc.com. Next door, the smaller Club Fox will host a salsa night with doors also opening at 8. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Go to clubfoxrwc.com.

At nearby Angelica's Bistro, at 863 Main St. in Redwood City, a New Year's Eve party will feature Generation Esmeralda, a band that plays the music of disco group Santa Esmeralda with some of the original members. Dinner seating starts at 8 p.m., with the show at 9 p.m. and a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are $115/$135. Go to angelicasbistro.com or call 650-365-3226.

Earlier in the day on New Year's Eve, seniors will gather for the annual Senior New Year's Eve Day Bash with dancing and a buffet lunch at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto. The party, which is presented together with the Avenidas senior center and the city of Palo Alto, goes from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Cultural Arts Hall, with a champagne toast at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $13 in advance and $18 at the door. Go to paloaltojcc.org or call 650-223-8664.

On New Year's Day, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra always holds a free afternoon concert in Palo Alto. This year's theme will be "Dial M for Music," with music by Mozart, Mendelssohn and New York City composer Harold Meltzer. The Meltzer piece is an SFCO commission and a world premiere, called Sinfonia Concertante for Violin & Viola. Soloists Scott St. John (violin) and Sharon Wei (viola) will be featured. The concert is at the First United Methodist Church of Palo Alto at 625 Hamilton Ave. Go to sfchamberorchestra.org or call 415-692-3367.

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