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News and notes from Fredericksburg's entertainment scene

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ARTS: A GIFT TO THE COMMUNITY

Even with neighborhoods decked out in lights and advent calendars counting down the final weeks before the big day, you can’t truly get into the holiday spirit until you’ve attended a Christmas concert.

And, luckily, you don’t even have to battle traffic or spend a small fortune to experience a great concert. There’s one right here in our own backyard—the Rappahannock Choral Society’s Christmas concert.

This year’s performance will feature familiar favorites as well as some lesser-known pieces to get everyone in the holiday mood.

You may be tempted to sing along to Christmas classics such as “O Holy Night,” “Jingle Bells” and “Let It Snow,” but attendees will also enjoy some fresh songs that aren’t sung at every Christmas concert, including “The Christmas Tree Feud,” which sets to music a discussion about whether real or fake trees are better; a medley of Broadway songs involving Christmas; “Bidi Bom,” a tribute to Hanukkah; and two original carols composed by assistant conductor Kevin Thomson.

Thomson, who is a published composer, wrote “God’s Promise in Her Arms,” about Mary holding the child Jesus, and “Come See God’s Love,” an invitation to come see baby Jesus.

“[The concert] has a very good cross section of music,” said Vic Szabo, a member of the choral society. “It’s not all liturgical . . .it’s a very good cross cut for this time of year.”

As an audition-only chorus of about 70 members, the Rappahannock Choral Society prides itself on the professional-quality performances it offers to the region.

The Rappahannock Choral Society conductor and artistic director Linda Monner said she likes to choose pieces that will entertain the audience and challenge the seasoned members of the group.

“They can do more difficult music,” Monner said.

“There’s a terrific blend of all the voices,” Szabo said. “It makes for a very, very relaxing and enjoyable concert—no one is going to be bored by it.”

JOIN THE HALLELUJAH CHORUS

The Fredericksburg Community Chorus is also kicking off the Christmas season with music at its 44th annual performance of Handel’s “Messiah.”

The 100-singer chorus, along with soloists and an orchestra, will continue the tradition of performing one of the season’s finest masterpieces on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 2 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 8, at 7 p.m. at the Fredericksburg Baptist Church for voluntary donations.

“Hopefully it will give [the audience] the spirit to start the holiday season,” said Fredericksburg Community Chorus president Velvet Payne.

WANT TO GO?

What: Rappahannock Choral Society’s Christmas Concert

Where: Chancellor High School, 6300 Harrison Road, Fredericksburg

When: 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday

Cost: Free

Info: rappahannock-choral-society.org

What: Fredericksburg Community Chorus

Where: Fredericksburg Baptist Church, 1019 Princess Anne St., Fredericksburg

When: 2 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday

Cost: Free

Info: fredericksburgcommunitychorus.org

Bridget Balch: 540/374-5417

bbalch@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/entertainment/2013/12/05/arts-a-gift-to-the-community/