Holiday Prelude Concert

Fall 2014 Concert Notes

Tina Johns Heidrich, Conductor
Joe Jacovino, Accompanist
Connecticut Master Chorale Holiday Brass and Steel

Sunday November 23, 2014 3:00 pm
First Congregational Church, Danbury, Connecticut

- First Dress Rehearsal Photos - Second Dress Rehearsal Photos -
- Concert Photos - CD & Clips -
These concert notes were prepared by soprano Ginnie Carey.
  • Bradley Ellingboe

    Bradley Ellingboe
    b. 1958

    Welcome to Our Wondering Sight – Bradley Ellingboe

    University of New Mexico Professor of Music Ellingboe is well known as a composer and arranger of choral music. He selected verses from the great English metaphysical poet and Cambridge scholar Richard Crashaw's poem In the Nativity of our Lord to create this joyful and inspiring anthem.

  • Gordon Thornett

    Gordon Thornett
    b. 1942

    Noel! – Gordon Thornett

    The traditional carol "The First Nowell" is believed to be of Cornish origin. William B. Sandys (1792-1874) and Davies Gilbert (1767-1839) edited and added lyrics to create a version similar to what we sing today that was published in their Carols Ancient and Modern songbook in 1823 as well as Gilbert and Sandys' Christmas Carols in 1833. British composer and arranger Thornett has written an impressive and original tune to showcase the familiar text, filled with gorgeous harmonies and flowing noels that radiate joy.

  • Audrey Snyder

    Audrey Snyder
    b. 1961

    Dark Is the Silent Night – Audrey Snyder

    Beginning with her lovely description of the Mother and the baby in the manger, choral composer Audrey Snyder incorporates the beloved traditional "Silent Night" with lyrics by Joseph Mohr (1792-1848) and melody by Franz Xaver Grüber (1787-1863) and binds the two seamlessly together with an ingenious instrumental accompaniment, creating an extraordinary reflective atmosphere.

  • Johann Cruger

    Johann Crüger
    1598 - 1662

    Martin Rinkart

    Martin Rinkart
    1586 - 1649

    Catherine Winkworth

    Catherine Winkworth
    1827 - 1878

    John Rutter

    John Rutter
    b. 1945

    Now Thank We All Our God – Johann Crüger, words by Martin Rinkart, translated by Catherine Winkworth, arr. John Rutter

    Any important royal event in England always includes the work of John Rutter, for reasons that are immediately apparent in this outstanding arrangement. From the dramatic opening with brass and organ to his soaring and lyrical vocal harmonies, he has created a majestic setting for this familiar hymn of Thanksgiving.

  • Amy Grant

    Amy Grant
    b. 1960

    Chris Eaton

    Chris Eaton
    b. 1958

    Lloyd Larson

    Lloyd Larson
    b. 1955

    Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song) – Amy Grant and Chris Eaton, arr. Lloyd Larson

    British singer/songwriter Chris Eaton was a member of Amy Grant's touring band when she first heard his song "Breath of Heaven" from his album Wonderful World. She was working on a new Christmas album, Home for Christmas, at the time and wanted to use his song even though it had nothing to do with Christmas, so she asked him if she could revise the song for her album. Pregnant at the time, she rewrote the verses to reflect the experience of Mary as a frightened young girl who trusts in God. The result is this touching and eloquent piece with Chris Eaton's melody and refrain and Amy Grant's inspired lyrics.

  • Ed Kee

    Ed Kee
    b. 1951

    Dale Mathews

    Dale Mathews
    b. 1953

    When Will Messiah Come? – Ed Kee and Dale Mathews

    With an impressive clarinet accompaniment, this expressive song of longing for the coming of the Messiah describes the thoughtful and quiet yearning for His presence, as well as jubilant anticipation that perhaps it could be this year.

  • Craig Courtney

    Craig Courtney
    b. 1948

    Jaroslav Vajda

    Jaroslav Vajda
    1919 - 2008

    Where Shepherds Lately Knelt (for men's voices) – Craig Courtney, words by Jaroslav Vajda

    A pastor and hymnist who wrote his first hymn at the age of 49, Jaroslav Vajda wrote over 200 original and translated hymns in the next forty years, including this eloquent reflection that compares the shepherds' visit to the manger with the religious journey that all Christians make. Craig Courtney created this lyrical, sensitive and tranquil setting for men's voices.

  • John Alexander

    John Alexander
    b. 1942

    A Carol Fantasy – arr. John Alexander

    A splendid array of traditional Christmas carols are introduced by the joyous sounds of brass and bells in this glorious medley created by this prominent American professor, composer and choral conductor. In Dulci Jubilo and Personent Hodie are both found in Piae Cantiones, published in 1582 but are probably much older than that.

  • Saludo, Saludo from Puerto Rico and the Jamaican Christmas a Come will both feature the always-popular steel drums and Latin percussion instruments.

    • Ruth Morris Gray

      Ruth Morris Gray
      b. 1961

      Saludo, Saludo – arr. Ruth Morris Gray

      This is an example of a traditional Puerto Rican Carol that is sung during a festive parranda, a gathering of friends and neighbors who join together to surprise other friends and neighbors on Christmas evenings. Everyone joins in singing both secular and sacred songs accompanied by authentic traditional instruments.

    • Michael Burnett

      Michael Burnett

      Peter Hunt

      Peter Hunt

      Christmas a Come – arr. Michael Burnett and Peter Hunt

      English music professor and conductor Burnett has spent many years studying the music of Jamaica, and together with his fellow countryman and conductor Hunt has authored a book of both traditional and popular songs from Jamaica. This traditional Christmas song is cheerful despite the fact that it is seen from the perspective of the poor, who are a significant part of the Jamaican population. The repeated chorus "me wan' me lahma" refers to a desire for fabric woven with gold or silver, which the singer can't afford and the song goes on to express that she has "not a ring to me finger", "a teeth to me mouth" or a "hat to me head".

  • Enya

    Enya
    b. 1961

    Nicky Ryan

    Nicky Ryan
    b. 1949

    Roma Ryan

    Roma Ryan

    Audrey Snyder

    Audrey Snyder
    b. 1961

    Amid the Falling Snow – Enya and Nicky Ryan, words by Roma Ryan, arr. Audrey Snyder

    The ethereal sound that we know as Enya is in reality a partnership consisting of singer Enya Brennan, and the husband and wife team of Nicky Ryan and Roma Ryan. Roma Ryan is the lyricist and Enya herself is the composer and primary singer and instrumentalist. Nicky Ryan is the producer and also assists with vocals and instruments. The magical winter imagery that is so beautifully expressed in this lovely song takes us all back to the memory of candle light and falling snow on a tranquil winter night.

  • Neil Ginsberg

    Neil Ginsberg
    b. 1969

    Hine Ma Tov – arr. Neil Ginsberg

    The lyrics to this traditional song in Hebrew are the first verse of Psalm 133, "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity". Singing is an important part of the celebration of the holy day of rest, Sabbath or Shabbat. A popular choice for Shabbat dinners or services, it is also the basis for several Israeli folk dances and has been used in films and recorded by many diverse artists. The arranger is a graduate of the Hartt School of Music

  • Louis Armstrong

    Louis Armstrong
    1901 - 1971

    Kirby Shaw

    Kirby Shaw
    b. 1941

    CHRISTMAS IN NEW ORLEANS – A tribute to Louis Armstrong.

    "Satchmo" was the first Jazz soloist to achieve international fame as a trumpeter, entertainer and show business personality. We present three songs recorded and made popular by the "King of Jazz". All the choral arrangements are by composer/arranger Dr. Kirby Shaw who has extensive experience with Jazz and has scatted with such notables as Bobby McFerrin, Al Jarreau and Chris Calloway.

    • Steve Allen

      Steve Allen
      1921 - 2000

      Cool Yule (for women's voices) – Steve Allen

      Best known as a comedian, Steve Allen was a gifted composer, lyricist, conductor, singer and pianist who wrote more than 8,500 songs, including this one, which was introduced by Louis Armstrong in 1953. It has also been recorded by Bette Midler.

    • Louis Alter

      Louis Alter
      1902 - 1980

      Eddie deLange

      Eddie deLange
      1904 - 1949

      Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans? – Eddie deLange and Louis Alter

      Written by lyricist and bandleader Eddie DeLange with composer and pianist Louis Alter for the 1947 film New Orleans, a musical drama featuring Billie Holiday as a singing maid and Louis Armstrong as a bandleader. Holiday and Armstrong perform together and portray a couple who become involved romantically in this movie which also includes a number of classic jazz greats. The song has been recorded by many diverse artists including Frankie Laine, Fats Domino, Pete Fountain, Ricky Nelson, Al Hirt, Harry Connick Jr., Alison Krauss, Rosemary Clooney, Jimmy Buffett and Nat King Cole.

    • 'Zat You, Santa Claus? – Jack Fox

      This amusing Christmas song of a mysterious knocking at the door (as the singer gets more and more worried about who it actually is) has been recorded by Garth Brooks and Harry Connick Jr., Winton Marsalis, as well as Louis Armstrong, and is perhaps the only Christmas song that is scary and funny at the same time.

  • Sy Miller with Jill Jackson

    Sy Miller 1908 - 1971 with
    Jill Jackson Miller 1913 - 1995

    Craig Courtney

    Craig Courtney
    b. 1948

    Let There Be Peace on Earth – Sy Miller and Jill Jackson Miller, arr. Craig Courtney

    After an early life filled with tragedy, Jill Jackson met and married Sy Miller, a musician and composer who encouraged her to write songs with him. They wrote many songs together, with Sy writing the music and Jill the lyrics. In 1955, they wrote this iconic song about their dream of peace and their belief that each person could help to create peace. They first taught the song to a group of 180 high school students of different religious, racial, cultural and economic backgrounds who had been brought together to experiment with creating friendship and understanding. From this group of teenagers the song has spread throughout the world. This beautiful choral arrangement inspires people of all ages and all walks of life to continue that dream.

  • Tim Greene

    Tim Greene
    b. 1964

    Mike Speck

    Mike Speck
    b. 1954

    Cliff Duren

    Cliff Duren
    b. 1982

    Christ Is Born – Tim Greene, arr. Mike Speck and Cliff Duren

    Evangelist, singer and songwriter Tim Greene has written over 550 songs and is part of the successful gospel music trio The Greenes. Portions of the traditional carols Angels from the Realms of Glory, O Come All Ye Faithful and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing are interspersed with the jubilant message that "Christ is born and things will never be the same". This is music filled with the boundless excitement, energy and spirit of joy found only in Southern gospel!