Chorus, Youth Chorale Ready Varied Holiday Program

The Rockbridge Chorus, directed by William Mc-Corkle, and the Rockbridge Youth Chorale, directed by Lacey Lynch and Lori Parker, along with student intern director, Katelyn Jones, will present their annual holiday program at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, in the Lexington Presbyterian Church. As in previous years, the evening will begin with a community carol sing at 7:15.

In this year’s concert, the Choral Society and the Youth Chorale will sing both individually and together. The program will include favorites from the groups’ repertoire over the years as well as a number of new pieces. The pianists will be Anna Billias and William McCorkle.

All three divisions of the Rockbridge Youth Chorale will perform. The Prep Choir (grades K-1) and Children’s Choir (grades 2-5) will join forces for two pieces: the Appalachian ballad “Chrissimas Day” arranged by Shirley W. McRae, and “Winter Sleigh Ride” by Sally K. Albrecht and Jay Althouse, a partner song pairing the traditional song “Over the River and Through the Woods” with newly composed material giving the younger singers a chance to practice singing in parts.

The Children’s Choir will present “A Winter Carol” arranged by Mary Donnelly and George L. O. Stride, a work combining “The Huron Carol,” considered to be Canada’s first Christmas carol, with a new tune; and “Cold Snap” by Mark Hayes. The challenge of this piece has been combining lyrical two-part singing, coughing and sneezing effects, and snaps into one crazy piece.

The Youth Choir (grades 6-12) has prepared “Los Cris-tales Turbios” by J. Reese Norris. Completing the Youth Choir portion of the program will be Ron Jeffers’ arrangement of the Austrian carol “Still, Still, Still” and various themes on “Fa-la-La” arranged by Chuck Bridwell. Instrumentalists with the Youth Chorale will include, along with accompanist Billias, Tim Harrison, percussion; Lori Parker, flute; Stacy Stevens and Scott Youngdahl, guitars; and handbell ringers from Lexington Presbyterian Church, Mayumi Smitka director.

The Rockbridge Chorus, with soprano Christine Fairfield and pianist Anna Billias, will sing an assortment of pieces, including Ola Gjeilo’s arrangement of “The First Nowell”; Jan Sandström’s “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” a work for double chorus expanding on the well-known 16th-century piece by Michael Praetorius; Felix Mendelssohn’s “Christmas”; a sprightly madrigal, “Welcome, Yule!” by C. Hubert Hastings Parry; James Whitbourn’s powerful “Winter’s Wait”; and John E. West’s classic arrangement of Adolphe Adam’s “O Holy Night.”

The combined adult and youth singers will perform four pieces, one of which is Howard Helvey’s energetic arrangement of the French carol “Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella,” featuring Billias and McCorkle playing the four-hand piano accompaniment. Other offerings by the combined choirs include Ralph Allwood’s arrangement of J. Pierpont’s classic “Jingle Bells”; David Willcocks’ classic setting of the carol “Masters in This Hall”; and “Peace, Peace” by Fred Bock, a companion song to the familiar “Silent Night.”

Tickets for the performance, which are $15 for adults and $5 for all students, will be available at the door and may be purchased in advance at Books & Co. and Ladles and Linens.

The Rockbridge Chorus and the Rockbridge Youth Chorale receive support through donations made to The Rockbridge Choral Society by area individuals, businesses and organizations.

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