2017-12-07 / News

Chorus concert will illuminate recreation hall


Members of the community chorus rehearse Monday night at Central Baptist Church. The group has two holiday shows scheduled this weekend at the rec center. 
PHOTO BY ANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN Members of the community chorus rehearse Monday night at Central Baptist Church. The group has two holiday shows scheduled this weekend at the rec center. PHOTO BY ANDREA VON HOHENLEITEN Two concerts this weekend will feature music about light at the darkest time of the year.

The Jamestown Community Chorus will perform at 4 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the recreation center, 41 Conanicus Ave.

The production, aptly titled “December Lights,” is a departure for the chorus, which is typically straightforward choral music. According to conductor B.J. Whitehouse, these shows will feature theatrics to compliment the voices, from a mummer’s play to an English ritual dance. Singers will get into the act by dressing in eclectic folk costumes to enhance the atmosphere.

The concert begins in darkness with a recitation “The Shortest Day,” a poem that captures the joy of winter solstice. As the show progresses, the hall continues to brighten with candles, menorahs and yule logs, mimicking real life as the days continue to get longer.

Among the highlights, members will perform the “Abbotts Bromley Horn Dance.” The performance, which features real deer antler, originated in the small English village of Staffordshire during the Middle Ages.

The children’s chorus will sing about hunting the wren, a tradition that is celebrated on the day after Christmas. The St. Stephen’s Day ritual features “hunting” a fake wren and then setting the bird atop a decorative pole. After an instrumental ensemble accompanies the dancers to a 13th century song titled “Alle Psallite,” the chorus will perform folk silliness with an authentic mummer’s play overseen by Father Christmas, played by Whitehouse.

The production also will include an original arrangement of Gounod’s “Les Pifferari” by accompanist Dawn Chung. The North Kingstown pianist will then join the chorus for Ola Gjiello’s “Northern Lights.” Other pieces include “Strike up Your Instruments of Joy” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

The production includes audience sing-alongs of familiar carols before culminating with a beautiful arrangement of “Silent Night.”

Tickets are available at Jamestown Hardware, The Secret Garden and Baker’s Pharmacy. Admission is $15 in advance, $17 at the door. The student price is $12. Tickets also are available through PayPal at the chorus’ website.

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