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Soulful Joy

Monday, December 19 @ 7:30 pm 8:30 pm

Experience a new sound for the holidays at Grace Cathedral! Led by Destiny Muhammad and her cool, eclectic Sonic Ensemble of Bay Area Masters: musicians Leon Joyce, Jr., Tammy Lynne Hall, and Ron Belcher; voices Leberta Lorál, Nicolas Bearde, and Will Hammond Jr.; and dancers Carla Service and Victor Temple. The feeling of jazz, a hint of storytelling – reflecting and reimagining the holiday spirit with music and sacred movement. Soulful Joy! The beginning of a beautiful new tradition at Grace Cathedral!  

Since 1947, Christmas at Grace Cathedral has offered an ideal way to ring in the season, with magnificent music, a majestic setting, and astonishing acoustics. Experience the deep connection between spirit and art at Grace Cathedral this Christmas. 

This performance is 60 minutes with no intermission. Children are very welcome if they are mature enough to quietly enjoy a jazz concert. Thank you for your understanding.  

Event Details

Doors open for seating one hour before start time. The entrance to the cathedral is at the top of the Great Steps. The accessible entrance is via the glass doors on Taylor Street. Wheelchair seating locations are at the front of each General Admission section. Please call 415.749.6355 for more information or to reserve wheelchair seating.

About the  Artists  

Destiny Muhammad (Harpist/Vocals)  

Recording and performing artist, bandleader, composer and producer, her genre ‘Celtic to Coltrane’is cool and eclectic with a feel of jazz and storytelling to round out the sonic experience. She has appeared on stage with jazz luminaries Azar Lawrence, BlueNote artist Ambrose Akisemuire, Faye Carol and Tiffany Austin to name a few.  She has enjoyed sold out shows at SFJAZZ Center and produces her own annual concert ‘STORYTIME’ Great Jazz & Captivating Stories. As bandleader, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival notes: “The Destiny Muhammad Trio is a sleek and soulful ensemble designed to showcase Muhammad’s soaring vocals and transporting string work. Whether interpreting jazz standards or her original tunes, Muhammad turns every piece into a soulful adventure.“ 

Leon Joyce, Jr.(Drums/Percussions)   

Bandleader, clinician and music director, he has a rich established global presence. He has worked directly with jazz masters Ramsey Lewis, Regina Carter, Nneena Freelon and more. He is the featured Teaching Artist for the Stanford Jazz Workshop series. His Jazz Festival performances have spanned the Bay Area and beyond: SFMusic Day, Monterey Jazz Fest, Montreux Jazz Fest, Canada and The Villigen Jazz Fest, Germany.   

Tammy Lynne Hall(Piano)   

Winner of The Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Best Musical Direction for Pamela Rose’s Blues Is A Woman. She balances between Teaching Artist, artivism, music director, composer and conductor. Her list of stellar jazz artists she has worked with include Terri Lyne Carrington, Tia Fuller and a recent stint with San Francisco Symphony on jazz collaboration. Her career spans almost four decades, with no end in sight.   

Ron Belcher(Bass)  

He has traveled the nation and the world bringing his rhythmically buoyant, emotionally uplifting style to the stage for a wide array of jazz artists. He has performed or recorded with such international stars as Branford Marsalis, Regina Carter, John Handy, Pete Escovedo, Donald Bailey, Ledisi, Rodney Franklin and Ernie Andrews, as well as a virtual “who’s who” of the San Francisco jazz scene.  

Nicolas Bearde(Voice)  
Nicolas Bearde is an award-winning vocalist, with six CDs on his own label, Right Groove Records. His most recent album, “I Remember You: The Music of Nat King Cole” featuring special guest and sax great, Eric Alexander, rose quickly to the Top 20 on the Jazz Week Charts, garnering rave reviews at home and abroad. Theatre credits include “Jukebox,” a staged radio play starring Danny Glover and Athol Fugard’s “Master Harold”…and the Boys.” He then expanded into film and television, and was also a member of  Bobby McFerrin’s ground-breaking a cappella group, “Voicestra” and later, a branch-off, SoVoSò.  

Will Hammond Jr.(Voice)  

Singer/songwriter Will Hammond Jr.’s musical career began at Cathedral School for Boys and Grace Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys. After high school, he performed with up-and-coming black alternative/hip-hop bands Bass House Funk and Midnight Voices. While at San Francisco State he wrote Tara Kemp’s international hit, “Hold You Tight,” which went to #3 on the Billboard Pop and R&B charts and became a certified gold record. Hammond Jr. has written for various artist in Los Angeles and performed tracks with other Bay Area talents like The Coup, Midnight Voices, Ledisi, Martin Luther, Goapele, and Patti Labelle.  

Leberta Lorál (Voice)  
Highlights for Leberta Lorál’s 2022-2023 season are the opening night of the Exploratorium exhibit, “Glow,” debuting at the 65th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, “Classical Broadway” with Tammy Lynne Hall, featured appearances at the Cinnabar Theater, San Ramon Public Library’s Jazz Series, SandBoxSandCity, Monterey County Composers’ Forum at Hidden Valley Music, the 25th African-American Art Song Alliance, and tonight’s performance! In 2019, Lorál won KDFC’s Star Spangled Sing-Off. A regional winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, she made numerous appearances as the featured soloist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Southeast Symphony, and the Los Angeles Master Chorale.  

Carla Service(Choreographer Dancer)   

Carla Service of Dance-A-Vision Entertainment/School of Dance has been in business for over 30 years. She has produced the Oakland Art & Soul Dance stage for 20 years and she is the founder of “The Oakland Dance Festival” held in Jack London Square. She has produced many events throughout the Bay Area and abroad: Japan, Tahiti, and Cambodia, just to name a few.  


Victor Temple  (Choreographer Dancer)  

Victor Temple is an internationally known dancer, choreographer, and teacher. He has danced with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Cirque Du Soleil, American Repertory Ballet, Oakland Ballet, Alabama Ballet, New Jersey Ballet, Hangzhou Song and Dance Group, Shanghai Ballet, and the Central Ballet of China. While living in China, he won a gold medal in the Asian Choreography Competition and was the first westerner to hold a position as a member of the Chinese Dancers’ Associations. Temple choreographed the opening of the China and Hong Kong reunification ceremony. He has been Artistic Director of New World Ballet since 2005 and was named one of the 22 People to Watch in 2022 by the Press Democrat.  

Be a Christmas Angel: Sponsorship Opportunities  

The magic of Christmas lives on at Grace because of our generous sponsors. You make these concerts possible, and enable us to make this beloved Christmas tradition accessible to all in this most extraordinary year. Sponsorships start at $500. For more information visit our Christmas Sponsorships page or contact our Development Office at [email protected] or 415-749-6352. Thank you! 

Find out about our  Christmas Services  and other Christmas concerts, A Cathedral Christmas, Brass and Organ Christmas  , and  Sing You A Merry Christmas.