Chamber Singers Close Holiday Season With Twelfth Night Concert

With sweet and gentle sounds, the Chautauqua Chamber Singers warmed our community at the close of the Christmas season with their traditional Twelfth Night Concert..

The beautiful Nordic sanctuary of the First Presbyterian Church was the scene of the concert. Jennifer Schruers accompanied on the church’s splendid pipe organ, and Bryan Eckenrode provided the support we have come to expect of him, both on eloquent cello and on the thrilling pipes of Scotland.

Rebecca Ryan is the ensemble’s director. The costumed singers, dressed for an event in the 17th century, began at the back of the candlelit sanctuary, then sang their way to the church’s chancel, then up into the choir loft, then back to finally close the concert, surrounding their large audience, who joined them in a final celebration of H.J. Gauntlett’s majestic carol, ”Once in Royal David’s City.”

The singers were joined at the program’s mid-point by the women’s ensemble Serendipity, directed by Susan Huther, who sang a three-work set which melded beautifully into the concert’s atmosphere.

The music selected all was melodic and beautiful, and was all in the heightened spirit of the Christmas season, from complex arrangements of traditional sounds of ”O Come All Ye Faithful” and ”The Wexford Carol,” to respected composers of other centuries, such as G.F. Handel and G.P da Palestrina, to contemporary composers such as Martin Rutter and Roland E. Martin.

Readings punctuated the program, from scripture, to thinking and expressions by poets, and politicians.

The Chamber Singers have always grown and declined in number, through the years, according to the personal responsibilities of the singers, and this concert boasted a very large participation, except in the tenors, who had only four singers, two of whom were quite talented guest artists. Still, the director balanced the sound well. Some attacks were a bit rough, but the overall result was delightful.

The concert will be repeated Sunday at 4 p.m., at the First United Church of Warren. The next concert sponsored by the Community Music Project will be ”A Celebration of Community,” which will be performed March 3 at 4 p.m. at Christ First United Methodist Church, in Jamestown.