Voices will be raised in song when Centreville High choral students present “Celebrate Peace; A Winter Choral Concert.” It’s set for Thursday, Dec. 17, at 7:30 p.m. in the school theater. Admission is free and a reception will follow.
The show will feature all the ensembles in the choral program, as well as various soloists and a student-directed a cappella group. It’s also a diverse program of choral pieces from different eras and cultures, sung in a variety of styles.
“This concert is a wonderful way to usher in the holiday season,” said Choral Director Lynne Babcock. “Musically, there is something for everyone.”
To open the evening’s entertainment, all the choirs will sing the Brazilian song “Cangoma.” The Madrigal Ensemble will follow with three madrigals from the Renaissance era. The Women’s Ensemble will then sing a trio of stylistically different pieces: “Banjo Pickin’ Girl,” “Iraqi Peace Song” and the comedic “Mashed Potato/Love Song.”
The Men’s Ensemble will then perform “Keep Your Lamps,” “The Water is Wide” and “Dashing Through the Slush,” a satirical takeoff on “Jingle Bells.” Next, under the direction of student Caitlin Dodson, the all-female group, Upbeats, will sing “Mr. Sandman.” Then Concert Choir will perform “Jenga Imani Yako,” a Tanzanian folk song, followed by “Eatnemen Vuelie” and the spiritual. “Twelve Gates.”
The second half of the program will begin with Bella Voce singing “Taladh Chriosda,” a Gaelic carol. Then will come the Arabic song, “Koowu,” and a French Canadian tune, “Reel a’Bouche.” Rounding out that set will be the spiritual, “Music Down in My Soul.”
A special feature of this year’s Winter Concert is the local premiere of a piece for women’s voices, “We Will Find Each Other,” by American composer Ryan Lott. It’s being sponsored by the Young People’s Chorus of New York City, via its “Radio Radiance” project. Said Babcock: “The women of Bella Voce and Symphonic Choir will join forces to perform this interesting and very challenging choral work,”
The male choral students will then provide comic relief with the rollicking “Pirate Song” — which they’ll again perform with the Liberty Middle students at the Centreville Pyramid Concert on Jan. 11 at Centreville High.
Then Symphonic Choir will sing a traditional rendition of “Carol of the Bells,” followed by “Fōg Elnā Khel,” an Iraqi/Syrian folk song in Arabic. They’ll also perform “The Word Was God” and the Tanzanian folk song, “Nitaimba Sifa.” In November, Symphonic Choir had the honor of singing a new arrangement of “The Rose” at The Kennedy Center for the National Anti-Defamation League “Concert against Hate,” and it will reprise it for this concert. Closing out the set will be “It Takes a Village.”
All the choirs, along with CVHS choir alumni, will join together for the finale. “It starts with the song, “I Ask for One Day” — a plea for peace set to a beautiful poem written by a young girl,” said Babcock. “The final piece will be the traditional “Irish Blessing,” which is sung at the end of every Centreville winter choral concert, performed, as always, by students past and present.”
Accompanying the choirs will be two, professional musicians — Michael Maher, pianist and music teacher at Shenandoah Conservatory, and percussionist Scott Babcock. Said Lynne Babcock: “The community is most cordially invited to join the talented Centreville High singers and celebrate the season with a holiday musical feast.”