The Central Coast Chorale will be presenting their annual Wishes & Candles Holiday Concerts in mid-December. The forty-voice choir under the direction of Dr. Mary Lee Scoville will be celebrating the winter season with a wonderful selection of holiday music on Friday evening 7 pm, December 13th at the Commons in Yachats. The concert will be repeated on Saturday afternoon at 2 pm, December 14th at the Lincoln City Cultural Center and finally, on Sunday afternoon at 3 pm, December 15th at the First Presbyterian Church in Newport. All three concerts have a suggested donation of $10 per person or $20 per family for admission.
The Chorale will be singing an eclectic mix of tunes of the season. There will be traditional carols from Ireland and England such as Dale Warland’s arrangement of the Wexford Carol and Steven Strite’s innovative version of Angels We Have Heard on High. Kirby Shaw’s jazzy take on Carol of the Bells and the very traditional Psallite by Michael Praetorius both feature intricate rhythms and interplay between the choral parts. The chorus will perform a lovely piece honoring the Jewish holidays with Chanukah Prayer by David Lantz. A folk lullaby from Italy, Dormi, Dormi, O Bel Bambin, arranged by Robert DeCormier, hopes to sooth the infant Jesus while David Willcocks’ Birthday Carol will tell the story of the sacred babe’s birth. And two pieces are inspired by poetry appropriate to the season. The Moon is Distant from the Sea features lyrics drawn from Emily Dickinson, a beautiful meditation on the relationship between moon and tide as a metaphor for the poet’s feeling for the divine. Popular contemporary composer Ola Gjielo based the text for his composition Northern Lights on the poetry of the Song of Solomon. The composer writes “Most of all, this piece and its text is about beauty, about a ‘terrible,’ powerful beauty although the music is quite serene on the surface.”
The Central Coast Chorale’s small women’s group will, as usual, step out from the group to perform several songs. Women of Note will be performing two movements from A Ceremony of Carols, an eleven movement work composed in 1942 by Benjamin Britten. The composer wrote this work during a month-long transatlantic crossing, returning to Britain. He had been living in New York for the previous three years during World War II, but was longing for his homeland. The text of this vocal work is from “The English Galaxy of Shorter Poems” which Britten purchased in Halifax, Nova Scotia while his ship was docked during the voyage home. The first movement, There Is No Rose, is a carol, a wonderful piece to be marveled at, telling the Christmas story, hauntingly beautiful, with Latin exclamation and Middle English lyrics. This Little Babe, in contrast, is a piece with fire and speed, employing a canon in stretto, meaning very close imitation. The references in this text represents a warfare between good and evil.
The Chorale will also present a mixed octet singing The Christmas Can Can, performed in the a cappella style popularized by such groups as Straight No Chaser (who wrote and arranged this song) and Pentatonix. The Christmas Can-Can comically portrays the phenomenon of the holiday season arriving earlier and earlier every year. The song also pays homage to Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, describing the commercial imbalance of their celebrations in comparison to Christmas. Listen carefully and you’ll hear a fast changing medley of Christmas carols, Offenbach’s Can Can tune and even Hava Nagila. It’s a fun and technically challenging piece.
The Central Coast Chorale was founded in 1997 by director Mary Lee Scoville and a group of local residents who wanted to enjoy singing in a convivial yet professional setting. The Chorale has since doubled in size and now can claim more than 50 voices. They draw singers from up and down the central coast, as far north as Neskowin and south to Yachats, welcoming new singers in January and August. They present three to four concerts a year and pursue a mission of sharing quality choral music with the community. For more information see their website at centralcoastchorale.com or email email@example.com.