The Channel Islands Ballet Company, joined by an orchestra, will return with its annual offering of Tchaikovsky’s holiday favorite, “The Nutcracker"--this time around featuring new choreography. Held at the Oxnard Civic Auditorium, 800 Hobson Way, the performances will include professional guest artists from the Bolshoi and Odessa ballets. Paul Polivnick will return to conduct a 44-piece symphony. The Sugar Plum Fairy and gang will take to the stage at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets range from $11 to $28. A special 2:30 p.m. Saturday matinee will be accompanied by recorded music. Tickets for that show range from $6-$22. Information: 486-2424.


Holiday music will abound at various venues around Ventura County. Enthusiasts have the option of choosing from a variety of programs, including works by such composers as Vivaldi, Bach and Piazzola. Here’s a look:


* “Ethereal Tango” is the title of the Ventura County Chamber Orchestra’s concert, which will be held at 8 p.m. Friday at the San Buenaventura Mission, 211 E. Main St., Ventura. The program will include Bach’s Sonata for Flute in C Major, Pinkham’s “Missa Domestica, " plus works by Handel, Piazzola and others. Guest artists include flutist Carol Lockart, guitarist Matthew Greif and soprano Camille King. Tickets: $15. Information: 648-3146.

* The Moorpark Community Orchestra will present its Winter Concert at 8 p.m. Friday at the Moorpark College Campus Center, 7075 Campus Drive. Music conductor James J. Song will lead the orchestra in Haydn’s “Clock,” Rossini’s “William Tell” and Strauss’ Serenade, Op. 7. Tickets: $5, $3 senior citizens and students. Information: 378-1495.

* California Lutheran University Choirs and Community Orchestra will present their Christmas Festival Concerts at the campus’ Samuelson Chapel, 60 W. Olsen Road, Thousand Oaks. There will be three performances: 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday. Faculty soloists will accompany and the program will include Christmas favorites. Freewill offering. Information: 493-3151.

* The Los Robles Master Chorale’s “A Christmas Celebration” will be staged at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Civic Arts Plaza Auditorium, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks. The program includes Poulenc’s “Gloria” and Vivaldi’s “Magnificat” for soloists and orchestra. Performers include soprano Marilyn Anderson, a handbell duo and the Amadeus Boys Choir. Tickets: $8-$25. Information: 449-2787 or 482-2866.

UP THE COAST * The Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts will open Saturday with “Julius Caesar,” Shakespeare’s classic drama of conspiracy and political assassination. Held at the Allan Hancock College Severson Theater, Santa Maria, performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets: $12-$18. Information: (800) 549-PCPA.

* New York City’s early music ensemble the Waverly Consort will bring its dramatic musical retelling of “The Christmas Story” to UC Santa Barbara’s Campbell Hall at 8 p.m. Saturday. The music used in the production was written between the 10th and 14th centuries and represents early European Christmas celebrations from Spain to England. Tickets: $10-$18. Information: 893-3535.

* The ECM Festival Jazz Orchestra will perform Duke Ellington’s arrangement of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Suite” at 8 p.m. Sunday at UC Santa Barbara’s Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall. The program also includes works by George Gershwin, Bix Beiderbecke and more. Tickets: $7, $10. Information: 893-3535.