WORTHINGTON — The Worthington Chamber Singers will make their annual musical magic as they sing a message of light within the dark days of early December.
“For Your Light Has Come” is the theme of the 25-voice select ensemble’s concert, set for 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at First United Methodist Church of Worthington.
Director Eric E. Parrish, who is leading the Chamber Singers for an 11th season, explained he landed on “light” as a guiding tenet for the 2019 concert in the midst of bright, steamy summer.
“I spent a lot of time in the summer seeking repertoire, and I was trying to figure out a way to talk about the prophets,” said Parrish.
“And partly because we incorporated a commissioned piece in the 2018 concert from Minnesota composer Linda Kachelmeier titled ‘For a Future of Light,’ this idea of light and stars seemed right.”
At least half of the concert is comprised of choral selections that most audience members will find familiar, Parrish mentioned.
“This is a concert that includes modern arrangements of songs like ‘The First Nowell,’ ‘Do You Hear What I Hear,’ ‘As With Gladness Men of Old’ and ‘Rise Up, Shepherd and Follow,’” said Parrish.
Parrish was also inspired by a long-standing desire to use “Star of Bethlehem,” a John Williams/Leslie Bricusse composition used in the 1990 film “Home Alone.”
“I’ve wanted to do that number with this group for a long time, and it fit in with the theme,” said Parrish.
“It is a grand musical motif with a slightly mysterious quality to it.”
Also, the solemn yet stirring 2018 composition “Ani Ma’amin,” a hauntingly beautiful Holocaust melody arranged by Ryan Nowlin, features solo cellist Micah Truesdell.
“It’s a Hebrew prayer whose text translates to ‘I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah. Even if he be delayed,’” cited Parrish.
“That is beautiful, and the idea of such faith is intriguing to me.”
Parrish plans to open the concert with the compelling a cappella “Creator of the Stars of Night,” a ninth-century Latin chant that implores Christ the Savior to redeem and bring light to all people.
“There is so much hope and promise in this belief that the Messiah or Savior is coming and will come,” said Parrish, “and that really is the main theme of all these selections.”
Parrish began weekly rehearsals with the ensemble in mid-September. Joining the vocalists in their performance are supplemental instrumentals including the aforementioned cello, trumpets, drums, oboe, auxiliary percussion and two pianists.
In addition, the Worthington Area Brass will play seasonal prelude and intermission selections.
Summarized Parrish, “The light of Christ is coming and will come — let it come.”
The Worthington Chamber Singers are in concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at First United Methodist Church, 408 11th St., Worthington. The Worthington Area Brass joins them. The concert is open to the public; a free-will offering will be accepted.