Dear Singers and Musicians:
With arrival of Labor Day, the start of school, and football, we know that fall is coming, and Thanksgiving, Advent, and Christmas aren’t far behind, so that means that
THE CANTATA IS COMING! THE CANTATA IS COMING!
Performance Date: 4 December 2016 (7:00 PM, St. Ann’s Roman Catholic Church, Hornell)
Music Pickup, Listen Through, and First Rehearsal: 16 October 2016, United Presbyterian Church, Hornell
Rehearsal Times: 6:30-8:30 PM Sunday, beginning October 16th
Please participate in this year’s Community Christmas Cantata, and please spread the word. Our email list has some invalid addresses, and we want to make sure that we reach everyone who sang with us last year and as many other singers as possible.
Here are the rehearsal details. Our first meeting is Sunday, 16 October. You can purchase scores starting at 5:30 PM. We will have the music playing, and there will be a regular rehearsal, 6:30-8:30 with our very own worry-early music director, Mark Smith. Music pick-up and rehearsals will be at The United Presbyterian Church, 150 Main Street in Hornell (use the Church Street entrance). All subsequent rehearsals (except for the one on Saturday, 3 December) will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, also at The United Presbyterian Church.
The cost of the music is $15. The music price includes a little extra to pay for orchestration and expenses, such as shipping costs.
Mark Smith “auditioned” many Christmas cantatas before selecting What Sweeter Music by John Leavitt, a well-know composer of sacred choral music. Mark says this cantata contains “terrific arrangements,” as well as a few wonderful, but less-frequently performed carols.
Along with this cantata we will fill out our program with two additional contemporary pieces. One is Mary Did You Know, with Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silent, arranged by Joseph Martin, another well-known composer/arranger of sacred choral music. This piece is moving, large, and “wonderfully layered” (another quote from Mark). The second piece, will be a wonderful arrangement “Ring the Bells” made popular by Travis Cottrell.
And yes, we will also perform the “Hallelujah Chorus” from “Messiah.” (Dig out your copy, if you have one!) We’ll also have the traditional carol sing with the audience. That’s always a moving finish to our musical celebration of the coming of Christ. A link to mp3 versions of these pieces can be found here .
If you’re not sure about participating in this year’s Cantata, let me make some points that might help you decide to make the commitment. First, our chorus is open to inexperienced singers. We don’t have auditions. All we ask is that you are serious about your participation by attending rehearsals and by practicing a little bit on your own. Mark is not only a wonderful director; he is a great choral teacher. Second, this is a short commitment – eight weeks. I sing in my church choir, in the Cantata chorus, and in Orpheus. I love to sing in choral groups, but that wasn’t always the case. I started singing as an adult when Jackie Walker (the first Cantata director) asked me to commit to eight weeks of singing in the Cantata. That got me hooked, and maybe you’ll get hooked too. Even if you don’t, it’s just eight weeks, with one rehearsal a week. Third, we don’t have age limits. If you’re a senior, and you’re worried about standing on risers for the performance, we can make sure that you stand on the floor, or that you sit. If you’re a young person, we welcome you as long as you are a serious, full participant. Rehearsals are both fun and hard work (the two really can be compatible!). Discipline is required, because Mark has a lot of ground to cover each time we meet. Fourth, this is an opportunity to join with friends and strangers (who won’t be strangers after you sing with them) to present a gift to the community, a very precious gift at a time when the true meaning of Christmas is needed more than ever. Fifth (and I’ll stop with five, even though I could keep going), we have an amazing director – Mark Smith – who really makes the hard work of rehearsing a joy and the highlight of the week for many of us.
Join Us – Please!
Please make the commitment to attend all of the rehearsals. We know that jobs, travel, illness, and other events in your life may force you to miss one or two rehearsals. However, please remember that the morale of the group and the enjoyment of the process are directly linked to optimum attendance. Our performance in St. Ann’s is the highlight and culmination of our efforts, but the fellowship and enjoyment of participating in the cantata is rooted in the rehearsals. So please give this your most serious consideration.
On behalf of the Hornell Community Choir, best wishes! We look forward to having you singing with us this year!