High Sea­son on HIGH STREET

CHO­RUS OF WESTERLY IN FULL VOICE DUR­ING HOL­I­DAYS

The Day - Sound & Country - - In Perfect Harmony - By KA­T­RINA T. GATH­ERS Day Staff Writer

NNo mat­ter where you live, when Thanks­giv­ing and Christ­mas roll around you’re likely to be vis­ited by that strolling group of car­ol­ers hop­ing to share, vo­cally, their hol­i­day joy with you. Some of th­ese groups may be top-notch, but just in case the ones who knock on your door are less than stel­lar, gas up the car and head down toWesterly for an evening of choral de­light.

The Cho­rus ofWesterly kicked off its 50th sea­son in Septem­ber, and in honor of the half cen­tury mark the or­ga­ni­za­tion has planned a year filled with new pro­grams, along with some old fa­vorites.

On Nov. 23, the 200-mem­ber cho­rus will per­form Hodie (“This Day”), a piece cre­ated by Bri­tish com­poser Ralph Vaugh­anWil­liams. Call­ing the com­po­si­tionWil­liams’ “crown­ing choral mas­ter­piece,” cho­rus or­ga­niz­ers say the work is also a fit­ting trib­ute to the birth of the cho­rus.

“Hodie is a ra­di­ant mo­saic of po­etry, gospel and lush orches­tral de­tail …,” say or­ga­niz­ers. “Ex­pect breath­less­ness as the cho­rus ush­ers in the Christ­mas sea­son.”

Wil­liams, who died in 1958, com­posed sym­phonies, cham­ber and choral mu­sic, op­eras, film scores and Chris­tian hymns. He pub­lished his first piece at age 30. At­ten­dees can take in one of two af­ter­noon shows (which are held on Sun­days) to lis­ten to theWil­liams’ pro­duc­tion.

And less than a month later, the cho­rus will host three per­for­mances of its an­nual Christ­mas Pops pro­gram.

The pop­u­lar show, put on just four days be­fore Christ­mas, is set in a twin­kling, fes­tive back­drop cre­ated in the per­for­mance hall. The youngest mem­bers of the cho­rus dec­o­rate the hall with lights and gar­land, and for sev­eral years have fo­cused on one spe­cific theme.

“Last year we had such suc­cess with the kids mak­ing gi­ant or­na­ments out of plain white beach balls,” says Emma Palzere-Rae, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the cho­rus. “We haven’t fi­nal­ized a theme yet for this year, but we’re ex­cited.”

The per­for­mance, which be­gan in 1981, is ac­com­pa­nied by the 55-in­stru­ment Bos­ton Fes­ti­val Or­ches­tra. “We per­form just about ev­ery­thing with a full or­ches­tra,” says Palz­ereRae. “How many in­stru­ments we need de­pends on the mu­sic we are per­form­ing.”

The hol­i­day sea­son con­cludes with A Cel­e­bra­tion of Twelfth Night, a show that fills the 440-seat hall for each of six con­certs. The fam­ily event in­volves mu­sic, dance, tragedy and com­edy, and myth­i­cal crea­tures cen­tered around a newly scripted play each year.

The cast of more than 100 hosts a Peas­ants’ Feast be­tween the 4 and 7 p.m. shows.

“The kids start learn­ing the mu­sic at a camp in Au­gust,” says the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, of the sea­son’s per­for­mances. “Then every­one starts re­hearsals the week of La­bor Day and con­tin­ues straight through the sea­son.”

All of the con­certs are held at the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s newly ren­o­vated per­for­mance hall, which was reded­i­cated in Septem­ber 2005 as the Ge­orge Kent Per­for­mance Hall in honor of the orig­i­nal and cur­rent mu­sic di­rec­tor.

For ticket in­for­ma­tion, con­tact the box of­fice at 401-596-8663 or visit the cho­rus’sWeb site at www.cho­ru­sofwest­erly.org.

High Sea­son on High Street Cho­rus of Westerly in full voice dur­ing hol­i­days

OP­PO­SITE, CHO­RUS MEM­BERS SHOW OFF THEIR ACT­ING CHOPS DUR­ING “A CEL­E­BRA­TION OF TWELFTH NIGHT.” JEFF EVANS / THE DAY; RIGHT, CHO­RUS MEM­BERS RUN THROUGH THEIR HOL­I­DAY SONG­BOOK. DANA JENSEN / THE DAY; BE­LOW, CEL­E­BRAT­ING “TWELFTH NIGHT.” DANA JENSEN / THE DAY

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