As December begins, the Chester River Chorale will herald Christmas and Chanukah with their 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 beautiful sanctuary of the Presbyterian Church of Chestertown for two performances, the first at 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 2, and the second at 1 p.m. Saturday, December 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 eight 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).
The suggested donation at the door is $15 with children free. No tickets will be sold in advance. The Chorale has been performing to full houses for the past several years, so patrons are urged to come at least 15 minutes early to be assured of being seated.
Chorale members are amateur singers drawn mainly from Kent and Queen Anne’s counties. If you love to sing, come join us. No audition is required.
The Chester River Chorale is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization funded in part by the Kent County Arts Council and by an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive.
The CRC’s Mission is to provide opportunity and inspiration for amateur singers to strive for artistic excellence. CRC performances entertain diverse audiences and enrich the cultural life of the community. For more information, visit www.chesterriverchorale.org or call 410–928-5566.