The Augusta Choral Society will perform its annual Christmas concert Saturday December 14, at Saint Paul’s Church. The “Messiah and More” performance will feature highlights from Handel’s “Messiah,” as well as other Christmas favorites.
The concert will be in two parts, said Carolyn Dolen, the executive director for the Augusta Choral Society. The first half of the concert will be selections from Handel’s “Messiah” and the second half will be much lighter Christmas music and will even include some singing from the audience.
“Everybody associates ‘Messiah’ with Christmastime, and we get calls from people asking ‘When is the [Augusta] Choral Society doing the Messiah this year?’ So, we typically try to include at least some portions — the most familiar Christmas portions — with our December concert,” Dolen explained. “That’s what we’ll be doing this time for the first half of the concert, and then the second half will be much lighter Christmas music. Some of it is traditional Christmas carols — some of which the audience will sing with us — and we also have pieces such as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and a musicological journey through the 12 Days of Christmas — which is a fun setting of the 12 Days of Christmas that was written for chorus with orchestra.”
The performing ensemble will be comprised of 85 members of the Augusta Choral Society and a 30-piece orchestra, piano and organ and features professional instrumentalists from across Georgia and South Carolina. It is the most popular concert the choral society performs all year, Dolen said.
“Traditionally, it’s been the most popular concert we do,” Dolen said. “We always have a large audience for it and because we usually do it the second weekend in December people expect it and they look forward to it. Some people say it’s not Christmas until you’ve seen ‘The Nutcracker,’ other people say ‘Well, it’s not Christmas until we’ve heard the choral society concert’ or until they’ve heard the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ — it’s just part of what makes it the Christmas season for people.”
In addition to the concert being an annual tradition, this year the Augusta Choral Society will be taking up a collection and monetary donations for the Georgia War Veterans Home.
“The night of the concert we’re taking up a collection of small personal items — like toiletry type items like you’d get in a hotel — soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, combs,” Dolen said. “This is a donation for the Georgia War Veterans Home. We did this last year, too. We’ve asked people if you’ve got little, small personal-size bottles of any personal-care type products then we ask you to bring those in and we collect them. We also take donations from people who would rather do that and then right before Christmas we deliver the gift items that we turned in and we use the cash to buy little snack food items — Which they just love to get.”
Augusta Choral Society’s “Messiah and More”
Saint Paul’s Church
Saturday, December 14
$25; $10 for students and active-duty military