From Medieval times through the Renaissance, the classical period, and into modern carols, Christmas music has changed to reflect the times. On Saturday, at St. James Episcopal Church, the Genesee Chorale will take listeners through that journey in a program entitled "Christmas Through the Ages."
"We're going to go through the process of the beginning of Christmas carols back in the 1400s and then work our way up," said Musical Director and Conductor Ric Jones. "It's a wide mix of styles and in music, a lot of things that will be familiar, some that there'll be new."
Jones said he expects the audience to find the performance as entertaining as it is beautiful.
"The whole concert begins with Gregorian chants so that's really cool," Jones said. "We have four instrumentalists. They're gonna be joining us on about six different pieces, so they'll really liven things up. We have some great, really cool arrangement of "Jingle Bells." It's a rearrangement of the Barbra Streisand version of Jingle Bells written for choir. That's a lot of fun. And then "Joy to the World," "Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending" -- there's some really beautiful, large moving pieces as well."
The concert also isn't without its challenges for the choir, which should also impress listeners.
"The biggest challenging piece is probably "Here We Come A-wassailing," which is a traditional song, but it's super challenging for the choir," Jones said. "It's seven verses, and every verse gets more and more intricate. So it begins with the choir in unison and as we progress, it gets more and more integrated, and it breaks out into eight different parts of one point. So they're going to do great on that."
Jones said he always looks forward to the traditional Christmas concert because, for him, it signals the beginning of the season.
"You get into the mood and the spirit," Jones said. "Also, they're always well attended. They're always popular concerts because people just people want to hear great music at Christmastime."
Photos by Howard Owens.