Annapolis Chorale concert brings predictable delight

December 16, 1992|By Phil Greenfield | Phil Greenfield,Staff Writer

The Annapolis Chorale's annual "Celebration of Christmas" at Maryland Hall is always a toughie to review in artistic terms because, let's face it, not all that much happens artistically.

Barring an act of God, a chorus isn't about to stumble over "Jingle Bells" and "Good King Wenceslas", nor is the same accompanying orchestra going to do itself injury by falling to the ice during Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride".

It is enough to say that much lovely seasonal music was nicely rendered by conductor Ernest Green, his singers and players, and particularly by the newly formed Annapolis Chorale Youth Chorus. Only an under-rehearsed Vaughan Williams "Fantasia on Greensleeves" and an iffy "Christmas Night Carol," heard in the John Rutter arrangement, weren't quite up to snuff.

Maryland Hall was decked with boughs of holly, metaphorically at least, and a large, appreciative audience seemed to have a terrific time ushering in the holiday season in song.

Also most enjoyable was Naval Academy professor David White, who proved to be a delightfully animated narrator of "A Child's Christmas in Wales" by Dylan Thomas.

What a wonderful Christmas present the Youth Chorus is to the young musicians of our area. I know 8-year-old Joann Greenfield and her 6-year-old brother Benjamin are looking forward to joining. And if either is ever assigned a solo, I hope they sing as sweetly as young Sarah Thomas sang "In the Bleak Mid Winter" on Friday evening.

The best parts of Christmas carols are the descants. When the Annapolis Chorale sopranos ascend to the stratosphere and cut loose in the last verse of "Joy to the World", it's enough to make you ready to go mano a mano with the Grinch, any time, any place.

This year, alas, they left out Adam's "Cantique de Noel," also known as "O Holy Night." It's a syrupy song, but when Carolene Winter performs it with the orchestra, the goose bumps come out in force.

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