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Chorale offers family-friendly ‘Holiday Gifts’

Families are invited to attend 3 p.m. Saturday Master Chorale concert which features sing-along

Posted: December 11, 2008 9:07 p.m.
Updated: December 12, 2008 4:30 a.m.

The Santa Clarita Master Chorale will present two concerts on Saturday. The 3 p.m. family-friendly sing-along "Holiday Gifts" will feature a visit from Santa. The 8 p.m. concert "Be of Good Cheer" will feature a slate of chorale music.

A sing-along and a Saint Nick visit will headline "Holiday Gifts," a new family-friendly holiday concert offered by the Chorale 3 p.m. Saturday. The budget-friendly admission is only $10 and the concert is sure to include a personal favorite or two.

That same evening, at 8 p.m. is the Chorale's best-selling holiday celebration. "Be of Good Cheer" will feature John Rutter's fable, "Brother Heinrich's Christmas" and "A Christmas Garland" by Conrad Susa, a new work weaving together familiar favorites.

Brass accompaniment will only amp up the joy!

In "A Christmas Garland," all of the seasonal favorites are in good hands with this Slovak boy who grew up in a family of musicians in Pittsburgh. Susa went on to get his Masters in Music at Julliard, studying with Peter Schickele (aka PDQ Bach) among others. He now serves on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music as chair of its composition department and Bay Area critics have applauded this composer's gift for keeping his music accessible and easy on the ear. "A Christmas Garland" has it all:

Holly and ivy, three kings and three ships.

Speaking of having it all, you can win a spectacular holiday tree with all the trimmings, and your first chance is $5 (or five chances for $20). The Chorale is holding a benefit raffle of an artificial, pre-lit, fully-decorated tree valued at $1,000. You can purchase your chances in advance from the Chorale or at either concert. The lucky person will be announced following the intermission of the evening concert - and the Chorale's elves will even deliver to your house.

Englishman John Rutter ranks as one of the most elegant writers of the present and "Brother Heinrich's Christmas" features that delightful talent again. It's a children's tale with a narrator, instruments and choir.

It seems a monk and his beloved donkey must save the day when their monastery gets an unexpected visitor. We can't reveal everything, but there are dancing angel visits and a musical gift.

The glory of Christmas is unmistakable in Jonathan Willcock's "Magnificat," the text of Mary's jubilant song. It starts with a dramatic choral fanfare, and will continue to engage you rhythmically and melodically.

A middle movement features one of the most tender Christmas solos you'll ever hear. The Chorale's program is rounded out by a song for Hannukah, and two crowd-pleasers from American Randol Bass:

"Symphony of Carols" and "Gloria." A popular arrangement completes the bill: "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

The Chorale's performance home is the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons (COC), 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road, Valencia. For ticket information, visit or call (661) 254-8886.


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