Called “spellbinding” (The Boston Globe) and “beyond category” (Downbeat), The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra will perform An American Christmas, celebrating the band’s 42nd Annual Christmas Concert on December 20 at 7:30 pm, Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury St, Boston MA 02116. $20 at the door. Information: 617 776 8778 or 617 452 3205. The show will include William Billings’ Shepherd’s Carol, two African American spirituals, and selections from the exuberant Duke Ellington/Billy Strayhorn Nutcracker Suite, plus movements from Mark Harvey’s Bethlehem Counterpoint, including The Prophet, inspired by Boston’s legendary social activist Kip Tiernan (1926-2011). Proceeds will benefit Poor People’s United Fund, fighting poverty and homelessness since 1980 (co-founded by Tiernan).