Ch­ester River Cho­rale presents ‘A Ch­ester River Hol­i­day’

Record Observer - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

CH­ESTER­TOWN — For the sixth year in a row, the Ch­ester River Youth Choir will join in the Ch­ester River Cho­rale’s cel­e­bra­tion “A Ch­ester River Hol­i­day” for two per­for­mances at 7 p.m. Fri­day, Nov. 30, and at

4 p.m. Satur­day, Dec. 1. First, a string quar­tet play­ing “Silent Night.” Four so­pra­nos, each with two youth singers in tow, de­ploy to the four cor­ners of the sanc­tu­ary of the Pres­by­te­rian Church of Ch­ester­town; as the strings segue into “An­gels We Have Heard on High,” their voices sur­round the au­di­ence in song, a news re­lease states.

Then the rest of the

95-mem­ber Ch­ester River Cho­rale march in singing “Per­so­n­ent Hodie,” a Christ­mas carol dat­ing back to Me­dieval days, as the 20th an­nual pre­sen­ta­tion of “A Ch­ester River Hol­l­i­day” be­gins, once again cel­e­brat­ing the sea­son of ju­bi­la­tion, good will, and awe with songs of rev­er­ence, re­mem­brance, and hope for peace.

“There’s some­thing for ev­ery­body in this pro­gram,” said Dou­glas Cox, the cho­rale’s artis­tic di­rec­tor, in the re­lease. He called pro­gram­ming the an­nual hol­i­day sea­son con­cert “one of my fa­vorite things to do be­cause of the many mu­si­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties it of­fers.”

The string quar­ter, a dou­ble bass, an oboe, a harp, a flute, per­cus­sion, cho­rale ac­com­pa­nist Sammy Mar­shall on pi­ano, and cho­rale so­prano Stephanie King on or­gan will back the singers on many of the pieces. How­ever, the full cho­rale will per­form one song a cap­pella and the Ch­ester Cham­ber Singers, an au­di­tioned sub­set of the cho­rale, will per­form their full set with­out in­stru­men­tal back­ing as well.

The first por­tion of the pro­gram will fea­ture the full cho­rale singing two pieces by Amer­i­can com­posers. The first, Al­fred Burt’s “Christ­mas Greet­ings,” will be fol­lowed by Rosephanye Pow­ell’s “The Word Was God,” the a cap­pella piece that weaves a spell us­ing rep­e­ti­tions of the first three verses of the Gospel of John which be­gins: “In the be­gin­ning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Cox will then yield the ba­ton to as­sis­tant di­rec­tor and cho­rale so­prano Michelle Sensenig for ex­cerpts from an al­most 300-year-old Bach can­tata, “Das neuge­borne Kin­delein,” sung in Ger­man, and “The Ground,” a mod­ern piece sung in Latin that ends in a prayer for peace.

The cho­rale will in­vite the Ch­ester River Youth Choir to the stage with “Come Dear Chil­dren,” an­other Burt carol. To­gether, the cho­rale and youth choir will sing “Can­ti­cle of the Turn­ing.” As the cho­rale ex­its, leav­ing the stage to the chil­dren, the au­di­ence will be asked to sing along with “It’s the Most Won­der­ful Time of the Year.”

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

The Ch­ester River Youth Cho­rale will again this year join the Ch­ester River Cho­rale in cel­e­bra­tion of the hol­i­day sea­son. There will be two per­for­mances, at 7 p.m. Fri­day, Nov. 30 and at 4 p.m. Satur­day, Dec. 1.

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