Chamber Singers Christmas concert set for Dec. 11
“I think sometimes we lose that concept when we think about what Christmas has kind of become, in terms of commercialism and consumerism, and our interpretation of Jesus as a person now.”
WORTHINGTON — Christian tradition holds that Jesus was born in a barn to parents who weren’t wealthy or famous, and that’s the theme the Worthington Chamber Singers will bring to their 29th annual concert, “In the Lowly Manger Born.”
“I think sometimes we lose that concept when we think about what Christmas has kind of become, in terms of commercialism and consumerism, and our interpretation of Jesus as a person now,” said director Eric Parrish. “I think we tend to forget that’s the state he entered the world.”
The concert will begin at 2 p.m. Dec. 11 at First United Methodist Church in Worthington, with a prelude by the Worthington Brass starting at 1:45 p.m. A freewill offering will be taken, with funds going toward the group’s operational costs, which are minimal, and to a local charity yet to be determined.
Choosing a theme allows Parrish to select a wide range of music for the concert, including familiar carols and old favorites people will recognize and new music too, from a variety of traditions and composers.
Some of the music audiences are likely to recognize at the upcoming concert are “The First Noel” and “Good King Wenceslaus,” as well as “Once in Royal David’s City” and “Master’s in This Hall.”
Some elements of the music are even older than those pieces, however.
“Our central piece for the concert is a setting of the ‘Magnificat,’ from the gospel of Luke,” Parrish said.
In the text, Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist, and praises Mary’s faith. Mary’s response, starting with “My soul magnifies the Lord,” is one of the eight ancient hymns in the Bible, Parrish explained.
This setting of the hymn was written by Rene Clausen, who conducted the Concordia College choir, and has since retired. Several of the Chamber Singers sang the piece under him at Concordia, and two others had sung it at Worthington High School.
Kris Stewart will be accompanying the choir on the piano, and several Chamber Singers will provide percussion accompaniment on the conga, finger cymbals and other instruments. The Worthington Brass will also join in.
The group will sing four spirituals this year.
“The most fun one is called ‘Where Riches is Everlastingly,’” Parrish said. “It’s a rhumba, and uses syncopated rhythm and conga and cowbell, and fun pieces like that.”
Another piece, “Christus Natus Est,” by Rosephanye Powell, will include both English and Latin text.
“These pieces are something that I have been doing research and learning about: how do you do a spiritual with a predominantly non-black choir, and still keep the language authentic in a way that is respectful?” Parrish explained, adding that he found the piece during a conference at St. Olaf College. “When we sang it out, I said ‘We have to do this piece. It is so beautiful.’ It’s very powerful, and it’s not your traditional kind of Christmas song, but it has a really great message and I really like it.”
- Elizabeth Swanson-Bushard
- Ashley Hein
- Debra Moe
- Kerry Johnson
- Morgan Rukstales
- Joy Cristobal
- Brenda DeSmith
- Dawn Gordon
- Heidi Meyer
- Aubrey Anderson
- Susan Hansberger
- Tami Wesselink
- Daren Flinck
- Galen Smith
- Mike Wesselink
- Colin O'Donnell
- Ivan Parga
- Adam Vosburgh
- Taylor Huwe
- Lonnie Myrom
- Blake Regnier
- Rich Besel
- Roger Lester
- Matthew Saxman
- Isaac Wass