Christmas at the Cathedral

There’s no better way to capture the warmth and magic of the holiday season in Santa Fe than a musical evening at the breathtaking Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi. Wherever you may be celebrating this year, we invite you to join us for Christmas at the Cathedral, an enchanting holiday concert to benefit Performance Santa Fe. Digitally gather around as many of Santa Fe’s biggest names — violist Toby Appel, pianist Jacquelyn Helin, opera power couple Beth Clayton and Patricia Racette, and nearly a dozen others — perform all of your favorite holiday classics, including “O Holy Night,” “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas,” “Silver Bells,” “Christmas Time is Here,” and many more!  It’s the perfect way to ring in the holiday season!

This special livestream event has ended. Thank you for your support this holiday season!

Holiday Concert Artists

Toby Appel

Toby Appel performs throughout North and South America, Europe, and the Far East as soloist and chamber musician. He is a former member of Tashi, and the Lenox and Audubon Quartets. He began training at age 13 at the Curtis Institute with Max Aronoff. He has been on the faculty at The Juilliard School for 25 years and held professorships at SUNY, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, University of New Mexico, Rutgers University, Carnegie Mellon, and Yale. Appel is a winner of the Young Concert Artists International. He is a frequent commentator for National Public Radio’s “Performance Today.” He has toured for the U.S. State Department and performed at the United Nations and at the White House. Chamber music and recital recordings can be heard on the Columbia, Delos, Desto, Koch International, Opus 1, and Musical Heritage Society labels.

Branden & James

Branden & James, “a powerhouse cello and vocal duo” (The Fight Magazine), brings the soulful timbre of James on his cello combined with Branden’s emotional and powerful vocals, creating a sound that leaves audiences feeling moved and inspired.

The energy and fervor behind their music has a story to tell of their unique pairing. Branden had a successful career on stage and in recording prior to his meeting the Australian cellist, James. Some of Branden’s accolades include finishing as a finalist on season 8 of America’s Got Talent, appearances at The Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Los Angeles Opera, two world tours with the renowned Twelve Tenors and two solo releases worldwide. James brought to the mix his own share of musical accomplishments, accompanying Olivia Newton John, Idina Menzel and Bernadette Peters in multiple concerts. He initially came on board to music direct one of many charity concerts in which Branden was performing, and their connection was so immense they began to play together regularly.

Beth Clayton

Having performed 50+ leading roles in opera houses and concert venues around the world, operatic mezzo-soprano Beth Clayton has over two decades of professional performance experience as well as a a Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master’s Degree. She now integrates the two platforms to help those active in the performing arts as well as others who seek to optimize performance and achieve balance and satisfaction, both personally and professionally.

Bert Dalton

Jazz pianist, arranger, educator, and producer Bert Dalton, originally from Chicago, has been living and performing in Santa Fe for 20 years. He has led a number of groups such as the Chicago Jazz Exchange, Yoboso, the Bert Dalton Trio, the Dalton Brothers Trio, and most recently the Brazil Project.

Bert received his music education at Northern Illinois University, studying with Dr. J. B. Floyd and performing with Ron Modell’s award-winning NIU Jazz Ensemble. He has performed in concerts, clubs, and jazz festivals throughout the continental US, Alaska, Hawaii, New Zealand, and Australia. He has performed with Herbie Mann, Anita O’Day, Bud Shank, Butch Miles, Howard Alden, Frank Morgan, Bobby Shew, Eddie Daniels, Regina Carter, Ali Ryerson, Dr. Art Davis, Gene Lees, Daniel Binelli, Von Freeman, Pete Barbutti, Mike Vax, Don Burrows, Victor Mendoza, Chris Calloway, Greg Abate, Doug Lawrence, and the Smothers Brothers, and has recorded with John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton. In addition, he has opened for Tito Puente, Pete Escovedo, Grover Washington Jr., Pancho Sanchez, and the Count Basie Orchestra.

Bert is one of five recipients of the 2013 Santa Fe Mayor’s Award for Excellence In The Arts.

Joshua Dennis

The Minneapolis Star Tribune praises tenor Joshua Dennis’ performances, exclaiming, “he made his sincerity believable, and his voice, a robust tenor with baritonal heft, rose to the high climaxes with ringing, ardent bravado.”

Now a full-time Santa Fe resident, Joshua Dennis has performed with the Seattle Opera, Minnesota Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, Kentucky Opera, Santa Fe Symphony, Opera Columbus, Opera Idaho,  Ash Lawn Opera, Opera Naples, and many other opera and concert halls across the world.

Christine Fawson

Christine Fawson, “a distinctive performer with compelling dynamism” (Downbeat Magazine), is an unforgettable talent who mesmerizes audiences around the world with her sultry vocals and virtuosic trumpet playing. Originally from Northern California, Christine has forged a path through jazz and commercial entertainment, and has sculpted the minds of young artists for over 20 years.

Endorsed by the prestigious Bach corporation, Christine was an innovative presence for 14 years on the Brass faculty at Berklee College of Music, where she showcased her talents in countless performances, recordings, promotional materials, and jazz clinics in several foreign partner schools.

Bob Fox

Jazz pianist and prolific composer Bob Fox is a founding member of the award-winning jazz quintet Straight Up. He has appeared with notable jazz artists including Christine Fawson, Stan Turrentine, Eddie Harris, Eddie Daniels, James Moody, Ira Sullivan, and countless others. A resident of Santa Fe with his wife Nancy since 1993, Bob holds degrees from the Berklee College of Music and University of Miami.

Susan Graham

Susan Graham – hailed as “an artist to treasure” by the New York Times – rose to the highest echelon of international performers within just a few years of her professional debut, mastering an astonishing range of repertoire and genres along the way. Her operatic roles span four centuries, from Monteverdi’s Poppea to Sister Helen Prejean in Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, which was written especially for her. A familiar face at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, she also maintains a strong international presence at such key venues as Paris’s Théâtre du Châtelet, Santa Fe Opera and the Hollywood Bowl. She won a Grammy Award for her collection of Ives songs, and has also been recognized throughout her career as one of the foremost exponents of French vocal music. Although a native of Texas, she was awarded the French government’s prestigious “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur,” both for her popularity as a performer in France and in honor of her commitment to French music.

Jacquelyn Helin

Steinway Artist Jacquelyn Helin consistently receives acclaim for her vibrant and musical playing of a wide-ranging repertoire. A versatile musician, she has played solo recitals in such venues as London’s Wigmore Hall, New York’s 92nd Street Y, Carnegie Recital Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Town Hall, and Washington DC’s Corcoran Gallery, Hirshhorn Museum, Dumbarton Oaks, and the Smithsonian Institution. An active chamber musician, she regularly performs with such orchestras as the Richmond Symphony, Santa Fe Symphony, Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Greenwich Symphony Orchestra, Symphony of the Southwest, and the Columbus Symphony. Active as a chamber musician, she regularly performs with the Santa Fe Opera, the New Mexico Performing Arts Society, and Chatter. 

Chad Hilligus

Performance Santa Fe’s Executive & Artistic Director, Chad Hilligus, began his career performing as a Resident Artist with some of the nation’s top opera houses before gaining international acclaim for his role as Tony in the 50th Anniversary World Tour of West Side Story. After over 200 performances, Chad left the tour to join the multi-platinum rock-opera group The Ten Tenors, with whom he toured internationally for nearly 3 years.

Chad has produced, directed, and performed in over 300 shows in more than 20 different countries across Northern America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Joshua Hopkins

Known as one of the finest singer-actors of his generation, Canadian baritone Joshua Hopkins has been hailed as having “…a glistening, malleable baritone of exceptional beauty, and…the technique to exploit its full range of expressive possibilities from comic bluster to melting beauty” (Opera Today).

Having established himself as a prominent leading artist throughout the United States and Canada, Joshua appears regularly at the Metropolitan Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera and Washington National Opera amongst many others, and has performed under the baton of renowned conductors such as Sir Andrew Davis, Matthew Halls, James Gaffigan, Yannick Nézet–Séguin, Plácido Domingo, and Hans Graf.

Ali MacGraw

From 1969 to 1972, Ali MacGraw starred in three of the four Top 10 highest-grossing movies of the year. She was 30 years old when she won a Golden Globe for her first real film role in 1969′s Philip Roth adaptation “Goodbye, Columbus.” Her next movie, “Love Story,” released in 1970, made her a household name. Two decades later she left California for New Mexico, where she still lives today.

Patricia Racette

Patricia Racette has been heralded as one of the preeminent singing actresses of our time. She has built and sustained an evolving career in the most acclaimed opera houses and concert stages of the world for over 30 years and continues to not only sustain her passion for this art form but also expand it to broader arenas as both stage director and master teacher.

An internationally recognized artist herself, she has sung leading roles at the major houses of the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Royal Opera House, La Scala, Paris Opera, Teatro Liceu, Teatro Real, Bayerische Staatsoper, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Canadian Opera Company, Ravinia Festival, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, and San Diego Opera. She established herself as a great interpreter of Janáček and Puccini, gaining particular acclaim for her portrayals of not only the title roles of Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Jenufa, Kátya Kabanová, and all three lead soprano roles in Il Trittico but also continues to make her mark in repertory expansion to include triumphant portrayals of Strauss’s Salome, Minnie in La Fancuilla del West, Katerina in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, Elle in La Voix Humaine,  and Kostelnicka in Jenufa. She also made her mark on The Met: Live in HD series as both leading lady in Madama ButterflyToscaPagliacci, and Peter Grimes as well as appearing as a favorite host for multiple other productions and outreach programs.

Robert Tweten

An active operatic conductor, Robert Tweten has conducted extensively throughout North America and currently holds the positions of Head of Music Staff for The Santa Fe Opera and Music Director of Opera Studies for New England Conservatory.

The 2020 season marked Robert’s 30th with The Santa Fe Opera, where he has held the position of Head of Music Staff since it was created for him in 2000. Since then, he has also been part of the selection team for the acclaimed Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program for Singers, as well as a faculty member of the Young Voices of The Santa Fe Opera program. During his tenure with SFO, Tweten has conducted performances of Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Katya Kabanova, The Pirates of Penzance, Ermione, and the 50th Anniversary Concert, and was on the podium for two performances of the Grammy award winning, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs.



If you have any questions or would prefer to make your donation over the phone, please call our office at 505 984 8759. We are happy to assist you!

Christmas at the Cathedral is presented through the generosity of
Richard Andrew & Diane Buchanan and the Andrew Family Foundation

Additional thanks to our 2020-2021 Season Sponsors:
Robin S. Black
Ann Murphy Daily & William W. Daily


Cathedral image by dave dilli