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Press Release

Cantemus, Christmas and “A Ceremony of Carols”

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(Nov. 10, 2016) —Cantemus, the 45-voice chamber chorus of North Shore singers known for the high caliber of its performances, will present a selection of seasonal music for chorus and harp entitled “A Ceremony of Carols.” Programmed and conducted by Jane Ring Frank, the concerts in Hamilton and Newburyport are shaped around Benjamin Britten’s luxurious, unforgettable “A Ceremony of Carols” and other music for the holidays, much of it performed with guest artist Franziska Huhn on harp. 

Britten’s work, conceived and composed in 1942 on a trans-Atlantic crossing in the middle of World War II, has taken its place in the choral repertoire as one of the most tender and charming works for the Christmas season. The eight carols at the center of the work employ Middle English texts over uniquely modern sonorities, all sandwiched between the Gregorian chant “Hodie Christus Natus Est” at the beginning and ending of the work. The interlude for solo harp at midpoint features the same plainchant tune in different guise.

Companion pieces for harp include John Owen Edwards’ trio of traditional carols, the English favorite “Wassail!,” the Basque carol “Gabriel’s Message” arranged by Stephen Paulus, and William Beckstrand’s “So gracious is the time,” based on one of Shakespeare’s most memorable texts.

The chorus returns to the American vernacular with “I Hear the Harps Eternal,” arranged by Alice Parker in the shaped note tradition. On the lighter side of the program, “Festival Deck the Hall” recycles a familiar tune in a catchy, unexpected style. The concert closes with a Cantemus favorite, the touching “Sure on This Shining Night” by Californian composer Morten Lauridsen, set to a poem by James Agee.

The concerts take place Saturday, December 3, 2016 at 7:30 PM at Christ Church of Hamilton & Wenham, 149 Asbury Street in South Hamilton; and Sunday, December 4, 2016 at 4 PM at Central Congregational Church, 14 Titcomb Street, Newburyport.

The concerts take place Saturday, December 3, 2016 at 7:30 PM at Christ Church of Hamilton & Wenham, 149 Asbury Street in South Hamilton; and Sunday, December 4, 2016 at 4 PM at Central Congregational Church, 14 Titcomb Street, Newburyport.

New Ticket Policy + Free Tickets

Tickets for this concert are $25 for adults or $20 for seniors. Any student aged 21 and under is admitted free of charge but needs to present a ticket. Tickets are available from any chorus member, at retail outlets around the North shore as listed on the website, online at www.cantemus.org, and at the door if the concert is not sold out prior. For more concert and ticket details, call toll-free 1-888-CHORUS 1, or visit www.cantemus.org.

Thanks to the generosity of the West Newbury Local Cultural Council, some FREE tickets are available at the G.A.R. Memorial Library in West Newbury. For more concert and ticket details, call toll-free 1-888-CHORUS 1, or visit www.cantemus.org.

Cantemus gratefully acknowledges funding support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the West Newbury Local Cultural Council. Cantemus is a member of Chorus America, and of the Greater Boston Choral Consortium, a cooperative association of diverse choral groups in Boston and the surrounding area.  

Photographs to accompany this article can be downloaded at these two links:
1) a group photo of Cantemus Chamber Chorus 2016: http://www.cantemus.org/images/Cantemus2016.jpg
2) portrait of harp soloist Franziska Huhn: http://www.cantemus.org/images/FranziskaHuhn2016.jpg

Cantemus’ 48 members come from 22 communities on the North Shore, Boston, Cambridge and New Hampshire:

Amesbury: Ron Pressler. Beverly: Dick Church, Mia D’Agostino, Scott Hufford, Paul Kelly, Ali Lipman, Richard Salandrea, Rachel Small. Cambridge: Artistic Director Jane Ring Frank. Essex: Betsy Vicksell. Georgetown: Patty Clark. Gloucester: Ed Mowrey, David Warren. Hamilton: Donna Gale, Marcy Homer, Pam Morris, Peggy Russell, Jeremy Satchell. Haverhill: Mern Ebinger, Doug Guy. Ipswich: Bill Effner, Gary Freeman, Bill Holloway, Anne Maguire, Hugh McCall, Stephen Miles, Dorothy Monnelly, Chris Reif, Debby Twining. Lynnfield: Priscilla March. Manchester-by-the-Sea: Isabella Bates, Stephen Pletcher. Marblehead: Debra Basile, Tanya Tupper. Melrose: Accompanist Jeffrey Mead. Newbury: Nancy Weinberg. Newburyport: Richard Blumenscheid, Claire Cayot, Gary Lubarsky. Peabody: Marjorie Short. Roslindale: Deborah Lemont. Salem: Aria Nevin. Shirley: Cheryl Hayden. Wenham: Elizabeth Lebel. West Newbury: Jamie Cabot, Michael Fosburg, Susan Nash. Durham, NH: Sydney van Asselt.

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For more information contact:
Douglas Guy, Publicity
978-994-4410 

CANTEMUS
P.O. Box 784
Ipswich, MA 01938
888-CHORUS-1
 
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