Anyone looking for a special way to kick off the holiday season need look no farther than the Sun City Chorus & Orchestra holiday show, “Sounds of the Season.”
This year’s program, directed by Art and Lorraine Hansen, will be presented at Sun City’s Magnolia Hall, Dec. 1-3 at 7:30 p.m., and matinee, December 4 at 2:30 PM. The public is invited.
“For me the holiday season and the spirit of Christmas starts with this show,” said Paul Michaud, a tenor in the chorus. “I always hear from so many people who tell me, ‘Once we hear the Chorus, we’re ready for the festive holiday season.’”
Soprano Joanne Murray agrees. “The music is inspiring, and it really kicks off the holidays,” she said.
“The music warms my heart and puts me in the holiday spirit,” said Carolin Collins.
If you’re ready to haul out the holly, put up the tree and give thanks for the meaning of the season, hearing this chorus of mixed singers and orchestra present an entertaining mix of traditional and secular selections will cheer you on.
When asked how he makes each holiday concert fresh and new, director Art Hansen said he tries to mix up the traditional, new contemporary, sacred and non-sacred, as well as use new arrangements that become available.
“This year we are doing an ‘O Come All You Faithful’ arrangement which is really a rhythmic off-beat, sort of salsa-esque type of music,” Hansen said. “People know this tune, but they don’t know this new beat that’s both challenging and fun to perform. It engages the singers and instrumentalists as well as the audience as it tells the Christmas story.”
Does he have a favorite from this year’s selections? Hansen admitted he’s “particularly fond of Joshua Spacht’s really fresh arrangements.”
“There’s a lot of space in the music that he orchestrates – a lot of room to make music, and it suits the singers well,” he said. “He really knows what he’s doing, and he brings a new voice to some of the older tunes like ‘O Holy Night.’ He almost brings a theatrical voice to it which is interesting.”
What is a holiday concert without “White Christmas”? Hansen said Irving Berlin wrote many compositions that appeal to the common person, and is eager to present this one. “I’ve got this ‘White Christmas’ arrangement that I like because it sings the opening verse – which you don’t often get,” he said.
The chorus of about 60 singers rehearse for more than three months, and they don’t disappoint. Baritone Bruce Harris said, “I appreciate so much singing with a director and a group who aren’t satisfied with ‘good enough,’ but always strive to be better, to keep improving.”
In addition to many traditional tunes, the group has fun with the familiar and not so familiar secular tunes such as “Jing, Jing A Ling,” “Pat-a-Pan Salsa” and some much-loved Broadway tunes – and maybe a few surprises along the way.
Tickets are available at the Magnolia Hall Box Office, Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. or call 843-941-9729, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rhonda Harris is a member of the Sun City Chorus and Orchestra.