Singing All Around: Your Guide to This Weekend's Holiday Concerts

Holiday spirit comes out in song with a concert by the Concord Chorus and the opera Amahl and the Night Visitors.


Good morning, all, and welcome to Thursday! We are this close to being smack in the middle of the last month of 2012. Or, as I like to think, a mere week away from the end of the Mayan calendar. I’m really hoping it’s not the end of the world, or I’ll have wasted ridiculous amounts of time mailing holiday cards and wrapping gifts.

Instead, I’d rather be enjoying the vibrant tones of many voices joining together to make beautiful holiday music. Fortunately for all of us, the Concord Chorus has our collective backs, with its Holiday Concert happening this Saturday over at the Middlesex School. This non-profit chorus, which has been around for 67 years, is 90 singers strong, made up of Concordians as well as residents of other local towns. With performances at Symphony Hall and Sanders Theater, as well as other impressive locales, this group is the real deal.

Their concert is billed as “sacred and secular," both a cappella and accompanied by an organ, and will feature works by famous composers Mendelssohn, Brahms, Rutter, and Hassler, as well as the Oseh shalom bimromav by Westborough-native Michael Schachter. There are two performances, at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and three ways to buy tickets: by calling 978-460-3058, at the door, or by going online here. Or if you happen to know a chorus member, you can buy your ticket from them. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for those 65 and over, and $10 for students and children.

Honestly, there is nothing quite so awe-inspiring as hearing all those voices join as one, particularly when listening in so ideal a place as the Memorial Chapel. If you’re looking for a soul-lifting way to enter the holiday season, plus a chance to sing carols with the chorus, check them out. And sing to the rafters.

A little night visitor

We all know about Santa, and how he brings presents to good boys and girls on Christmas Eve. But apparently, that’s not how it happens in Italy, where it’s more about the three wise men and their gifts for the baby Jesus. It was these three kings that inspired composer Gian Carlo Menotti to create Amahl and the Night Visitors, a one-act opera playing this Sunday over at 51 Walden Street.

Here’s what happened: In 1951, Menotti was commissioned to write an opera for television. He had complete writer’s block, until he was walking through the Met in NYC and saw the Adoration of the Kings by Hieronymus Bosch. It brought Menotti back to his childhood in Italy, and the song of the Three Kings. He wrote the opera, finishing the final score just days before the live broadcast.

With so much focus on Santa and Rudolph, it’s nice to get back to the original Christmas story, complete with shepherdesses and the star in the sky. The pictures on the website look spectacular, and will make you want to see this performance in person.

Although Menotti specifically required that Amahl be played by a boy, as opposed to a woman in child’s clothing, it’s a young girl who’ll be taking the lead this Sunday. There are two performances, at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., and tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and students.

Now you have two ways to kick your holiday spirit up to the next level.


Do you have something you would like to share? Contact me at stefanieac@comcast.net and I will be happy to help you spread the good news. And follow me on Twitter: @stefanie3131.


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