TBAC Community Chorus gives the gift of song

Thunder Bay Council’s Community Chorus will present its annual Christmas concert this Sunday at 7:30 p.m. at Alpena High School. The doors of the Stanley C. Beck Auditorium will be opened at 7 p.m.

This Christmas gift to the community is the 27th such presentation by the chorus under the direction of Jim Hard. As is the custom, the first portion of the concert will consist of choruses and solos taken from “The Messiah” by G. F. Handel. The members of this year’s 64-voice chorus have been in rehearsal since October.

According to Hart, the three soloists are well-known to Alpena audiences. Owen Williams begins the Handel oratorio with the tenor recitative “Comfort Ye My People” and the aria “Every Valley Shall Be Exalted.” Marlo Broad has been singing the soprano solos for a number of years. Four of her short recitatives concern the angel appearing to the shepherds. The chorus responds with “Glory to God.”

While Martha Hart resides in St. Louis, Mo., she has previously this season sung the alto solos for two performances each in Grand Rapids and Petoskey. It is she who first sings “O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion,” and then the chorus responds by echoing that text. Among other numbers which the chorus has prepared include the familiar “For Unto Us a Child is Born” and the “Hallelujah Chorus!”

To begin the second portion of the concert, the chorus will present the spiritual “This Little Light of Mine.” This arrangement is by the noted U.S. conductor, composer and arranger, Moses Hogan. The tenor soloist for this number will be Mike Furtaw, singing two verses with the chorus adding a soft chordal, very rhythmic accompaniment.

Musicians all over the world are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of the British composer, Benjamin Britten. One of Britten’s most famous choral compositions is “Ceremony of Carols.” These very early English carol texts have been set to Britten’s quite contemporary musical harmonizations. The women of the chorus will present two numbers, “Wolcom Yole and There is No Rose of Such Virtu.”

The men will join with them for two more numbers which are more rhythmically exciting: “This Little Babe” and “Deo Gracias.”

The concert continues with very familiar carols, which the audience is invited to sing. The concluding numbers are favorites of the conductor: an arrangement of “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

Accompanist for the chorus and soloists will be Mary Louise Hart and Sonya Titus has agreed to be narrator for the evening. There is no admission charge, but TBAC will gratefully accept donations at the door to help cover the cost of music and use of the facility.