BLUE HILL — The Bagaduce Chorale will present a program of holiday music at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20 and at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at the First Congregational Church of Blue Hill. The chorale will perform again at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 22, at St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church in Bar Harbor.
Music Director Bronwyn Kortge has pulled out all the brightest stops in the vast repertoire of seasonal music to craft a dazzling concert program spanning centuries and genres.
“I believe concerts are a celebratory act,” she said. “And this year, with the concerts just a few days before Christmas, it seemed the perfect opportunity to share music suffused with the spirit of Christmas and all the tender sweetness, joyous gratitude and triumph of this season.”
The program includes “some sentimental settings of songs that harken to the choral greats Fred Waring and Robert Shaw,” Kortge said. Among them are “Still, Still, Still” from Norman Luboff and the “Twelve Days of Christmas” by Siday. Also on the program are several arrangements by Kortge including “O Come, O Come Emanuel” and “Masters in this Hall.”
Two very different Christmas medleys will be on the program. Karl Jenkins’ “Christmas Celebration” includes the youth chorus and some high-energy percussion along with some beautiful melodies. This will contrast with Gustav Holst’s more traditional “Christmas Day,” which uses familiar English carols to create a dancing fugue of seasonal themes and moods.
Concert-goers also can look forward to hearing a powerful spiritual “Look-A That Star” by Jay Althouse, a pair of more traditional a-cappella carols, “Hodie Christus Natus Est” by Healey Willan and “Now is the Caroling Season” by Dorothy Priesing, and two gentle lullabies, “It Was a Night of Wonder” arranged by Kortge and “This Christmastide” by Donald Fraser. Kortge’s hope is that this holiday fantasia of sacred and secular music “will be a joyous sharing which honors the stories and traditions of Christmas.”
The chorale will be joined by the GEM Orchestra, which features outstanding student players alongside their professional mentors and by the Ellsworth Community Music Institute Youth Chorale under the direction of Danielle Woerner. Colin Graebert will provide piano accompaniment.
Advance tickets for all three concerts may be purchased at the Blue Hill Public Library, Flexit Café in Ellsworth, Sherman’s Book & Stationery in Bar Harbor and the Southwest Harbor Public Library.
Tickets cost $20 per adult. Admission is free for students, but they require tickets.
Visit bagaducechorale.org or check out the chorale’s Facebook page.