December 02, 2015

Concert Choir, Choral Union offer holiday concert

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. – The Southern Illinois University Carbondale Concert Choir and Choral Union sing in the holiday season with a concert of “Carols and Lullabies of the Season” on Dec. 8. 

The program features two extended works. “Ceremony of Carols,” by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), and “Carols and Lullabies: Christmas in the Southwest,” from Conrad Susa (1935-2013). 

Susan Davenport, associate professor and director of choral activities, said “Ceremony of Carols” has become “a bit of a holiday classic.” Britten based the carols on poems from “The English Galaxy of Shorter Poems,” a collection featuring poems written in a Middle English style similar to Chaucer’s poetic language. Harpist Claire Davis joins the choirs and Davenport conducts. 

The Susa selection provides a perfect musical segue. He based his works on Spanish carols, but said the work serves as a “companion piece for Britten’s ‘Ceremony of Carols.’” In this part of the program, School of Music faculty members Christopher Butler and Isaac Lausell join Davis on marimba and guitar respectively, and Jeremiah Selvey conducts. 

“Both works are quite accessible to an audience, and while they won’t necessarily hear ‘Jingle Bells,’ they will hear songs to get them in the mood for the holidays,” Davenport said. 

The SIU Concert Choir is a top performing vocal ensemble. The SIU Choral Union includes SIU students and community singers. 

The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in Shryock Auditorium. Tickets are $12, with student tickets at $6. Tickets are available at the SIU Arena ticket office.