Here's another audio gift from CONCORA's recent Extraordinary Concert - our Gift of Hope for the holiday season. While you're listening, read what CONCORA singers have to say about preparing Saturday's "Christmas with CONCORA" concert for you.
Have you reserved your seats?
Here's a holiday audio gift
from CONCORA to wish you
HOPE OF THE SEASON
We’ve been sharing a few “audio gifts” from CONCORA’s recent "Extraordinary Concert" for you to enjoy. Last week we shared a Gift for JOY – Ed Tyler's sizzling arrangement of "Ezekiel Saw the Wheel,” performed by CONCORA and conducted by Mr. Tyler, director of the choral program at Manchester High School. Earlier this week, we sent you a Gift for PEACE – Daniel Gawthrop’s poignant “Sing Me to Heaven,” sung by CONCORA and conducted by Lorri Cetto, Director of Choral Activities at Hall High School (West Hartford).
Now, here’s aGift for HOPE – click to hear the combined high school choirs of Glastonbury, Greenwich, Guilford, Manchester, and Hall High (West Hartford) performing "Give me Music" by Amy Bernon, conducted by CONCORA’s Artistic Director Chris Shepard. In these young voices, says Chris, we hear hope for the future, especially the future of choral music.
These CONCORA singers are excited about “Christmas with CONCORA!”
“Exemplary musicianship” . . . “The true spirit of the season” . . . “Solace and sweet remembrance” We asked some of CONCORA’s singers to share their thoughts about preparing “Christmas with CONCORA” for you. Here’s what they said:
Baritone Jermaine Woodard, in his first season with CONCORA, is having a great time and wants you to be in on the joy: “Three-hour rehearsals with CONCORA: Where good tidings are definitely brought, and the atmosphere is jovial; Where every downbeat of a song invigorates you to perform it like it's new, telling the story as if it hasn't been told; Where Chris and the members of CONCORA fill the rehearsal hall and sanctuary with laughter, jokes, exemplary musicianship, fellowship, and a wide-scope of mini-anecdotes; Where plain ol' good vibes and the love of music is just swirling all around the room! I hope we get you in just the right mood for this season!”
Soprano Anne Collin, who has been singing with CONCORA for a few years, says “No holiday season feels complete to me without singing some carols, and it is a privilege to perform these gorgeous arrangements with such a talented ensemble. My favorite piece in the program is "In the Bleak Midwinter" — The lyrics of the final verse always touch my heart and speak to the true spirit of the season: "What I can, I give Him: give my heart."
Mezzo-soprano Cynthia Mellon, who has sung with CONCORA since 2001, is feeling nostalgic: “If you aren’t already in the Christmas spirit, I guarantee that this concert will get you there. The music Chris has selected has been a solace and sweet remembrance of all the music I have sung during Advent, and for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services.” And Cynthia hopes to see you on Saturday: “It means the world for us singers to see a full audience – and not just our friends and family, but all those who share our love of beautiful music and texts. I look forward to seeing your smiling faces in the audience on Saturday evening.”
Soprano Nancy Hemstreet Eaton, a long-tenured member of CONCORA who says that “her mission in life is to make music happen,” has been thinking about the pleasures of making music with other people. She says: “Most of the Christmas program is unaccompanied, and it's especially thrilling to sing in a mixed arrangement (that is, not in separate soprano, alto, tenor, and bass sections) where each singer can hear and respond to all the other parts. I was reminded of a poem by Garrison Keillor that captures the essence of the experience.” To be caught up with other people in a moment of grace…
like geese flying in formation,
like a tree full of birds that suddenly rise up and wheel off toward the west,
like a school of fish –
the beauty of music, the beauty of being with the others,
to be beautiful in just the same way that all of them are beautiful,
that’s the gorgeous thing about music.
Joy … love of music … the true spirit of the season … solace and sweet remembrance … making music with and for others – That’s the essence of “Christmas with CONCORA.”
We hope you will join us to be part of this special experience.