2008-12-11 / Front Page

Community chorus sings this weekend

By Dylan Paschke

This weekend, at the Central Baptist Church, the Jamestown Community Chorus will perform its highly entertaining show, "Fall into Winter."

A Youth Chorus will also accompany the adults for what promises to be more than a Christmas show.

"We try to be a little more unique," says musical director, B.J. Whitehouse, when asked about the selections for this year. Whitehouse, who chose this year's songs, finds the variety "a lot more interesting" than concentrating only on Christmas material.

Whitehouse is not alone. Evelyn Rhodes, who has been a supporter for 10 years and a performer for the past five, says the she is "looking forward to the concert, because it's always different."

If people are looking for the same 12 Christmas songs they hear 24 hours a day, "then this show is not for them," laughs Michelle Bush, whose 7-year-old daughter Julia, is the youngest member performing in the new Youth Chorus. "It's great for kids to have such diversity and choice of music," says Bush in support of the music selection.

The Chorus is there to have fun, and they hope the audience does, too. Indeed, the mood of the performance is all about community spirit and having a good time. That said, there is a great deal of talent involved in the show as well.

Whitehouse, who is in his 19th season as the chorus director, has jovially led the JCC through the year's rehearsals, which are two hours every Monday night. The Chorus began rehearsals for "Fall into Winter" in September. "I say two hours once a week, but really, why would you want to be anywhere else?" Whitehouse says.

How does one get into the Jamestown Community Chorus? "You just show-up," says Whitehouse, adding, "Everybody can sing, everybody's involved."

The Chorus performs two shows a year. They rehearse in the spring and the autumn and take the summers off. Their most recent performance was the successful "JCC Goes to the Movies" last May.

The Jamestown Community Chorus was formed in 1949 and today has 60 adult members as well as seven participants in the Youth Chorus. The group is nondenominational and all the singers are from Jamestown and the surrounding area. Every year, the Chorus performs a concert on a different theme. This year's show is entitled "Fall into Winter" and, as the title suggests, it takes a musical journey celebrating the many holidays and occasions between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice.

"September Song" and "Autumn Leaves" are set to open the program. Following those are several selections by the new Youth Chorus, including a story of the Chinese Mid-Winter Festival. The Youth Chorus and the adult singers will then join together for "Harvest Round" and "A-Soulin".

"The Landing of the Pilgrims," arranged by Whitehouse, represents Thanksgiving and is followed by the nuanced harmonies of Johannes Brahms' "Late Autumn."

"A Song of Hanukkah" and "In the Bleak Midwinter" chronicle the short days leading up to the winter solstice. A third, and thoroughly modern, song inspired by that time of year is "Mid-Winter Waking" by Morten Lauridsen.

Several Chorus members also show off their instrumental talent with "Yule Fires," one of the highlights of the show, which features not only voices but also recorders, violins, and a guitar.

The JCC rendition of "Twelve Days of Christmas," the Craig Courtney arrangement, is not to be missed. It takes on a different musical style, going from Gregorian chant to 15th Century France, through to 19th Century Russian and John Philip Sousa inspired pieces for each of the twelve days.

Janet Grant accompanies the Chorus throughout on piano.

The Chorus will perform on Saturday, Dec. 13, at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 14, at 3 p.m. Both performances take place at the Central Baptist Church at 99 Narragansett Ave. Tickets are general admission and the prices are $10 for adults and $7 for seniors and children, available at the door. Advance tickets are also on hand at Baker's Pharmacy, Jamestown Hardware, the Secret Garden, and from Chorus members.

For more information, call 423-1574, or visit the chorus' Web site at www. jamestownri.

Return to top