Park City Singers celebrate the season with Christmas concerts
What: Park City Singers Christmas concerts
When: 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9, and Friday, Dec. 14.
Where: Park City Community Church, 4501 N. S.R. 224
Cost: Advance adult tickets are $12 and advance children’s tickets for ages 12 and younger are $5; or $15 for adults and $5 for children at the door
The new fallen snow and colder nights will serve as the perfect background for some choral Christmas concerts, and the Park City Singers, the non-audition, community choir has been busy putting the finishing touches on the repertoire for its upcoming concerts.
The preparation isn’t about hitting the right notes, said director Joe Demers.
“People are getting a feel for the music, but also where they will be standing if they are involved in some break-out groups during the concerts,” Demers said.
The Park City Singers will perform the concerts at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 9, and Friday, Dec. 14, at Park City Community Church, 4501 N. S.R. 224.
The performances will follow the traditional sequence of an evening of singing with an intermission, but there will be some changes, Demers said.
“In the past we’ve set it up to sing the sacred songs during the first half and then the secular songs during the second half, but that didn’t work out this year, due to the type of songs we plan to sing,” he said. “This year, both halves feature sacred and secular, although the first half does feature more sacred songs.”
With the change, Demers came up with more opportunities for the audience to sing along with the choir, he said.
“We have a collection of carol books, and we made sure we planned to sing some of those songs in the performances,” Demers said.
In addition to those songs, which will be announced during the performances, Park City Singers will perform a vocal arrangement of Pachelbel’s Canon.
“While this song was written as an instrumental, the version we perform contains Christmas lyrics,” Demers said. “It’s very quick and wordy, especially for the altos and sopranos, who really have to crank it out. It’s phenomenal in how they wrap their tongues around the piece.”
The piece also includes a flute solo by Maya Drayton. Harpist Joyce Jamele will also perform during some of the pieces.
There will be some vocal soloists as well — soprano Priscilla Dominguez will perform during “Jesu Son Most Sweet and Dear” by Colin Brumby, and soprano Margaret Potuck will perform during “I Wonder As I Wander.”
Potuck is Jamele’s daughter, Demers said.
“Margaret’s voice is bright and fits the timbre of that song,” he said. “Priscilla, on the other hand, has a darker tone to her voice, and it works well with ‘Jesu.’”
That song is one of the more difficult songs to perform in terms of timing, Demers said.
“The piano and chorus are on the same count, but the soloist comes in on half-beats,” he said. “It’s quite tricky.”
Other selections that will be performed during the concerts include John Rutter’s “What Sweeter Music,” Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene’s “Mary Did You Know” and the traditional Spanish-dance carol, “Fum, Fum, Fum.”
“‘Fum, Fum Fum,’ which means ‘smoke, smoke smoke,’ is a fun one that we will sing a cappella,” Demers said.
The more secular works will feature “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” and “Let It Snow.” Both of those songs will feature break-out ensembles.
“When we choose the break-out group, we open the parts up to anyone who is interested,” Demers said. “From there, we work on getting the sound, and we have singers who move in and out of the groups until we find the sound that works.”
The concerts will be accompanied by local musician Tanya Taylor.
“We are so lucky to have someone as talented as Tanya to work with,” Demers said. “She is not only a wonderful pianist, but also very professional. I can go to her with ideas and adjustments and she is always willing to work with me on them.”
Sometimes audiences forget the Park City Singers is a volunteer community choir when they attend the concerts, and that is sometimes a great reward, according to Demers.
“We do as best as we can, and I take the singers’ participation very seriously,” he said. “Our mission is to share the talents that we have in our community with other members of the community.”
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