Chester River Chorale presents ‘A Chester River Holiday’
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.”
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.