Monday, December 8, 2008

Intro to Christmas

Last night was the annual Christmas concert of the Kent State Chorus, an event which , for me, kicks off the Yule season. (They actually perform closer to Christmas than the tradition of right after Halloween so common these days.) The chorus is comprised of both university and community members and it is always a lovely way to get into the spirit of the season. It's also an antidote to the ubiquitous and annoying racket in shops this time of year, where one can't avoid hearing things like Elvis singing "Blue Christmas" or Burl Ives warbling "Holly, Jolly Christmas" blasting from hidden speakers. ."

There is a new, young choral director and he started things off with a bang and a laugh. The first number was "Jalapeno" sung to the "Hallelujah chorus. It was hilarious, full of food references and included kaopectate, too. I don't know who the clever lyricist is, but it was much enjoyed. There were a number of lovely carols, including "Still, Still, Still," a favorite of the Burnell Family Singers, who recorded it a few years ago for the Kaffee Klatsch annual Christmas CD. (We have not done a song this year for this prestigious CD, but hope we are still on the mailing list.) There were opportunities for the audience to participate in a couple of traditional carols

The final presentation was the Christmas section of "The Messiah," with the real "Hallelujah" chorus as the finale with the audience joining in. The soloists were a bit iffy, unfortunately. They were all students and one or two were a bit insecure. It's a difficult thing to do those highly ornamented arias and the bass in particular seemed to have lost his way a few times. Young or amateur singers, especially those in the lower range, tend to have a definite touch of the Cowardly Lion's wobble. Hard to keep a straight face at times and best not to sit toward the front where one can be seen to shake while trying to stifle guffaws. But all in all, it was a lovely evening and I am so glad to live in a community which provides so much good and accessible music.


Nancy Near Philadelphia said...

Kind of puts one in mind of the famous Portsmouth Sinfonia where the record jacket made reference to "some playing difficult instruments for the first time."

Guenveur in Kent said...

That's one of our favorite records. They used to play it on WCLV Saturday Night. We actually bought it and it is now in the hands of one of my children.Surely it must be on CD by now.