by Dr. Jeffry A. Jahn
The Holiday season is filled with many traditions that are strictly adhered to, and fervently cultivated. One of the most common traditions during this festive time of year is listening to music. And not just any type of music, but holiday music that best describes the mood and feelings of an individual or group, and highlights their reason for celebrating.
Choral music in particular is definitely the greatest champion for the Christmas season because “holiday music” is heard anywhere and everywhere, at every time of day or night. Because the public is inundated with popular sing-along carols, I chose music for our annual ARS holiday concerts that is familiar enough to be recognizable, yet different enough to be engaging and refreshing for both the performer and the audience.
As has been said by those who are far more eloquent than I (indulge me in a little of my own paraphrasing), at Christmas – a time when classical choral music is often considered too lofty to be appreciated by everyone – the prevailing artistic expressions are not always great soul-searching, lengthy or religious works, but rather, songs that everyone can sing.
This year’s Heavenly Light concert series owes its inspiration to the same notion: we are presenting a program of well-known carols that everyone can sing (or wishes they could) in addition to music that is influenced by the customary European standard for choral music: from the solemnity and awe-filled music of the Russian Orthodox Church, to the height of German compositional grandeur during the mid-19th century, to the fanciful flair and subtle nuance that typify mid-20th century French music, to the glory and cultural stamp of the English choral tradition. Keep in mind that the classical pieces in our repertoire also define the music of the season.”
Heavenly Light demonstrates that choral music, because of its inherent blending of music and words, can touch and move one’s very soul. I am confident that when you hear Heavenly Light, you will be inspired by the fundamental joy and happiness that characterizes the holidays. You may also be surprised by the tremendous gifts that familiar carols and tunes have for you when they are musically wrapped in new ways…just waiting to be opened, and heard again, for the first time.