FREE BERKELEY COMMUNITY CHORUS & ORCHESTRA CONCERT The Berkeley Community Chorus & Orchestra (BCCO) is putting on Dvořák’s The Spectre’s Bride under the direction of Maestro Ming Luke at Hertz Hall on the Cal campus, Jan. 4, 5 and 6. Three soloists, all winners of BCCO’s Young Vocal Soloist Competition, will perform with a full orchestra. Julia Metzler, soprano, sings the role of the young-bride-to-be; Christian Ketter, tenor, sings the role of the spectre; and André Chiang, bass, narrates this spooky romance along with the chorus “Dvořák’s The Spectre’s Bride is a rarely performed and intensely dramatic musical ghost story,” said Luke in a press release. “This macabre tale speaks of an undead spirit attempting to take an innocent maiden on a ghastly journey to the underworld. Dvořák’s brilliant writing and orchestration brings this tale to life.” Performances take place at Hertz Hall on the UC Berkeley campus on Friday, Jan. 4 (at 8 p.m.); Saturday, Jan. 5 (at 3 p.m.); and Sunday, Jan. 6 (at 3 p.m.) The concerts are free, donations gratefully accepted. Details.
SHUT UP AND DANCE CIVIL RIGHTS PARTY WITH THE COOLERATORS In 2004 a group of progressive lawyers got together and formed a R&B band called DAWG-Definitely Aging With (or without) Grace, believing that the civil rights community needed a fun, no-speeches, no-causes event. Thus, Shut Up and Dance was born. In 2017, the group officially adopted the band name The Coolerators and performed in the spring of 2018 “to bring a much needed relief to the Civil Rights community following the despair of the 2016 presidential election.” The Coolerators will gather on Saturday for another Shut Up and Dance party at Ashkenaz to once again “create a positive venue for a great musical time to encourage all in attendance to dance the night away.” Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, 1317 San Pablo Ave., Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets: $15 advance/$18 day of show. There will be food and a no-host bar. Details.
THORNTON WILDER AT LIVE OAK THEATRE Actors Ensemble of Berkeley kicks off its 62nd season with Thornton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth, directed by Michael R. Cohen, running weekends Jan.4 through Jan. 26 at Live Oak Theatre. In the 1943 Pulitzer-prize winning play, the Antrobus family stands in for all of humanity, as we move back and forth across time and space, humanity just barely escaping, war, flood, and climate catastrophe. In the midst of it all they meet both legends (Moses, Homer) and everyday folks, and shelter friend and fauna (a Dinosaur, a Woolly Mammoth). Perhaps in the end, humanity will survive, thrive and evolve to something more human? Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck Ave., Fridays and Saturdays Jan. 4 through Jan. 26 at 8 p.m. Sunday matinées Jan. 13 and 20 at 2 p.m. Wheelchair accessible. Tickets: $20 general, $15 under 30 or 65 and over, $10 sliding scale 1/5, 1/11, 1/18, and 1/25. No one turned away for lack of funds. Details.
ROACH GIGZ WITH REMEDY, TOKYO MARLOW, DJ SKIMASK AND PAC B Bay Area underground rapper Roach Gigz, whose 2010 breakout project was Roachy Balboa, has been featured and/or reviewed in publications such as The New York Times, MTV, Pitchfork and The Fader. He performs Saturday, along with a host of friends, at Cornerstone in downtown Berkeley where there’s a full restaurant, bar and craft beer garden. Saturday Jan. 5, Cornerstone, 2367 Shattuck Ave (Enter On Durant), Doors: 7:30 PM, Show: 8:30 PM, All Ages. Details.
FREE BLUES VOCAL JAM SESSION AT THE JAZZ CONSERVATORY Join musicians Garth Webber, Ruth Davies and Bobby Cochran, and fellow amateur singers, at a Blues Vocal Jam session at the California Jazz Conservatory in downtown Berkeley on Sunday, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Professional singer Pamela Rose, who will lead the session, says she truly loves teaching and helping people to “find their voice.” Open to all. Singers should bring three copies of their song for the band and arrive by 4 p.m. to sign up. Free but suggested donation: $10. California Jazz Conservatory, 2087 Addison St., Berkeley. Details.