The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

BBCO. Photo: Bill Hocker
The Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra will celebrate its 50th birthday this weekend with three free performances. Photo: Bill Hocker

BCCO 50TH The Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra celebrates its golden anniversary this weekend with three concerts at UC Berkeley’s Hertz Hall. The program from the non-auditioned community chorus includes the first performances of “I Think I Shall Praise It,” composed by Napa-based Kurt Erickson for the BCCO 50th celebration, two movements from Brahms’ German Requiem, selections from Handel’s Messiah, Sibelius’ Finlandia and Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms. In addition to the concerts, the BCCO has built a special website for the 50th birthday, filled with stories about the group’s first half century. Performances are free, but donations are welcome. Friday, Jan. 8, 8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 9 and Sunday, Jan. 10, 3 p.m., Hertz Hall. 

Peet's Theatre Grand OpeningPEET’S THEATRE GRAND OPENING If you’ve wondered what was behind the construction hoardings at Berkeley Rep for the last year, you’ll have a free chance to find out on Saturday, Jan. 9. The newly named Peet’s Theatre flings open its doors for a three-hour gala, with demonstrations of the theatre’s special Meyer Sound system, workshops on improvisation, storymaking, stage combat, acting, and clowning and mime, as well as a Mad Libs-style collective playwriting effort. In addition Berkeley Rep artistic director Tony Taccone and dramaturg Madeleine Oldham will be speaking about the “Evolution of a Play.” There will also be a photo booth (with Berkeley Rep costumes available), tastings of Peet’s coffee, backstage tours, food trucks and a raffle. Saturday, Jan. 9, noon to 3 p.m., Berkeley Rep, 2025 Addison St.

bongolove-250BONGO LOVE Zimbabwean music takes over Ashkenaz on Saturday, Jan. 10. Bongo Love is a percussive quartet that dubs its style as Afrocoustics. John Mambira, drums and lead vocals, is joined by guitarist James Buzuzi, Trymore Jombo on mbira (thumb piano), and Mpho Mambira on baritone marimba. The evening also features Piwai & the Zimbabwe Mystics, led by Oakland-based singer songwriter (and biologist) Piwai. Saturday, Jan. 10, doors at 8:30 p.m., show at 9 p.m., Ashkenaz, 1317 San Pablo Ave.

MozartMOZART BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION Okay, Monday isn’t the weekend, but who would want to miss a Mozart celebration? Mozart’s real 260th birthday is actually on Jan. 27, but the Freight & Salvage is getting its licks in early, with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra All-Stars, featuring concertmaster Robin Sharp and principal horn Alex Rosenfeld. In addition to a celebratory program of Mozart music for small ensembles, you’ll have a chance to meet “Wolfie” himself and participate in a Mozart trivia contest for valuable prizes. Monday, Jan. 11, 8 p.m. Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, 2020 Addison St.

FZ_origFANFARE ZAMBALETA Starry Plough confidently calls its Balkan Bacchanal “Berkeley’s favorite Balkan dance party.” We won’t argue. Fanfare Zambaleta, a “full-fledged juggernaut of a band,” will play from 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 9. Fanfare Zambaleta was incubated in San Francisco’s Zambaleta Music and Dance School. It plays Romani, Serbian, Macedonian and Greek brass band music. The band says its “potent musical concoction of wild improvisation, meticulous ensemble coordination,  earth-shaking low brass, thunderous drumming and jubilant vocals will move your feet and lift your soul.” Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck Ave.

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