Christmas Concert Is Choral Society's Gift To The Community

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Parents and grandparents are encouraged to bring their children and grandchildren to "It's Christmas" the Payson Choral Society's holiday concert on Dec. 9.

"We can't say exactly what we have planned because it is a surprise," choral member John Landino said.

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"I think the concert is really upbeat and is going to be a lot of fun. There is nothing else quite like it in the Rim Country this holiday season," said choral member Leslie Irvine.

"One of the things we tried to do this year is have popular songs people could relate to and walk out of the concert humming and feeling joyful," Landino said.

Performances are at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Payson High School Auditorium.

This year the audience will recognize familiar religious carols: "Angels We Have Heard on High" and "We Three Kings." The latter song will showcase the men of the chorus.

Less familiar religious songs include "Before the Paling" sung exclusively by the women of the chorus and "I Wonder as I Wander."

"Without Jesus' birth there would be no Christmas to celebrate," said choral member Dee Kelly. "‘African Alleluia' is a really beautiful song as well," Kelly said.

Choral director Daria Mason will bring the African drums she loves to accompany the choir on the number.

The middle school junior high band director and his two children are playing the drums.

They just happen to be Mason's husband and children -- Mike, Kit and John Buskirk.

Jack Irvine, Leslie Irvine, Ted Prince and Shelley Wayland will perform the entwined harmonies of a type of music called a contrapuntal for "Baby What You Gonna Be."

"It is an awesome piece of music," soprano Wayland said. "Every person is singing their own melody line, their own words."

Wayland, like other members of the choir finds the freedom of creative expression in music.

"I love singing harmonies," said alto Leslie Irvine. "I grew up with a mother who had a beautiful soprano voice that overpowered mine, so I decided I would learn to sing harmony so that she and I could sing together.

"I did, and we still sing together."

Audience members will get to add their voices to the chorus during latter half of concert. Mason will direct the audience in "Joy to the World," "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful" and "Silent Night".

Popular secular songs are included too.

Christmas would not be Christmas without the jolly bearded man in the red suit and the secular tunes that follow his legend.

Santa is on his way and the chorus will tell you all about it.

While "Christmas In A Minute" might not specifically remind listeners seated in the auditorium on Dec. 9 that they have 15 shopping days left, it just might get them in a holiday mood.

Christmas is coming quickly

you can't stop it

all the busy people buzzin'

‘round

a'busy buying presents since

the fall

"‘Christmas in a Minute' is a fun tune to sing. but it is hard because it goes from the sopranos to the altos, back to the sopranos and back to the bass section, so you have to know when you come in," Kelly said.

Mason picks the music. "So I am the only one to blame if you don't like it," she said.

Mason picked some "meaty" music -- the new treatment of "The Coventry Carol," by Hughes and a brand-new "In Excelsis Deo" by Gilpin.

This is Mason's fourth concert as the choral society's director. She especially looks forward to directing the evening's encore as it is a piece of music she has always wanted to direct.

"I am excited about the quality of the chorus," Mason said. "It is a wonderful, wonderful concert put on by a great group of dedicated community volunteers. They are so good to work with. That is what makes this group wonderful to conduct actually, the people who are singing and keep on giving."

Victoria Harris is the accompanist.

Concert tickets are $8 for adults, $3 for students ages 12 to 18, and free for children ages 11 and under. Tickets may be purchased in advance from Choral Society members, The Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Payson Roundup, and at the library.

Tickets will also be available at the door before each concert. Proceeds from the concerts provide musical scholarships to middle school and high school students. These are awarded each year at the spring concert.

Auditions for the spring concert will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday. Dec 11 at Payson United Methodist Church

The audition includes both rhythm and singing exercises so the board can tell what range the singer has and whether the singer can follow the music.

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