A traditional part of the Christmas season in Russellville will be taking place this weekend as the deGraffenreid Chorale performs its annual holiday concert.
The Christmas concert will once again be at the United Methodist Temple. Last year the Chorale held the concert at Southern Heights Baptist Church on Nashville Street in order to take advantage of greater seating capacity, but this year the group will be back at its familiar downtown venue.
It will be Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2:30 p.m. and is free to the public, but tax deductible donations will be accepted.
Also, after performing a major work for last year’s Christmas concert, the Chorale is returning to its more traditional concert format.
“We’re calling it a Carol Celebration, last year we did the major work Handel’s Messiah, but this year we’re back to pulling together chorale Christmas music that just tells the Christmas story,” said director Mary Beth Dowden. “We’ve got the all the aspects of the Christmas story from the prophesy to Mary and the angels to the shepherds and the wise men and how the story touches us too.”
The concert will feature a variety of songs, some of which will no doubt will be familiar, but others which will be new and exciting.
Some of the songs that will be performed will include “There Shall Come a Star from Jacob” by Felix Mendelssohn, “The Nativity Carol” by George Mabry, a retired Austin Peay professor and conductor from Clarksville; “The Three Kings” by Bob Chilcott, “How Great Our Joy,” and “Night of Silence,” which incorporates portions of “Silent Night.”
There will also be selections from contemporary composers John Rutter and Dan Forrest.
“I discovered an exquisite arrangement of an old Scottish carol called “What Strangers Are These” by Dan Forrest and another song called “See Amid the Winter’s Snow,” Dowden said. “Even though we don’t have the really familiar carols this year, we do have a great mixture of songs that people – if they don’t know them well – they will have heard them before.”
Soloists for the concert will include Iris Perez, Sarah Fox, Anne Rose, John Kees, Philip Crawford, David Baker and Freddie Borders.
The deGraffenreid Chorale will be joined once again by Susan Fox as the primary accompanist. She will be joined on some songs by her daughter Sarah Fox, who just recently returned home after spending the past year studying music in England.
“One of the interesting things I was just thinking about this year is how many family groups we have in the chorale,” Dowden said. “We have a father and daughter, a mother and daughter, a father with two sons and a brother-in-law, and a mother and son. It’s very mult-generational and that’s awesome.”
Also providing guest music will be Shelly Burgess, a cellist from Bowling Green; and Russellville’s Tom O’Kelley on percussion.
“I know this concert will bless the people who are there on Sunday to hear it just like it blesses the chorale to be able to present it to the community,” Dowden said.
To contact OJ Stapleton, email [email protected] or call 270-726-8394.