Monday, January 07, 2008

Christmas Concert 2007

Well, I'd like to get this post done while we're still technically in the midst of the Christmas season, though this concert took place nearly a month ago. : )

All in all, it was wonderful. I was very proud of my directors and their respective ensembles for the time that they put in during that busy time of year and the outstanding result that I heard at the concert. The line-up:

Preludes (brass):

I Saw Three Ships (arr. Richard Price)
O Come, O Come Emmanuel (arr. Richard Price)

Processional:

O Come, O Come Emmanuel (chant w/organ)

Schola:

Ecce Virgo (Communio for Advent 4)
"O" Antiphons (O Oriens and O Emmanuel)

I direct this group; we had 4 men and 2 women for the concert. They did a fine job, though I wish I hadn't used the Dorian mode for both pieces.


Choir 1 (Traditional/Contemporary):

I Wonder as I Wander (arr. Rutter)
Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming (Praetorius)

The Rutter's a little more difficult than it looks, but they did a nice job with it. The Praetorius is always a winner.

Choir 2 (Contemporary)

Child of the Poor/What Child is This? (S. Soper)
Rejoice, Rejoice (M. Haugen)

This choir's a bit short on men, but the women did well and the director (a male) supplied the tenor part for the latter piece. Piano, guitar and flute were involved.

Choir 3 (Praise and Worship ensemble)

Welcome to Our World (C. Rice)
God Rest You/We Three Kings (BNL w/S. McLachlan)

Well, I definitely cringed a little when my director told me that she wanted to do a Barenaked Ladies arrangement, but I let it in and it was well-received.

Choir 4 (Traditional)

Jerusalem Surge (G.B. Martini and chant--Communio for Advent 2)
In Dulci Jubilo (Traditional, Gesius, and Bach harmonizations)

This is the other group I direct. I had learned a good lesson from the year before (when I foolishly chose Mouton's "Noe, Noe, psallite" (very difficult) and Bach's "Et Incarnatus Est" (not easy either)) and chose selections that weren't quite as challenging. It was fun to do "In Dulci Jubilo" since most of our regular repertoire seems to be more "meditative".

Choir 5 (Traditional/Contemporary)

Love is Born This Night (L. Dengler)
Carol of the Bells (arr. Wilhousky)

In the midst of so many unfamiliar selections, I think the audience was glad to hear the Wilhousky. The director was very pleased with how it went, as she informed me that it was bombing during the dress rehearsal earlier that evening.

Festival Choir

Ave Maria (chant--women)
Away in a Manger (arr. Praying Twice--men)
Missa "O Magnum Mysterium"--Gloria (Victoria--all)
Silent Night (arr. Kirk Franklin--all w/contemporary ensemble)

I used the same formula that seemed to work well last year: 1) chant w/ men or women, 2) folk song for other sex, 3) piece of renaissance polyphony, 4) show-stopping gospel number. They really nailed everything. The Victoria was a stretch for some of the musicians initially, but they did a spectacular job for the concert. The Kirk Franklin piece is great, though his recording is uber-cheesy. We did it tastefully while still retaining the flavor of the original.

Congregational hymns (w/brass)

O Come, All Ye Faithful (arr. Willcocks)
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing (arr. Willcocks)
Silent Night (traditional--acappella)

Man, those Willcocks arrangements are great. The sopranos absolutely love singing those descants.

Recessional (brass):

We Three Kings (arr. Richard Price)

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