There are the holiday music traditions Cincinnatians have come to love such as the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops, church-based events like Covington's Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption Advent Festival and the New Year's Boar's Head and Yule Log Festival at Christ Church.
     But there are also offbeat holiday-themed shows and seasonal music events that have become local traditions as well, ranging from rock and jazz events to barbershop singing.
Steve Schmidt
    One of Cincinnati's premiere jazz pianists continues his 10-year tradition of the "Steve Schmidt Organ Trio Christmas Spectacular," dusting off his Hammond organ and teaming up with vocalist Eugene Goss for a warm set of holiday favorites. Dec. 19-20 at the Comet, Northside.
Mighty Wurlitzer
    It's been called "an orchestra in one organ," and each Christmas, the Albee Theater's restored Mighty Wurlitzer cranks up its bells, whistles and other effects for an annual holiday concert. This year's organist is Ken Double with German carols from the Fairview Clifton Kinderchoir on Dec. 15 in the Music Hall Ballroom.
Southern Gateway Chorus
    One of the first local groups to be entered in next year's World Choir Games, the 70-member Southern Gateway Chorus has consistently been rated one of the top choirs in the country, preserving the a cappella four-part harmony barbershop style. Its annual Christmas shows are Dec. 10 at Lakota East High School and Dec. 11 at Harrison High School.
   Three of Cincinnati's most beloved rock, jazz and bluegrass artists have held court for years on Sunday nights at their respective clubs. Each works in holiday music this time of year:
    THE COMET BLUEGRASS ALL-STARS have performed Sunday nights at the Comet in Northside for more than 15 years. Band leader Ed Cunningham specializes in offbeat Celtic holiday songs, including a few he has written himself.
   One of the area's finest rock-and-soul outfits, THE BLUEBIRDS BIG BAND, has held court for 20 years on Sunday nights at Allyn's Café, Columbia Tusculum. You can probably dance to their revved up "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."
    The area's premiere jazz vocalist, MARY ELLEN TANNER, can be found at Chez Nora, Covington, Sunday nights. See if you can still snag the Christmas CD she released several years ago. It's a gem. If not, she'll take requests.
    It's the time of the year for family gatherings. That's no different for some of the area's rock bands and their  extended family of fans that have  followed them over the years. Among this season's gathering of the rock clans:
   For those nostalgic for the tender days of head-banging at the JOCKEY CLUB, several bands that performed at the famed Newport punk rock club in the 1980s reunite. They include The Wolverton Brothers, Snare & The Idiots, SS-20, The Edge. Nov. 12; Southgate house.
    PSYCHODOTS members all remain active on the Cincinnati music scene: Guitarist Rob Fetters runs a commercial music scoring studio and is working on a new solo album; bassist Bob Nyswonger performs in a bunch of bands including Tickled Pink and Bucket; drummer Chris Arduser appears with the Bluebirds and toured this year with the reformed Blessid Union of Souls. No matter their solo pursuits, the three power rockers have reconvened for the last 20 years every Thanksgiving weekend for the Psychodot show. Nov. 23 at Dayton's Canal Street; Nov. 25 at the Southgate House. Opening act: Brian Lovely. 
    HOMUNCULUS, one of Cincinnati's great pop-rock bands reunites for a show that benefits the Wellness Community of Cincinnati Dec. 20 at the Southgate House. Before going their separate ways, the quintet left a local legacy of quirky, inventive pop music. Band members say this is just a one-time reunion.