A Feast of Carols 2015 – Press Release

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Amanda Schkeeper
Executive Director

November 19, 2015

Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia Presents Annual Christmas Favorite
Saturday, December 12 at 5 PM

PHILADELPHIA: On December 12, Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia continues its 142nd season under its new Artistic Director Paul Rardin and presents A Feast of Carols, a program filled with traditional holiday favorites, sing-along, as well as lesser-known and modern compositions rarely heard by Philadelphia audiences.

A Feast of Carols
Saturday, December 12 at 5 PM
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Chestnut Hill
22 E. Chestnut Hill Ave., Philadelphia, PA 19118.

Mendelssohn Club Chorus
Michael Stairs, Organ
Adrienne Knauer, Harp
Paul Rardin, Conductor

Tickets/ Information: $22-42. Purchase online at mcchorus.org or at the door ($28-48). For more information call 215.735.9922 or email info@mcchorus.org

In his inaugural season as the new artistic director, Paul Rardin is seeking to broaden the stylistic reach of this annual Christmas program, combining the traditional elements of this concert with some newer, more global repertoire.

While traditional classical and Christmas-hymn literature is still at the center of the program, the audiences will also hear newer and lesser-known pieces like African-American and Caribbean tunes, a folk Celtic ballad and a vocal-jazz selection.

Unlike in previous seasons, the 2015 presentation will be a “continuous collage,” moving from one piece to the next without a pause, with applause encouraged only at the very end. In addition, Rardin plans to use different parts of the sanctuary to position his choir in groups “to create contrast and flow by mixing rousing full-choir numbers with hauntingly beautiful solos, trios, and quartets,” he said, adding: “It’s the kind of program that will put you in the mood to trim the tree by the fireplace.”

Organist Michael Stairs returns to the program as an instrumental Feast of Carols participant of many years, while Harpist Adrienne Knauer (of Philadelphia’s Mt. Airy/Chestnut Hill area) will debut with the ensemble, performing solo numbers as well as accompanying on Stephen Paulus’ Jesu Carols and Steven Heitzeg’s little tree, a setting of E.E. Cummings’ poem of the same name.

Rardin has thoroughly enjoyed the Feast of Carols performances he has attended as an audience member since returning to Philadelphia four years ago. He commented: “St. Paul’s of Chestnut Hill is a special place for me. For many years my father, Jerry Rardin, had an office there for his pastoral counseling work, and occasionally I would accompany him to or from the office. It’s wonderful for me to return to this beautiful space in this brand new role, once again having the opportunity to blend the familiar with the new.”

Stephen Paulus: Jesu Carols
Graeme Morton: In the Splendor of the Dawn
Steven Heitzeg: little tree
John Gardner: Tomorrow shall be my dancing day
arr. Michael Williamson: Ding! Dong! Merrily on High
arr. Malcolm Sargent: Two Christmas Spirituals
arr. Bruce Saylor: Go Tell It on the Mountain
arr. Stephen Hatfield: Apple-Tree Wassail
arr. Gene Puerling: Silent Night
arr. Richard Gregory: Christmas Medley
arr. Rollo Dilworth: Sistah Mary
Traditional carols:
O Come, All Ye Faithful
Of the Father’s Love Begotten
It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
Joy to the World
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
The First Nowell

(*) Program subject to change and additions.

About Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia:
Since its founding in 1874, Mendelssohn Club has been devoted to sharing great choral music as a way to connect artists, audiences and communities. Mendelssohn Club continues to expand its repertoire in the 21st century by collaborating with a wide range of innovative musical organizations. The 140-voice chorus is a highly artistic, auditioned volunteer chorus with 12 professional core singers. Mendelssohn Club believes in taking artistic risks that stretch and challenge its singers and audiences, in supporting the talent, passion, and dedication of its singers, and in the powerful communal experience that comes from shared music-making. More at www.mcchorus.org, and on Facebook.

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