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Archive for Sunday, November 27, 2005

Seasonal sounds

Lawrence Civic Choir plans show with inspiring holiday tunes

November 27, 2005

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In festive celebration of the holiday season, the Lawrence Civic Choir will sing diverse arrangements of standard carols and works by contemporary and Renaissance composers for its annual holiday concert.

Steve Eubanks, artistic director of the choir, says the performance is designed to appeal to anyone who enjoys music.

"We are offering a fun program which can stretch the listeners and expose them to literature they may not listen to," Eubanks says. "We hope to expand the audience's musical experience."

Eubanks will conduct the 110-member choir, scheduled to sing selections such as "Hodie Christus natus est," by Renaissance composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck.

"It's a polyphonic work that dances," Eubanks says.

Some numbers will be accompanied by a small orchestra with the assistance of Geoffrey Wilcken, pianist and composer. Wilcken composes and arranges choral music for the church and concert halls.

Other choral selections include contemporary family carols like "Christmas Cantata," by Daniel Rogers Pinkham; "Shepherd's Pipe Carol," by John Rutter; and "A Feast of Carols," by Randol Alan Bass.

"Silent Night, Holy Night," arranged by David Schwoebel, will have orchestral accompaniment.

"It's a beautiful, tender rendition," Eubanks said. "It's our signature piece."

Eubanks describes the choir's sound as a four-part harmony consisting of soprano, alto, tenor and base.

"We have a very full sound," Eubanks said. "It's also tender with a soft piano sound."

Eubanks, a native Kansan, is the director of choral activities at Topeka High School and has been with the Lawrence Civic Choir since 2002.

He says the choir is unique in that it is self-governing and self-perpetuating, and that the singers set a high standard of excellence.

"This is a true community chorus for Lawrence," he said. "It reflects the community. We have housewives, lawyers, educators and students."

Jonathan Parnell, a Lawrence attorney who sings bass in the choir, says he finds singing a respite from the stress of day-to-day life.

"Singing together gives us a sense of community," Parnell said. "We are like intimate strangers when we sing together. There's a lot of hope offered in music."

The Lawrence Civic Choir was established in 1975 when singers within the community began a tradition of performing concerts. New members are welcome and can join at the first rehearsal of each semester.

The show will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10 at First United Methodist Church, 946 Vt.

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