Monday, December 22, 2008

Music for Christmas

The Washington Chorus presented its annual Music for Christmas concert at the Kennedy Center. The concert has proven to be one of Washington's most beloved family celebrations of classic Christmas favorites along with exciting new arrangements and audience sing-alongs. The performance featured massed choruses with brass, organ, and percussion.

Under the baton of new music director Julian Wachner, the chorus performed Still, Still, Still (Norman Luboff), Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day (John Gardner), and Bogoroditsye dyevo (from Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Vespers). The chorus gave Mr. Wachner its undivided attention and invariably performed each selection impeccably.

As part of The Washington Chorus' Side-by-Side program to annually recognize and feature local high school choirs, the Annandale Singers, under the direction of Carleen Dixon Webb, performed Lirum Lirum (Thomas Morley), O Magnum Mysterium (Tomas Luis de Victoria), and I Wonder As I Wander (John Rutter), for which the soprano soloist was exceptional.

Coral Cantigas, the only Latino chorus in Washington, also has begun a partnership with The Washington Chorus. The group performed traditional carols from Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela. They exhibited exceptional energy and precision, and the vocal and instrumental soloists were incredible.

After intermission, the brass and percussion played a short interlude as the basses lined the upper rows and the women and tenors processed on O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. The combined choirs then did the Gloria from Misa Criolla (Ariel Ramirez) and The Dream Isaiah Saw (Glenn Rudolph).

Earlier this season, The Washington Chorus presented Johann Sebastian Bach's Mass in B Minor, and this spring the chorus will present Giuseppe Verdi's Requiem and Sergei Rachmaninoff's Vespers (All-Night Vigil).

The Music for Christmas concerts were held on Saturday, December 20 at 4 pm at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall; Sunday, December 21 at 5 pm at the Music Center at Strathmore; and Monday, December 22 at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.

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