Convergence, Alexandria, Virginia
Encore Chorale’s 2014 Holiday Concert Season opened on Saturday, Dec. 6 to an enthusiastic audience at Convergence in Alexandria, VA. Convergence is the new home of the Alexandria Encore Chorale. Our concert goers braved wind and lots of rain, but they were rewarded with wonderful and energetic singing. Jeff Dokken conducted the Encore Chorales of Alexandria and the Potomac Academy of George Mason University. The evening got off to a very quick start with the memorized Thirty Second Fa La La by Donald Moore. A great and inviting selection to begin the evening. The singers were joined by bongo player Mike Winter to perform a rousing Cantar! by Jay Althouse. The energy level was high and the singers were having a great time on stage. And so was the audience. The African Noel by Andre Thomas followed, with Mike Winter on the conga drum. The singers and percussion drove the rhythm and the dynamic levels were clearly executed. The singers slowed the tempo of the concert with a beautiful performance of Christmas Pipes by Brendan Graham. Their legato sound with excellent diction was enhanced by the lovely and artistic flute playing by Sharyn Byer. The chorale brought great energy, pulsing rhythm and excellent flute obligato to the traditional English Carol, I Saw Three Ships, by Philip Stopford. The concert continued with a passionate and beautiful performance of Everlasting Light by David Shire and words by Sheldon Harnick. The piece celebrates Hanukkah, the festival of lights and the revolution against religious oppression.
The text of John Rutter’s The Very Best Time of Year was beautifully and sincerely delivered, along with the lovely flute obligato. The voices were rich and warm and attention to consonants was admirable.
The very entertaining Mozart’s Fa-La-La, with music by WA Mozart and arranged by Philip Kern, was sung with great sound, pulsing rhythm, comedy and energy. It is a choral spoof on Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and the audience loved it. The singers had a ball!
Now it was time for the audience to sing! Founder of Encore, Jeanne Kelly, and conductor Jeff Dokken warmed the audience up with physical and vocal exercises and then it was time to put the audience to the test. They were fabulous singers! They enjoyed singing White Christmas, Let It Snow, Deck The Halls, Oh Hanukkah, and Silver Bells. The Encore Chorale came out into the audience and a great time was had by all.
The concert came to a rousing close with the superbly sung Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.
Encore’s first concert of the holiday season was a huge success.
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Read more: Holiday Concert Blog