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Candlelight Carols (St. Charles)
December 3, 2021 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm$10 – $40
The St. Charles Singers will present a signature mix of Christmas favorites and stylish, lesser-known seasonal songs at its December 2021 Candlelight Carols concerts in St. Charles and Chicago, continuing a Yuletide tradition that began with the choir’s founding in 1984.
Hailed by American Record Guide as “a national treasure,” the St. Charles Singers will perform 20 seasonal songs, including seven that are new to the choir’s repertoire.
Founder and Music Director Jeffrey Hunt likens the creation of each year’s holiday program to trimming a Christmas tree, but with “musical ornaments.”
“We always include some treasured songs that everyone looks forward to, “including traditional carols in new settings,” Hunt says.
“But as a choir of highly accomplished professional singers, we also like to offer less familiar, virtuosic works for audiences to discover and savor.”
The mixed-voice chamber choir will present Candlelight Carols at 7:30 p.m. Friday, December 3, at Baker Memorial United Methodist Church, 307 Cedar Ave., St. Charles, Illinois; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 4, at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago; and 3:00 p.m. Sunday, December 5, at Baker Church, St. Charles.
Among songs to be heard for the first time at a St. Charles Singers concert is a new work by multifaceted musician Scott Stevenson of Downers Grove, commissioned by the St. Charles Singers.
Receiving its world premiere will be Stevenson’s “Whose woods are these,” a musical setting of Robert Frost poetry.
Hunt says, “The piece is unusual in that it uses a whirly tube and harness bells to illuminate the ethereal and stark colors of the work.”
Other works on the Candlelight Carols program are Boris Ord’s setting of “Adam lay ybounden,” Jan Sandström’s arrangement of Michael Praetorius’s melody for “Lo, how a rose e’er blooming,” Javier Busto’s setting of “Ave Maria,” Shawn Kirchner’s arrangement of Glenn McClure and Wes Kennison’s “One Sweet Little Baby,” Alice Parker and Robert Shaw’s arrangement of “Bring a Torch, Jeannette, Isabella,” Robert A. Boyd’s arrangement of David Willcocks’ “Silent Night,” and Christopher Robinson’s setting of “Rejoice and be merry.”
Also: Carolyn Jennings’ arrangement of “Ding Dong! Merrily on High,” Matthew Culloton’s arrangement of “In dulci jubilo,” Paul Manz’s “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come,” John Rutter’s “Jesus Child,” R.R. Terry’s “Myn Lyking,” Rutter’s “Mary’s Lullaby,” Peter Hurford’s “Sunny Bank,” Willcocks’s “Birthday Carol,” Rutter’s arrangement of “Sans Day Carol,” David Hill’s arrangement of “Away in a Manger,” Peter Warlock’s “Balulalow,” and Arthur Warrell’s arrangement of “A Merry Christmas.”
Tickets and Information
Single admission to Candlelight Carols is $40 for adults, $35 for seniors 65 and older, and $10 for students. Group discounts are available.
Tickets and information are available at www.stcharlessingers.com or by calling 630-513-5272. Tickets are also available at Townhouse Books, 105 N. Second Ave., St. Charles (checks or cash only at this ticket venue). Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the day of the concert, depending on availability.
St. Charles Singers
Founded and directed by Jeffrey Hunt, the St. Charles Singers is a chamber choir dedicated to choral music in all its forms. The mixed-voice ensemble of 30-plus voices includes professional singers, choral directors, and voice instructors, some of whom perform with other top-tier Chicago choirs. Classics Today has called the ensemble “one of North America’s outstanding choirs,” citing “charisma and top-notch musicianship” that “bring character and excitement to each piece.” The Chicago Tribune has described the St. Charles Singers as “splendidly disciplined, beautifully responsive” and proclaimed, “Chamber chorus singing doesn’t get much better than this.” Among the St. Charles Singers’ prominent guest conductors have been English composer John Rutter, founder of the Cambridge Singers; Philip Moore, composer and former music director at England’s York Minster cathedral; and Grammy Award-winning American choir director Craig Hella Johnson. The choir launched in St. Charles, Illinois, in 1984 as the Mostly Madrigal Singers.