The Idyllwild Master Chorale’s 2017 holiday concert. File photo

By Marshall Smith

Idyllwild is a perfect holiday card, unique in Southern California for its small-town holiday character — a must-visit tourist destination for anyone seeking a respite from the hurried pace of city life.

And as if that weren’t enough, the town already experienced its first heavy snowfall on Thanksgiving Day. The central square of the town has tall sequoias decorated in thousands of Christmas lights. 

As a Christmas centerpiece for your holiday festivities, the Idyllwild Master Chorale (IMC) presents an international holiday music menu with “I Remember Christmas” — carols from around the world and contemporary favorites brilliantly arranged and orchestrated. 

Under the direction of Dwight “Buzz” Holmes, son of IMC founder Robert Evans Holmes, the chorale has been uplifting Southern California audiences for over 40 years with its mix of classical and contemporary choral music including Handel, Vivaldi and Morten Lauridsen, who was a 2007 National Medal of Arts recipient. 

“I think there are many hidden treasures within each of the chorale and orchestral music sections: Vivaldi, French, Spanish, English and American in both the contemporary and jazz sets,” said Buzz. 

There are two featured compositions from the Holmes family: “I Remember Christmas” by Buzz. The composition is a celebration of Idyllwild’s winter beauty composed while Holmes was sweltering in Los Angeles’ summer traffic. “Beams of Gentle Light,” a remembrance of the special light of Hanukkah candles, is the other composition written by Robert with lyrics by Buzz.

Come to Idyllwild and experience its beauty, peace, people and music.

“I Remember Christmas” is at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21 and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 22 at William M. Lowman Concert Hall on the Idyllwild Arts Campus, 52500 Temecula Rd. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students and available at the door or online at

Following the Sunday performance, from 6-9 p.m. at the Grand Idyllwild Lodge, 54820 Pine Crest Avenue, is an intimate Afterglow Gala with music from Sherry Williams, Marshall Hawkins and Bob Boss as well as food, wine and a silent auction. Tickets, $75 each, are available through the website or by calling 951-659-2650.