'Sending You A Little Christmas'

Area choral groups bring the sounds of the season alive

Area choral groups bring the sounds of the season alive

December 08, 2005|by KRISTIN WILSON

Nothing helps ring in the holiday season like the sounds of classic Christmas carols.

Many groups in the Tri-State area are planning holiday concerts, bringing to life both seasonal favorites and festive classical music. St. Patrick's Chorale and the Hagerstown Choral Arts Vocal Ensemble both plan to present their annual Christmastime concerts this weekend in Hagerstown.

The Hagerstown Choral Arts concert - entitled "What Shall We Sing?" - will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at Trinity Lutheran Church in Hagerstown.

The concert includes traditional Christmas songs like "Once in Royal David's City," "Coventry Carol" and "He Is Born." Selections from Vivaldi's "Gloria" also will be presented.


"The style of music is a lot of carols, some holiday favorites, a lot of sacred music," says Carolyn Mentzer, president of Hagerstown Choral Arts Inc. The Cathedral Ringers handbell choir of Otterbein United Methodist Church will accompany the chorus, as well as a brass quintet, pianist, organist and a student cellist from North Hagerstown High School.

"We like to have a very lush vocal sound when all 75 of us are singing together," Mentzer says. "I can just imagine how rich it will sound when it all comes together."

Hagerstown Choral Arts is an all-volunteer, auditioned community chorus that has been performing regularly for 12 years. The concert will be under the direction of Greg Shook.

"It's quite an artfully arranged program of both the solemn and fun favorites of the Christmas season," says Kevin Moriarty, vice president of Hagerstown Choral Arts. "This is just such an impressive assembly of more than 70 voices and it's a beautiful setting. If you are a traditionalist about Christmas, this is the performance for you."

St. Patrick's Chorale will perform its "Christmas in the Air" concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11, at Christ's Reformed Church on West Franklin Street.

The concert will be divided into two parts, according to Sandra Shirey, director of St. Patrick's Chorale. The first part of the concert includes the Children's Chorus - 14 singers ages 8 to 14. They will present holiday music that reflects Christmas across multiple cultures.

One musical piece shows the geographical diversity of the United States, including segments of songs that reflect Texas, and the regions of the Bayou and the Great Lakes. Another shows "the way different cultures celebrate," Shirey says. For example, Mexican Christmas traditions are explored through song as well as traditions of Kwanzaa and Hanukkah.

The adult chorus will perform a song called "Sending You a Little Christmas," which is intended for military service members currently deployed.

"It's our way of singing and sending ... a Christmas greeting to those serving in the military. Our audience will identify with that," Shirey says. "Many people who come and see us have a family member or associate who has served or is currently serving."

The second half of the concert will move into more sacred Christmas music in a composition called "A Great and Mighty Wonder." The work includes an adaptation from selections of Handel's "Messiah."

Both St. Patrick's Chorale and Hagerstown Choral Arts perform two annual concerts. Each group performs one in December.

If you go ...

WHAT: Hagerstown Choral Arts Holiday Concert

WHEN: 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10

WHERE: Trinity Lutheran Church, 15 Randolph Ave., Hagerstown

COST: $12, adults; $10, seniors and students; free for Hagerstown Community College students with valid student I.D.

MORE: Tickets can be purchased in Hagerstown at the Washington County Arts Council, 14 W. Washington St., or Music and Arts Center, 1337 Pennsylvania Ave.; or by calling 301-665-9424. Tickets also will be available at the door.

If you go ...

WHAT: St. Patrick's Chorale Holiday Concert

WHEN: 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11

WHERE: Christ's Reformed Church, 130 W. Franklin St., Hagerstown

COST: Free, donations welcome

MORE: For more information about the chorale, go to St. Patrick's Chorale members, from left, Debbie Stevenson, Jackie Korrell and Faith Mentzer rehearse for the group's upcoming performance.

CREDIT: By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

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