Pedro the Lion When David Bazan decided to break up his band 10 years ago, it was less because of creative differences than internal conflict. Bazan was, after all, the sole founder and only constant in a band that over the course of four full-length albums and a couple EPs had amassed a devoted fanbase of young Christians and secular college rockers. Exceptionally earnest and gifted with an ear for melody and an aching delivery, he presented a complicated faith narrative that entertained doubt, ruminated on sin, and eventually left it all behind. Now he returns to that material with promise of more new songs to come. These shows are all sold out, but it might be worth following the band on Twitter for last-minute ticket release announcements. With Advance Base. Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave NW, 789-3599. 8 p.m. Wed.-Thurs., Dec. 20-21; 9 p.m. Fri., Dec. 22. $20. tractortavern.com
Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music The Duke composed music for three church performances—liturgies, essentially, combining jazz, blues, and gospel music—in 1965, ’68, and ’73 for San Francisco, New York, and London. Though not intended specifically for Christmas performance, music from these concerts has become a year-end tradition for the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra. They’ll be joined by the Northwest Chamber Chorus, vocal soloists Nichol Veneé Eskridge and Stephen Newby, and tap dancer Alex Dugdale. Presented by Earshot Jazz. At University Christian Church, 4731 15th Ave. N.E., 7:30 p.m. Sat., Dec. 30, and St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 8398 N.E. 12th St., Medina, 7:30 p.m. Sun., Dec. 31. $14–$40. earshot.org.
Messiah Sing- and Play-Along Handel’s 1741 setting of the story of the life of Christ, it’s said, is the oldest work that’s never been out of the active classical repertory. It’s also, probably not coincidentally, a blast to sing. Karen P. Thomas conducts the entire oratorio, and the choir will also sing the solos. If you’re singing, vocal scores will be available, or bring your own. If you’re playing, bring a music stand, but they’ll have parts for you. University Unitarian Church, 6556 35th Ave. N.E., uuchurch.org. $13–$18. 7 p.m. Tues., Dec. 26.
Byron Schenkman & Friends Though he died at 31, Schubert’s works number in the low four digits; he may hold the record for the ratio of hours of music produced to hours of life lived. But among all this, for some reason, are practically no pieces for solo instrument and either orchestra or piano—no full-fledged concertos at all and few sonatas, which are not among his most popular or often-heard chamber pieces. Jun Cho (a last-second fill-in for Schenkman, who suffered a minor accident) and Rachell Wong, though, will make a case for his Violin Sonata in A major on this all-Viennese program. Cellist Nathan Whittaker will join them for piano trios by Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart. Benaroya Recital Hall, Third Ave. & Union St., byronschenkman.com. $10–$42. 7 p.m. Thurs., Dec. 28.
BOOKS & SPEAKERS
Homage to Richard Hugo An evening of readings about the White Center-born, UW-trained, University of Montana-employed poet at one of the pubs he used to haunt. It’ll be followed by an open mic (“hopefully on Hugo-esque themes”) and the unveiling of a photo portrait. “I’m hoping this might become an annual event that preserves Hugo’s White Center legacy in some way,” says writer/event organizer Jeff Smoot. Sponsored by The Writer’s Workshop. Mac’s Triangle Pub, 9454 Delridge Way S.W., thewritersworkshop.net. Free. 8 p.m. Thurs., Dec. 21.