Oxford, it has to be said, is a creature of habit, particularly so at Christmas – thank goodness!

It really wouldn’t be Christmas without the traditional carol concerts at Christ Church, Oxford Bach Choir’s jolly Carols for All, the annual visit from The Sixteen and a Messiah or two. All this, and more, is back on the menu this year.

In fact, there are four Messiahs to choose from, and there’s a nice link between two of them.

John Lubbock will be conducting the annual Orchestra of St John’s Messiah at Dorchester Abbey on Saturday using his own arrangement for wind ensemble. Soloists are Hannah Davey (soprano), Charlotte Tetley (mezzo), John Findon (tenor) and William Thomas (bass), and they are joined by OSJ Voices.

Five days later, the same orchestration will be used by vOx Chamber Choir and Oxford Sinfonia at the SJE, and conductor David Crown – who formed vOx three years ago – is excited to be establishing this connection.

“John used to conduct the National Children’s Orchestra, which I joined at eight and was in until I was twelve, and he was one of my childhood heroes!” he says. “He was the first professional conductor I’d worked with.

“We’ve got this arrangement for wind ensemble and brass, cello and organ, and I think it works really, really well. I’ve done a lot of Messiahs, but I’ve never done one with this arrangement, so I’m really looking forward to it.

“vOx performed quite a few Messiahs last year, and it’s really nice to have a group that has enough power for all the bigger moments but also has the finesse to sing all the runs correctly!”

David has recruited four outstanding young soloists for the SJE Messiah: Camilla Harris (soprano), Felicity Turner (mezzo), Rhys Batt (tenor) and Robert Clark (bass).

There’s also the Oxford Philharmonic Orchestra’s Messiah tonight at the Sheldonian with Mhairi Lawson (soprano), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (mezzo soprano), Daniel Norman (tenor) and Matthew Brook (bass). They are joined by Schola Cantorum of Oxford and conductor Marios Papadopoulos.

On 22nd December, you can catch Instruments of Time and Truth’s candlelit Messiah at the University Church, conducted by Edward Higginbottom and featuring Claire Booth (soprano), Alexander Chance (alto), Nick Pritchard (tenor) and Giles Underwood (bass).

If you’re looking for something a little different, The Sixteen is at the SJE tomorrow night with The Little Child, an eclectic feast of traditional carols and seasonal choral music from the Renaissance to the 21st century, including pieces by Byrd, McDowall, Walton and more. Harry Christophers conducts.

Also tomorrow night is the first of the traditional Christmas at Christ Church concerts. Steven Grahl conducts the Christ Church Cathedral Choir in a range of seasonal music, interspersed with readings, and there opportunities for the audience to join in with favourite carols. The concert is repeated next Wednesday.

Finally, head to the Sheldonian this Saturday for the Oxford Bach Choir’s joyful Carols for All, conducted for the first time this year by Benjamin Nicholas. The choir will be joined by young singers and instrumentalists from Oxfordshire County Music Service for an evening of festive cheer, including the irresistible audience sing-along version of The Twelve Days of Christmas, which always has everybody laughing and creates a wonderful community spirit. And that, surely, is what Christmas is all about.

More festive musical fun

* Deck the hall! The Headington Singers are in action at All Saints’ Church, Headington tomorrow. See how many familiar tunes you can spot in this performance of Ronald Corp’s A Christmas Mass, in which a cornucopia of Christmas carol melodies are interwoven to amazing effect.

The performance is preceded by seasonal carols and readings. With Julian Littlewood (organ) and conductor Sally Mears.

It starts at 7.30pm. Tickets: on the door

* In recognition of the Armistice centenary, Jubilate present Peace Be To You at Keble College Chapel, Oxford, tomorrow.

This concert features carols reflecting the Christmas spirit of peace on earth, written by composers who were affected by war. Carols by Poulenc, Howells, Holst, Parry and others are interwoven with seasonal readings. With conductor James Potter.

It starts at 7.30pm. Tickets from 01865 305305 or ticketsoxford.com

* Thame Chamber Choir & Thame Children’s Choir together present a double bill of concerts called Follow That Star!

The twin helping of carol concerts has bags of audience participation and fun. The earlier concert is 45 minutes long and is ideal for families with young children.

The evening concert, compèred by actor Bruce Alexander, is candlelit and includes mince pies and mulled wine.

It takes place at St Mary’s Church, Thame, on Saturday, at 4.30pm and 7.30pm.

Tickets from thamechamberchoir.org

* Mark Jordan conducts Oxford Pro Musica Singers’ traditional Christmas concert, at Keble College Chapel, Oxford, on Saturday at 7.30pm.

The Christmas Cracker evening includes choral music, old and new, seasonal readings and carols for audience participation. This concert is always popular, so snap up tickets as quickly as you can. Call 01865 305305 or visit ticketsoxford.com

* East Oxford Community Choir hold their Christmas Concert at St Mary & St John Church, Cowley Road, on Monday, at 7.30pm. This traditional Christmas concert includes favourite carols as well as Heinrich Schutz’s Weihnachtshistorie (‘History of the night of Christ’s birth’), first performed in Dresden in 1660.

With Robin Whitehouse (Evangelist) and conductor Dexter Drown.