Ch­ester River Chorale presents ‘A Ch­ester River Hol­i­day’

Record Observer - - Arts & Entertainment -

CHESTERTOWN — As De­cem­ber be­gins, the Ch­ester River Chorale will her­ald Christ­mas and Chanukah with its 18th annual pre­sen­ta­tion of “A Ch­ester River Hol­i­day,” a mu­si­cal an­nounce­ment of the sea­son of ju­bi­la­tion and awe.

The treble voices of the Ch­ester River Youth Choir will again join in for the cel­e­bra­tion in the sanc­tu­ary of the Pres­by­te­rian Church of Chestertown for two per­for­mances, the first at 7:30 p.m. Fri­day, Dec. 2, and the sec­ond at 1 p.m. Satur­day, Dec. 3.

“There is some­thing for ev­ery­one in this hol­i­day con­cert whether your mu­si­cal taste fa­vors what is fa­mil­iar, or whether you en­joy hear­ing some­thing new, the pro­gram is a 90 minute fes­ti­val of mu­sic, at times joy­ous and at other times serene,” said Dou­glas Cox, the Chorale’s artis­tic di­rec­tor.

“We fea­ture the re­mark­able tal­ent of mezzo-so­prano Me­gan Sum­mers, new to the CRC stage, and we will be joined again by the an­gelic voices of The Ch­ester River Youth Choir, un­der the di­rec­tion of our board pres­i­dent, so­prano Julie Lawrence,” Cox con­tin­ued.

“We also wel­come back to the podium CRC so­prano Michelle Sensenig, a gifted singer, pi­anist, and all-around mu­si­cian, as guest con­duc­tor,” he said, adding, “As al­ways, our hol­i­day pro­gram prom­ises to launch the sea­son in a spirit of hope and joy.”

Five string play­ers, a flautist, oboist, and two per­cus­sion­ists, along with the Chorale’s own ac­com­pa­nist, Sammy Mar­shall on pi­ano and or­gan, will back up the singers.

From danc­ing a min­uet through a Baroque Mag­ni­fi­cat in Latin to rac­ing through Leroy An­der­son’s “Sleigh Ride,” the 90-voice Chorale’s pro­gram will hit all the high notes — re­li­gious and sec­u­lar — of the hol­i­day. Fa­mil­iar Yuletide fa­vorites in­clude “O Come All Ye Faith­ful,” “In the Bleak Mid­win­ter” and “I Won­der as I Wan­der.”

For the fourth year in a row, the Ch­ester River Youth Choir will join in the fes­tiv­i­ties, thus the singers will range in age from 8 to 80 plus. The young­sters will sound the first notes, lead­ing the rest of the singers onto the stage. Later in the pro­gram, they will per­form “Carol from an Ir­ish Cabin,” a haunt­ing evo­ca­tion of the Epiphany, and “Win­ter Starlight,” a sea­sonal piece writ­ten espe­cially for chil­dren.

The Youth Choir will join in with the Chorale’s rous­ing and joy­ful “Chanukah, Oh Chanukah.” Lis­ten for the men­tions of drei­dels to spin, latkes to eat, and of course the can­dles to light in the Meno­rah over eight days of the Fes­ti­val of Lights cel­e­brat­ing the Mac­cabean tri­umph and reded­i­ca­tion of the Jerusalem tem­ple in 165 BCE.

Among the pre­sen­ta­tions by the Ch­ester Cham­ber Singers, a small group drawn from the ranks of the full Chorale, will be “To­mor­row Shall Be My Danc­ing Day,” based on a tra­di­tional Cor­nish song more than 700 years old, and “Christ­mas in the Straw,” a square-danc­ing salute to the sea­son.

The au­di­ence will get their chance to join in on two Christ­mas clas­sics, “White Christ­mas” and “The Christ­mas Song” (Chest­nuts Roast­ing on an Open Fire).

Sug­gested do­na­tion is $15 at the door with chil­dren free. Pa­trons are urged to come at least 15 min­utes early to be as­sured of be­ing seated.

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