Singing for the joy of it, the Chester River Chorale will present its winter season program celebrating both the beginning of the Christmas season and the eight days of Hanukkah on Friday, December 3, at 8 p.m., and Sunday December 5, at 3 p.m.
The 75-member Chorale, now under the direction of Douglas Cox, former assistant conductor of the Soldiers’ Chorus of the U.S. Army Field Band, will be joined by Cantor Gary Schiff, a brass and percussion ensemble, and organ played by Chorale accompanist Sammy Marshall for the concerts at Hotchkiss Recital Hall in Washington College’s Gibson Center for the Arts.
The program will include music of both the Christian and Jewish traditions to jointly mark the December 25th Nativity and the eight-day Festival of Lights starting at sundown December 1. The audience will be invited to join in celebrating the season with a sing-along of familiar carols, including “I Saw Three Ships,” “O Christmas Tree,” and “White Christmas.”
Following a solo by oboist, Emily Madsen, the voices of the Chorale’s Chamber Singers will hail the season Gospel-style.
Tickets are $15 and may be purchased in Chestertown at Compleat Bookseller, Towne Stationers, and Scottie’s; in Galena at Galena Pharmacy, and in Rock Hall at Java Rock. There is no charge for children under twelve.
The membership of the Chorale is open to any of any ability who love to sing. It is made up primarily of residents of Kent and Queen Anne’s counties.
Chorale Director Cox, who replaced Ann C. Turpin earlier this year after she retired from her Chorale post and he retired from the Army, noted that the weekend of the concerts “marks the concurrence of two important religious observances: the Christian Advent Season, the beginning of the liturgical year; and the Hanukkah Festival of Lights, of Jewish tradition. Both recall stories of deliverance from darkness and oppression through miraculous Divine intervention.”
In addition, Cox said, “December is the month when communities draw together through all sorts of cultural ties that go beyond religious experience and reaffirm the highest of all values: Love and Care for one another; and the desire for Peace. This program touches on those beliefs and values that intertwine diverse faiths and cultural groups. It reminds us that at our deepest core there are common elements that connect us.”
The Chester River Chorale is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization funded in part by the Kent County Arts Council and by an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency dedicated to cultivating a vibrant cultural community where the arts thrive. The CRC’s Mission is to provide opportunity and inspiration for amateur singers to strive for artistic excellence. CRC performances entertain diverse audiences and enrich the cultural life of the community. For more information visit www.chesterriverchorale.org or call 410–810–1438.