Greenwich Choral Society is performing Christmas Joy on Saturday, December 1, at 4:30pm and Sunday, December 2, at 2:30 & 5:00pm, at Christ Church, Greenwich, in a concert heralding the start of the holiday season.
As is now tradition, the celebration begins with a magical candlelight procession, before the audience is taken through the Christmas story from the Angel Gabriel in Nazareth, to Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem, to a birth in a stable, and finally to personal celebrations of the season. Each stage of the journey is woven together by music of great beauty and majesty from Pinkham, Rachmaninoff, Schütz, Britten, Rutter, and more, as well as traditional carols. Maestro Paul Mueller, GCS Music Director, said of the forthcoming concerts “I am particularly excited about this year’s Christmas program, partly because of the wonderful mix of styles, voices and instruments, but also because the chorus is responding so wonderfully and sensitively in rehearsal. I look forward to polishing the program and bringing a deeply moving performance to our audience.”
Greenwich Choral Society singers will be joined by harpist, Rita Costanzi, who dazzled the audience at GCS’ March concert, and a solo vocal quartet comprised of Sarah Marvel Bleasdale, Ellen Taylor Sisson, Kevin Burdette and Brian Downen.
Harpist, Rita Costanzi, has performed with orchestras across Canada, and at Tanglewood, Marlboro, Chautauqua, Sitka and Bellingham Festivals. She was twice winner of the American Harp Society’s National Competition and is a recipient of the Lily Laskine Award for the most outstanding solo harp recital.
Ellen Taylor Sisson, soprano, returns to sing with GCS and has a long association with Christ Church as soloist, most recently last spring in Bach’s St. John Passion. She has appeared as soloist in Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields (Sir Neville Marriner, conducting), in Messiah and Dido and Aeneas with the American Classical Orchestra and in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with the Richmond (VA) Symphony.
Alto, Sarah Marvel Bleasdale hails from North Stamford and is a frequent soloist throughout the tri-state area. She recently performed in Le Roi Malgre Lui with the Opera at Bard Summerscape and is the second alto soloist on the Israel Philharmonic’s newly released recording of the Bloch Sacred Service and is featured as the alto soloist on the Naxos label’s complete CD recording of Handel’s Messiah.
Tenor, Brian Downen has sung leading roles in more than 50 productions for opera houses in the US, Europe and Canada. His concert appearances include Haydn’s Theresienmesse with the Ascension Singers Chorus and Orchestra and Carmina Burana with the York Symphony. He has also sung the Messiah with The Masterworks Chorale in Carnegie Hall and with the National Choral Council in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.
Bass, Kevin Burdette has sung with the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera and L’Opéra de Québec, among others. His concert highlights include performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as a soloist in the Messiah, Los Angeles Philharmonic, American Symphony Orchestra, New Jersey Symphony and National Symphony, as well as performances at Carnegie Hall and Avery Fisher Hall.
Tickets for Christmas Joy are $38 and $28 with special pricing for students and children. Discounts also apply for groups of 10 or more adults. Tickets can be ordered online or by calling 203-622-5136 (group sales are available by calling the GCS office).