Singing into the holiday spirit

BSR Classical Interludes, December 2023

3 minute read
Wide shot of a large audience fills the indoors of Kimmel Center, with seasonal lights cast over the walls
The Silent Night Sing-In event in 2019 brought in more than 1,200 singers.

The holiday season is upon us, and in the next few weeks, the Philadelphia area will be filled with Christmas sounds of all sorts. There’s a Renaissance Noel, historic vocalists revisited, over 1,000 voices raised in song, and 100+ tubas playing together. The coming weekend is especially replete with offerings, so read on and make your choice!

Brandywine Baroque: Life's a Garden, Rich in Music
Friday, December 8, 7:30pm
Sunday, December 10, 3pm
Barn at Flintwoods, 205 Center Meeting Road, Wilmington

Laura Heimes (soprano) and Jeffrey Thompson (tenor) explore the careers of famous singers Charlotte Brent (1734-1802) and John Beard (1716-1791), celebrated voices of the 18th-century English stage, with commentary by historian John Burkhalter. The program in this unique performance space features selections from Solomon by William Boyce, Thomas & Sally and Judith by Thomas Arne, and The Dragon of Wantley by John Frederick Lampe. If you're downstate in Delaware, this ensemble will be in Rehoboth Beach on Saturday.

Mendelssohn Chorus of Philadelphia: A Feast of Carols
Saturday, December 9, 2pm and 5pm
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 22 East Chestnut Hill Avenue, Philadelphia

Now in their 150th season, the Mendelssohn Chorus has established a tradition of commissioning holiday choral music. This concert (with two performances) features four new "Postcard Carols" written by artistic director Dominick DiOrio, along with familiar holiday songs and the premiere of a Magnificat for organ, brass, and chorus by composer, vocalist, and music editor Marques L.A. Garrett. The concert also features the Timberdale Brass, Andy Kotylo (organ), and pianist Ting Ting Wong.

Vox Amadeus: Renaissance Noël
Saturday, December 9, 8pm
Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, 8000 St. Martin's Lane, Philadelphia

Sunday, December 10, 4pm
Great Hall in Bryn Mawr College, 256 North Merion Avenue, Bryn Mawr

It's the 37th consecutive year of this ensemble's annual offering of Christmas music by the Vox Renaissance Consort. Conducted by artistic director Valentin Radu, the concert features work by a host of composers like Charpentier, Buxtehude, Byrd, Palestrina, and more, in arrangements for single and double chorus, solo voices, and period instruments. Performers are garbed in period costumes, and the concert runs 90 minutes without intermission.

Delaware Symphony Chamber Concert: Holidays at the Hotel
Tuesday, December 12, 7:30pm
Gold Ballroom at Hotel duPont, 42 West 11th Street, Wilmington

The second in this series of intimate concerts by DSO orchestra members will be held in the elegant Gold Ballroom of the Hotel du Pont. An ensemble of the orchestra's string players performs J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 and Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings. The concert also features baritone Grant Youngblood in vocal works, including the aria "Grosser Herr" from Bach's Christmas Cantata.

"Silent Night" Sing-In
Friday, December 15, 4:30-6pm
Kimmel Cultural Campus, 300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

In 2018, to mark the 200th anniversary of "Silent Night," more than 1,200 singers gathered at the Kimmel Cultural Campus. In 2019, the participants topped 1,500, and for the first time since then, the sounds of this iconic carol will ring out. Produced by WRTI-FM, the event will be emceed by radio host and mezzo-soprano Meg Bragle, and conductor John Conahan will lead singers in his own arrangement of the beloved carol. The organizers note, "We may be strangers when we arrive … but we will leave united in song." This community event welcomes singers of all ages and experience, and registration is requested.

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