Last night the Greenville Chorale gave its Carolina Christmas concert at McAlister Auditorium at Furman. We were joined by the Hendersonville Symphony Orchestra, and we repeat the concert today at Mud Creek Baptist Church for the Hendersonville audience. (The photo above is from last year’s concert.)
We’ve been working on the music since mid-October. The tunes are familiar favorites, and it’s easy to get tired of them. That was happening here, and I wasn’t very enthusiastic about the performance. Thursday’s dress rehearsal seemed a bit sloppy. However, it all came together for the Friday concert, and both the orchestra and chorale sounded great, and were received very well by the near capacity crowd.
We’ve been collaborating with the Hendersonville group for several years now. I’m always amazed at how many extremely talented musicians there are in the area. There are our usual collaborators, the Greenville Symphony, who almost always sound fantastic, but the Hendersonville Symphony was just as clean and tight on their orchestral pieces last night. I enjoyed listening to “Waltz of the Flowers”, “Hansel and Gretel”, and “Greensleeves” as much as singing our own pieces.
Of course, there were a couple of not-so-stellar bits. “Angels We Have Heard on High” was a bizarre arrangement by Mark Wilberg that modulates just about ever other measure. It has to be pulled off flawlessly to make sense, and at one point the men came in so far under pitch that it took several measures to get back on track. We also did an arrangement of “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming” which we performed perfectly, but Laura still described it as “alien.”
In addition to these, there were sing-alongs and lots of familiar pieces. As much as I love traditional carols, particularly of the old British tradition, my favorite piece of the evening was a rollicking arrangement of “Merry Christmas” from the movie Home Alone. It has the making of a becoming a classic Christmas piece in its own right.
McAlister Auditorium was packed last night, and we are expecting a full house at Mud Creek in Hendersonville at 4:00 pm. I’m hoping we can keep the same energy last night for today’s concert.