Chorus sings of winter in holiday program

Prepare for wide-ranging performances

Lynn Nowak
For The Leader
Posted 11/27/18

Borrowing from the title of the Robert Frost poem, the Community Chorus of Port Townsend & East Jefferson County will present “On a Snowy Evening,” its winter program of holiday and seasonal music in two concerts this weekend.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Chorus sings of winter in holiday program

Prepare for wide-ranging performances

Posted

Borrowing from the title of the Robert Frost poem, the Community Chorus of Port Townsend & East Jefferson County will present “On a Snowy Evening,” its winter program of holiday and seasonal music in two concerts this weekend.

Performances are at 7 p.m. Nov. 30 at First Presbyterian Church, 1111 Franklin St., in Port Townsend, and 3 p.m. Dec. 2 at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, 45 Redeemer Way, Chimacum.

“Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” set to music by Randall Thompson, was one of guest director Jonathan Stafford’s favorite pieces in college.

“This arrangement of one of America’s best poet’s most popular poems touches my soul,” said Stafford, who has served as chorus guest director for the past two winter seasons and is now stepping up to the baton.

Stafford and new assistant guest director Sarah Moran planned a breadth of repertoire, from Joseph Haydn’s “Little Organ Mass” to a holiday take on jazz musician Dave Brubeck’s “Blue Rondo a la Turk.”

Stafford directs non-traditional settings of Christmas carols such as “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” which includes a saxophone solo by Al Thompson, and a medley of favorites including “The First Noel” and “Good Christian Men Rejoice.”

Also in his lineup are some Christmas melodies dating back to 1582 that are tucked into a Swedish collection called “Gaudete.” Stafford said he hopes that someday, these songs could share the spotlight with time-honored carols such as “Silent Night” and “O Come, All Ye Faithful.”

Along with a couple of other numbers, Moran handles the larger work on the program, Haydn’s “Little Organ Mass.” Her background as a choral singer, soprano soloist and director is primarily in the classical to romantic repertoire.

“This piece by Haydn is such a beautiful setting within the classical genre and wasn’t too lengthy to be performed as part of a larger concert,” she said.

Moran said the extensive Latin text was a challenge for many of the singers, but with considerable practice, the chorus has been able to accomplish it.

“I appreciate the camaraderie and dedication that each and every member has in producing the best product that can be created,” she said.

Moran said she also appreciates Stafford as a professional, easy-going colleague in preparing this program. And the feeling is mutual. Stafford said working with Moran is a treat.

“Her vocal pedagogy is marvelous and her ideas and suggestions are well-received by the chorus,” Stafford said.

Moran said she is thankful, too, for the talents of pianist Theresa Chedoen, who has been handed some difficult piano accompaniments.

Chorus board president Linda Atkins indicated how happy she is that the chorus can help foster and grow young directors such as Stafford and Moran.

As to the singers themselves, Stafford said, “They’ve put in a lot of hard work in bonus rehearsals, voice lessons and personal study, getting the notes and harmonies right. Their effort has inspired me to really bring my A-game as a conductor.”

Community Chorus concert tickets are $15 and available at brownpapertickets.com, at Crossroads Music in Port Townsend, 360-385-1471, or by suggested donation at the door. For general information on the chorus, call 360-385-1402 or visit ptchorus.org.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment