Chorus readies ‘Songs for a Wintery Season’
December 7, 2017
The Park City Singers hopes to bring some fresh winter magic to town when the chorus performs its annual holiday concerts.
This year's performances are called "Songs for a Wintery Season" and will encompass the winter solstice, Christmas and Hanukkah, said director Joe Demers.
"The challenge is keeping things fresh," Demers said during an interview. "The community as well as our choir members know many of these songs, so what I try to do is breathe new life into the pieces and, in some cases, introduce some not-so-well-known literature to both the choir and our audiences."
The concerts will be held at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10, at Park City Community Church and on Saturday, Dec. 16, at St. Luke's Episcopal Church.
Some of the new works include a traditional Spanish carol "A La Nanita Nana" and a Jewish work, "Bashana Haba'ah," which linguistically challenged the singers.
"'A La Nanita Nana' is basically a song about bringing a gift to the Christ child. It will be sung in a combination of Spanish and English that will overlap with each other," Demers said.
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Members of the Park City Singers, a non-audition community choir, also had to learn to sing in Hebrew for "Bashana Haba'ah."
"This is a piece that is basically a blessing for the new year," Demers said. "It is about looking at the good things that will come."
Guest violinist Nina Williams and cellist Ben Orr will accompany the chorus on that piece.
"They are both from the Park City School District," Demers said. "So it was great pulling them in."
Other musical guests include flutist Maya Drayton and drummer Jordan Faiardo-Bird, who will join the singers on "Little Drummer Boy," one of the other classic Christmas songs on the program.
"Some of the secular works we have planned are 'We Need a Little Christmas' and 'White Christmas,' Demers said.
Then there's "Fa-La-La," which starts out with "Deck the Halls" and then brings in some classical renditions of Strauss waltz and the "1812 Overture."
"It's a fun piece because of all of those elements," Demers said.
The concerts will also showcase a couple of pieces from last year – Shubert's "Gloria" from Mass in G and Kay Thompson's "Jingle Bells."
"We pulled them back in because they were very successful, and the choir did a very good job on them," Demers said. "I wanted to take them to a new level musically and I didn't want to just drop them so easily, especially after we worked so hard on it last year."
In addition to the guest musicians and piano accompaniment by Tanya Taylor, some breakout groups who will sing within the context of different pieces will highlight both concerts.
"One of those songs will be 'Silver Bells,'" Demers said. "In fact, one whole family will be the breakout group in that song."
What would a holiday choral concert be without works culled from Handel's "Messiah?" Demers mused.
"One the classical side we will offer two pieces 'For Unto Us a Child Is Born' and the 'Hallelujah Chorus,'" he said. "We will allow members of the audience to come sing with us on the 'Hallelujah Chorus.'"
Rehearsals started for these concerts started in September, which incidentally marked Demer's one-year anniversary as the choir's director.
"It's been fun and I love it," he said. "Sometimes when I have had a tough day, coming to rehearsal is very uplifting, because we try to leave our cares at the door and make music."
Park City Singers will perform "Songs for a Wintery Season" at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10, at Park City Community Church, 4501 N. S.R. 224, and on Saturday, Dec. 16, at St. Luke's Episcopal Church, 4595 Silver Springs Drive. Advance tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children ages 12 and younger. Tickets can be purchased by visiting http://www.parkcitysingers.org. Tickets at the door are $15 for adults and $5 for children. For information, visit http://www.parkcitysingers.org.
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