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The Stockton Chorale holds ‘Rejoice!’ holiday concerts

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Posted: Friday, December 1, 2017 6:30 pm

The holidays are time to celebrate what is right in the world, and choral music offers a unique contribution to the season.

In that spirit, the Stockton Chorale will be performing “Rejoice!” in two concerts on Dec. 2 and 3. More than 150 singers in four ensembles will present a range of beautiful music to put audiences in the holiday mood, and audience members can join in the singing of a few well-known carols.

The 60-voice Stockton Chorale ensemble opens the concert with “Natufurahi siku ya leo,” an African hymn, before performing a series of holiday hits including “What Sweeter Music” by John Rutter, “Heilig (Holy)” by Felix Mendelssohn, a jazz-inflected version of “Silent Night” and the famous “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s “Messiah.”

The concert will conclude with a moving arrangement of the traditional Scottish song “Auld Lang Syne,” which the group first intoduced to great acclaim at last year’s holiday concert.

The 18 voices of the Master Chorale will contribute a short set of three pieces, including American composer Randall Thompson’s “Glory to God in the Highest” and the virtuosic vocal slapstick of Straight No Chaser’s arrangement of “Twelve Days of Christmas,” a hit with past audiences.

As a community organization, the Chorale has a space for adult singers of any age and experience level. The Stockton Singers, begun in 2011, are 40 singers who represent that part of our mission, often performing in the community at assisted living facilities and for other community groups.

Led by Ric Campero, the Singers will perform a set of four toe-tapping numbers, that last of which is “Christmas Time is Here” and will feature the gorgeous voice of Tiffani Swain as soloist.

No holiday concert would be complete without the cherubic voices of the Stockton Youth Chorale, directed by Joan Calonico. Founded in 1987, the Youth Chorale is open to any child in third through eighth grade who loves to sing. In this concert, the 32 singers of the Youth Chorale will perform a pleasant balance of pieces, from the jubilant spiritual “Children, Go Where I Send Thee” to the more introspective setting of “In the Bleak Midwinter” by English composer Gustav Holst.

The Stockton Chorale is directed by Dr. Bruce Southard. Southard, who also directs the choral program at San Joaquin Delta College, has a doctorate in choral conducting and has directed choirs of all ages in California, Kentucky, Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota.

The Stockton Chorale, founded in 1952, is an auditioned community chorus of singers from the Central Valley, Contra Costa County and the Sierra Foothills.

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