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Chorus Angelicus, Gaudeamus And John McDonoughWill Offer Area Performances Of 'Christmas Angelicus'



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Chorus Angelicus, Gaudeamus And John McDonough

Will Offer Area Performances Of ‘Christmas Angelicus’

The regional children’s choir Chorus Angelicus and the adult chamber choir Gaudeamus will be joined by actor John McDonough for performances of “Christmas Angelicus” throughout western Connecticut and Massachusetts this season. The concerts take place in six different churches and chapels chosen for their beautiful architecture and acoustics.

The two most local venues and times for Newtown residents are Friday, December 19, at 7:30 pm, at St John’s Episcopal Church in Waterbury, and Sunday, December 21, at 5 pm, in the chapel of Kent School in Kent. Additional performances are planned for December 13 in Simsbury, December 14 in Great Barrington, Mass., December 20 in Lakeville, and December 22 in Torrington.

In a candle-lit church the solo voice of one child from Chorus Angelicus will be heard from the back singing the first verse of “Once In Royal David’s City.” The entire choir will join in the second verse, singing so softly the audience will be motionless, listening to every note. Then the choir begins to process down the center aisle as the audience joins in the singing. By the final verse the church will be filled with the sound of Christmas as the choristers sing the descant soaring above the rest of the voices and the full organ.

Mr McDonough, himself looking like a Dickensian Christmas character, will welcome one and all with a traditional seasonal greeting. And so the performance will begin. Carols old and new will be interspersed with readings that range from the comical to the profound. There are four traditional carols, the recital of a poem called “Touch Hands” by William Murray, a 19th Century pastor from Connecticut, and a concluding performance of the final carol, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” during which the chorus of children and adults will surround the audience.

In a review of the recording of Christmas Angelicus which appeared in The Absolute Sound, Michael Alan Fox wrote, “This is my favorite Christmas recording of the last several years. What earns it a place in the Pantheon are the descants Halley wrote, fresh, audacious, and thrilling, and the spectacular sound of the choir. This is as close to hearing angels sing as we are likely to get in this life.”

These concerts are produced by Joyful Noise, Inc, a not-for-profit organization which administers the activities of Chorus Angelicus and Gaudeamus. The performances are directed by Paul Halley, founder and artistic director of Joyful Noise and a four-time Grammy winner. The performances also feature Yale Organ Scholar Kyle Babin, who accompanies the choirs on the pipe organ.

Now in its 13th year, Joyful Noise, Inc, continues to train children and adults in the art of choral singing. With two training choirs, a junior choir, and a senior choir, Chorus Angelicus comprises over 80 children, ages 5 to 16, who hail from towns throughout the state. Chorus Angelicus gives approximately 25 concerts a year in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and around the country.

The adult choir, Gaudeamus, numbers over 50 singers, both professional and non-professional, on its roster. The ensemble has garnered one Grammy so far, and has been beatured in concerts from Boston’s Symphony Hall and Tanglewood’s Ozawa Hall to the Cathedral of St John The Divine in New York City.

Both choirs are featured performers on many recordings, with such luminaries as Dawn Upshaw, Frederica van Stade, Pete Seeger and Meryl Streep.

Tickets for all of the Christmas concerts are $20 for adult general seating, $30 for adult priority seating, and $10 for students. Call 888-788-8882 for reservations and other information.

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