Park City Singers feel the bustle of its Christmas season schedule
What: Park City Singers
When: 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8, and Friday, Dec. 13
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. Adult tickets will be $15 at the door
In addition to already singing during Skate with Santa at the Park City Ice Arena Monday night, the local, non-audition community choir has scheduled its annual Christmas concerts on Dec. 8 and 13 at Park City Community Church.
It will also perform Dec. 17 at the BeeHive Homes assisted living facility in Park City, Dec. 20 at the Waldorf Astoria and Dec. 24 at the Hyatt Centric.
“We try to include those opportunities for the community and guests from out of town to hear us,” said Park City Singers Artistic Director Joe Demers. “It’s not just about our concerts. It’s about sharing our talents with the community.”
Singing at the BeeHive Homes is also something near to Demers’ heart.
“First of all, we have a former Park City Singer who is a resident there, so it will be great to provide music for her,” he said.
Secondly, performing at an assisted-living center hearkens back to Demers’ childhood in San Diego.
“My mom, who was a singer in England, would make sure my sister and I performed music for those who couldn’t get out or were less fortunate,” he said. “She would take us out of school to play piano and sing at different retirement homes at least three times a year and it was a great experience to see faces light up when they heard a song they knew. So I’m so happy to be able to provide music to people who don’t have family close by.”
The Park City Singers will also sing Dec. 22 in the lobby of the Capitol Theatre in Salt Lake City, prior to Ballet West’s performance of “The Nutcracker.”
“We’re really extending our realm to include the Salt Lake Valley for the first time this year,” Demers said.
Public performances are ways for the Park City Singers to show their appreciation for the community’s support through the RAP Tax, Demers said.
“The money helps us with opportunities to increase our libraries, and performing is one way we can give back to the community,” he said.
The Park City Community Church concerts will feature a mix of sacred and secular Christmas songs, and will include several new compositions, Demers said.
One song, “Merry Christmas,” is an original work written by the choir’s accompanist Tanya Taylor, the co-songwriter and producer of the Lost Boys of Sudan musical, “Sudan and Me.”
“A month into rehearsals, Tanya told me she wrote a song and wondered if we could find a place for it,” Demers said. “Tanya’s done a wonderful job on it. It’s very lively and gospel-y, and she will lead the song from the piano.”
A few weeks ago, B. Murphy, a former touring member of the Platters, worked with the Park City Singers on Taylor’s song.
Murphy’s son, Vegas Taelor, is one of the singers in “Sudan and Me,” according to Demers.
“We had a few nights rehearsal with B., and while he’s not going to be here for our performances, but he got the song started with us,” Demers said. “That was a big highlight for us.”
Other new numbers for the Park City Singers will be “The Coventry Carol,” “The Sky Boat Song” and “Auld Lang Syne.”
“People who are familiar with the ‘Outlander’ TV show will know “Skye Boat Song” because it is the main theme,” Demers said. “We decided to do ‘Auld Lang Syne’ because we’re so close to the end of the year.”
The concerts will also feature songs performed by break-out groups that will be mostly composed of women, according to Demers.
Those songs include “Mr. Santa,” which is a Christmas-theme take on the 1954 pop hit, “Mr. Sandman,” “No Time to Diet” and “Snowfall Lullaby,” which is interwoven with the traditional carol, “Still, Still, Still.”
Demers also wanted to do a piece from Handel’s “Messiah,” but decided against the “Hallelujah Chorus” or “For Unto Us a Child Is Born.”
“We went off the mainstream and pull in ‘Glory to God,’” he said.
The concerts’ showstopper, according to Demers, will be Haydn’s “Achieved Is the Glorious Work.”
“This is also the choir’s biggest challenge as far as difficulty and the choral harmonies that come with it,” he said.
Last year the Park City Singers performed “Jesu Son Most Sweet and Dear” by Dr. Colin Brumby, to raves from the audience, Demers said.
“It was such a hit that we felt we needed to put it in this year,” he said. “The piece will feature a harpist and a soprano solo.”
Other returning selections will include “The First Noel,” “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” to name a few.
Demers also wanted to include some sing-along for the audiences.
“We decided to do a regal and majestic version of ‘O Come All Ye Faithful,’” he said. “It will start with soloist who will sing a verse in Latin and then I’ll turn around and invite the audiences to sing with us.”
Additional sing-along carols will be “Joy to the World,” “Deck the Halls” and “Jingle Bells.”
“We will provide audiences with lyrics so they can sing with us,” he said.
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Jonathan Kolon will honor Park City and mark the trials the country has gone through with COVID-19 when he releases his new song “This Highway Ends” on April 30.