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15 November 2007

Three Christmas Programs Set for Area

By Shawn Ryan
Star Entertainment Editor

Reprinted here in its entirety.

Music is almost as integral to Christmas as the presents and the tree.

Just like modern songwriters, in classical times gone by, composers wrote songs and scores specifically to celebrate the holiday season. These works were trotted out each Christmas, sung by choirs and played by orchestras and ensembles.

To kick off the Christmas season, three such shows are being held in the Anniston area. The first, the A Cappella Choir of Jacksonville State University, is scheduled to perform Sunday in the First Presbyterian Church on Henry Road in Anniston.

Under the direction of Patricia Corbin, director of choral activities at JSU, the concert features vocal students performing both Christmas works and traditional concert choral music. Among the works to be sung are “Salvation Is Created” by Russia’s Pavel Grigorievich Chesnokov, “Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind” by England’s John Rutter and “Ezekiel Saw De Wheel” by black composer William Levi Dawson of Montgomery.

In addition, three students — Judy H. Shealy, Matthew Headley and D. Jarrod Lee — will conduct the choir for “Carol of the Bells,” “Chill of the Nightfall and “The Animals Improvise Counterpoint.”

The concert is free and starts at 3 p.m.

Next up on the Christmas program is the Annual Renaissance Madrigal Dinner, set for Friday, Nov. 30, and Saturday, Dec. 1, at JSU’s Gamecock Center. The program begins each night at 7 p.m.

The evenings begin with Wassail (cocktail hour, for the non-Renaissance types) and then a seven-course dinner. The title of the dinner is “The King’s Birthday” and features a production by the same name that was written by and stars JSU students. Don’t worry. Despite the Renaissance’s reputation for being somewhat bawdy, the dinner is a family oriented event.

Seat reservations are $30 for regular seating and $55 for patron seating. Advanced purchase is required. All reservations must be received by the JSU Choral Activities office by noon on Tuesday, Nov. 20. Call 782-5544 for reservations.

On Sunday, Dec. 2, the Calhoun County Civic Chorale presents its annual Christmas Concert. Starting at 3 p.m. in the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville at 230 Seventh St., the free program includes choral and solo repertory performances, including featured vocalists Teresa Cheatham-Strickin and Nathan Wight. Accompanied by the JSU Choral Choir, they will perform such works as “Missa Brevis Sancti” by Haydn and “Fantasia on Christmas Carols” by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Solo works by David Dempsey and Abbey Parker also are scheduled, as well as such familiar Christmas carols as “I Saw Three Ships,” “In the Bleak Midwinter” and “There Shall a Star Come Out of Jacob” from such soloists as Andy Bumpus and Susie Francis Dempsey.

About Shawn Ryan

Shawn Ryan is the travel editor and entertainment editor for the Star.

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