The 2017 edition of the Christmas program, to be presented December 1–3 in St. Charles and Chicago, will offer “fresh and engaging new arrangements of favorite carols,” says Jeffrey Hunt, founder and music director of the professional chamber choir. These include “Jingle Bells” arranged for eight-part choir by Ben Parry. Hunt describes it as “jazz-inspired, complex, and rhythmically interesting.”
The mixed-voice choir will perform “Candlelight Carols” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 1, at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles; 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 2, at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago; and 3 p.m. on Sunday, December 3, at Baker Church in St. Charles.
Hunt points out that despite the holiday concert’s longstanding title, this will be the first edition that consists solely of carols, rather than a mix of carols, motets, and anthems. “About 90 percent of the repertoire is new to the St. Charles Singers,” he says.
Hunt has selected a half-dozen arrangements from a newly published collection titled “Christmas Carols of the World.” Among them are Niels Gade’s “Barn Jesus i en krybbe la,” Jakub Zicha’s “Byla cesta,” Mark Sirett’s “Huron Carol,” Andre Thomas’s “African Noel,” Jehan Alain’s “Noël nouvelet,” and John Rutter’s “The holly and the ivy.”
Also on the Christmas program: “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Ola Gjeilo, “My Lord Has Come” by Will Todd, “A Hymn to the Virgin” by Benjamin Britten, “Tuoro, louro, louro” by Robert Shaw and Alice Parker, “I Saw Three Ships” by Simon Preston, “Deck the Hall” by Hugo Cole, “Good King Wenseslas” by Paul Halley, and “Silent Night” by David Willcocks.
The choir will perform the world premiere of Geneva, Ill., composer and instrumentalist Scott Stevenson’s original music to G. R. Woodward’s “Unto Us Is Born a Son.” The St. Charles Singers commissioned the piece from Stevenson, one of its resident composers.
Hunt says the concert aims to be “fun and entertaining to see, as well as to hear” and hints that there might be a few visual props – perhaps even a chorister or two in costume – and instruments creating atmospheric effects suggested by the lyrics.
Tickets and Information
Single tickets are $35 adult general admission, $30 for seniors 65 and older, and $10 for students.
Tickets and general information about the St. Charles Singers are available on this site or by calling (630) 513-5272. Tickets are also available at Townhouse Books, 105 N. Second Ave., St. Charles (checks or cash only at this ticket venue). Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the day of the concert, depending on availability.