Seasonal performances offer entertainment in the true European choir tradition
McGRATHPR.com – Saint Paul’s Choir of Men and Boys presents a spectacular celebration of Christmas and the holiday season when its beloved “Christmas in Harvard Square” program returns this year with live, in-person concerts on Sundays, December 12 and 19, 3 pm, Saint Paul’s Church, Harvard Square, Cambridge. The performances feature the boy choristers of Saint Paul’s Choir School and the Back Bay Brass ensemble, conducted by SPCS Director of Music James Kennerley.
This season’s iteration of “Christmas in Harvard Square” features a Christmas program that originates across the globe – including music from Nigeria, Germany, France, the Ukraine, the West Indies, Austria, and Harvard Square itself! Immerse yourself in a holiday traditional like no other and enjoy audience favorites like “Joy to the world”, “Carol of the Bells” and “O Holy Night”, as well as a medieval French processional hymn, a lively West Indian Calypso carol, and John Rutter’s powerful, uplifting work, “Gloria”. The boy choristers are joined by the professional male singers from Saint Paul’s Choir, an ensemble renowned for its audible beauty and passionate performances. The concert also features audience sing-alongs, accompanied by the virtuosic Back Bay Brass ensemble, together with percussion and the majestic Saint Paul’s pipe organ. A cameo appearance by the youngest choristers of the choir delight in a beloved arrangement of “Silent Night”, originated by SPCS Founder Theodore Marier.
“Christmas in Harvard Square” features several of Kennerley’s carol arrangements for choir, brass, and percussion, as well as an original work. “As a composer and arranger, Christmas really is the most exciting time. The familiarity of the melodies and texts give us the inspiration to rearrange them while still maintaining an element of audience familiarity that people cherish at this time of year.” Kennerley studied composition at Cambridge University in the UK, and his compositions have been performed around the world. “For this year’s carol composition selections, I sought a sense of emotional buy-in from the choristers by tasking them to select the text that I then set to music. This is a very personal part of the process, as composers will generally embrace lyrics that particularly speak to them. Fortunately, the boys selected a beautiful poem, “Love came down at Christmas” by English Poet Christina Rosetti. Now I must get to work and write it!”
Christmas in Harvard Square concert program:
Veni Emmanuel – 8th-9th century French hymn arr. James Kennerley (b. 1984)
Alma redemptoris mater – Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c. 1525–1594)
Still, still, still – German carol arr. Bob Chilcott (b. 1955)
Betelehemu – Nigerian carol arr. Barrington Brooks (1959-1996)
Carol of the Bells – Ukrainian carol adapted by Mykola Leontovich (1877–1921), arr. James Kennerley
Joy to the world – English carol arr. James Kennerley
The Virgin Mary had a baby boy – West Indian calypso carol arr. Mack Willberg (b. 1955)
Love came down at Christmas (2021) – James Kennerley (b. 1984) (World première)
Cantique de Noël (O Holy Night) – Adolphe Adam (1803–1856), arr. James Kennerley
Gloria – John Rutter (b. 1945)
Silent Night – Austrian carol arr. Theodore Marier (1912–2001)
Hark the Herald Angels sing – Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847), arr. David Willcocks (1919-2015)
Tickets for “Christmas in Harvard Square” are $35 for general admission; $50 for reserved seating and $70 for premium seating. To order tickets, visit christmasinharvardsquare.com.
For more information on Saint Paul’s Church, Harvard Square, visit stpaulparish.org. To learn more about Saint Paul’s Choir School enrollment, curriculum, programs and performances, visit saintpaulschoirschool.us, call 617-868-8658, or email [email protected], or follow St. Paul’s Choir School Harvard Square on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
About Saint Paul’s Choir School
Saint Paul’s Choir School (SPCS) is the only private all-boys Catholic Choir School in the United States, serving students in grades 3 through 8. Founded in 1963 by Dr. Theodore Marier, SPCS is a vital facet of Saint Paul’s Parish in Harvard Square, Cambridge, led by Father William Kelly, Pastor, an alumnus of the school himself.
Dedicated to providing rigorous academic training and an extensive and unique education in music and liturgy, SPCS accepts musically talented and academically qualified boys ages nine through fourteen for full-time study. Students commute locally from communities in the Metro-Boston region. Together with committed parents and inspirational teachers, SPCS endeavors to form the faith, character, and intellectual and musical abilities of young men, preparing them for the strongest secondary schools, and equipping them to become virtuous adult leaders.
Uniquely integrated with music study, the school’s diverse academic offerings aspire to give each student a strong foundation in basic skills and to provide diverse opportunities for enrichment. The positive influence derived from the study of music on other academics is clearly evident. Classes are small and motivation is high among both students and teachers, making for a lively, energetic and creative classroom environment.
To learn more about enrollment, curriculum, programs and performances, visit saintpaulschoirschool.us, call 617-868-8658, or email [email protected], or follow St. Paul’s Choir School Harvard Square on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
About James Kennerley, Conductor/Director of Music: Internationally recognized organist, vocalist and Director of Music James Kennerley, conductor, is rooted in the English choir school tradition, having sung as a chorister under Graham Elliott and Barry Rose at Chelmsford Cathedral. He later served as Organ Scholar at Jesus College, Cambridge, and at Saint Paul’s Cathedral, London. Most recently he served as Music Director at three influential Episcopal churches in the United States. Additionally, he has provided professional leadership as Dean of the New York City Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and as Director of the New Jersey State Children’s Chorus.