Holiday concerts celebrate a return to traditions

Choral Art Society in concert, courtesy image
Danica A. Buckley, Founding Artistic Director, Choral Art Society, courtesy image

THE BOSTON GLOBE – With Thanksgiving Day in the rearview mirror and the holiday season underway, regional choruses are preparing for holiday concerts with special anticipation following a year of accommodations compelled by the pandemic.

After holding rehearsals over Zoom and a “parking lot” concert in July, Snug Harbor Community Chorus began rehearsing in person this fall for its upcoming holiday concert, “Comfort and Joy,” at Duxbury Performing Arts Center.

“We are thrilled to be offering our holiday concert,” said Pam Smith, president of the community chorus, which is celebrating its 25th year.

The concert will take place Saturday, Dec. 11, at the center at 23 Alden St., beginning at 7:30 p.m. Advance tickets, available online at snugharborcc.org, cost $15 each. Children under 10 are admitted free.

Music director Randy McGee said chorus members have been enjoying rehearsals this fall and are excited by the prospect of performing. “Especially as many of us are feeling lost and exhausted, we are hoping to bring great ‘comfort and joy’ to the South Shore and beyond audience,” McGee said.

Masks are required for all performers and for everyone in the audience. Vaccinations also are requested.

Among the program’s highlights are a performance of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” by Clement Clark Moore; the Ghanian folksong “Daa Naa Se” (“Oh Give Thanks”); and “Hanerot Halalu,” by Baruch J. Cohon, celebrating the story of Hanukkah.

Other regional choruses are gearing up for December performances as well.

The Choral Art Society of the South Shore will perform a program called “A Winter’s Day” on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 4 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 465 First Parish Road, Scituate. Tickets are $25 for adults; students age 18 and under are free. They’re available at choralartsociety.org.

The concert will feature Canadian contemporary composer Sarah Quartel’s “A Winter Day,” performed with piano and cello accompaniment, and “Canción de cuna” by Jose Elizondo.

Chorus director Danica Buckley said she explored several compositions of Quartel’s to find just the right fit for her chorus “to celebrate our first performance back in person.

“To find a 15-minute work, by a woman composer, set to poetry by women, on a winter theme, and composed for piano and cello [our oft-used combo] was serendipitous,” Buckley said. “It’s a beautiful work, and we look forward to bringing it to a Massachusetts audience for the first time.”

The chorus will perform masked. Audience members are requested to remain masked through the entire concert and to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the show. Seating will be spaced.

B’nai Tikvah in Canton will host a special Hanukkah online concert featuring singer-songwriter Sue Horowitz on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 4 p.m. Audience members can watch from home or come to the temple. Anyone entering the temple must be masked and show proof of vaccination. The event will begin with the lighting of the Hanukkah candles.

For more information and to reserve tickets, contact the temple office at 781-828-5250.

The Plymouth-based Pilgrim Festival Chorus will perform a holiday music concert called “Remembering Christmas Past” on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 5, at 4 p.m. at St. Bonaventure Parish, located at 803 State Road in the Manomet section of Plymouth. Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, and $15 for students over age 14. Children 14 and under are free.

The concert will be conducted by William B. Richter, with accompaniment by Elizabeth Chapman. The two are the choruses’ codirectors.

Richter called the concert program “an amalgamation of our favorite holiday season works from the last half-dozen years of Christmas concert performances.” The program “features a wide cross-section of beautiful pieces, from solemn to lively choral music.”

Chorus members are vaccinated and will perform masked. Audience members are expected to be vaccinated, to mask during the performance, and to maintain appropriate social distancing.

Pilgrim Festival Chorus in Concert, image by Brian Wick