By Megan Rodriguez
As December approaches, two local choirs are preparing for a concert that is sure to excite even the grumpiest Grinch with the replication of a famous performance and an audience sing-along.
Brazos Valley Chorale is preparing for their annual Christmas concert, which will be a joint performance with the St. Joseph High School Choir.
The Brazos Valley Chorale’s entire season pays tribute to a famous musician, and the White Christmas performance is no exception.
“Our overarching theme for the whole year at the Brazos Valley Chorale is the celebration of Leonard Bernstein,” says Don McAvoy, Brazos Valley Chorale artistic director and conductor. “2018 will be the 100th anniversary of his birth, so our whole season has focused in on Bernstein’s music. He only did one Christmas album in his whole career and that was with the Mormon Tabernacle choir and they recorded it October of 1963 and it was called Joy to the World … I wanted to connect with the Bernstein celebration by replicating that Joy to the World album he made with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.”
The performance also aims to be fun for the whole family with opportunities for attendees to join in and sing along to “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” “Joy to the World,” and “Silent Night.” In addition to the Brazos Valley Chorale and St. Joseph High School Choir, there will be selections for the women’s chorus, the men’s chorus, and the chorale’s chamber singers, according to McAvoy.
Songs selected for the St. Joseph Catholic High School Choir were hand-picked by the group’s director Roger Boening.
“My choir is going to be doing an arrangement called ‘Bethlehem’ and it’s based upon ‘Oh Little Town of Bethlehem,’” says Boening. “We are going to be doing an arrangement of ‘Joseph Dearest, Joseph Mine’ which just seemed to fit my group really well, so those are the two that I picked that we are going to do by ourselves.”
As the Brazos Valley Chorale’s most popular concert of the season, the Christmas performance has been known to fill their former venue to capacity, leading to the need for a larger host site. For this year’s concert, Reverend Monsignor John A. McCaffrey of St. Joseph Catholic Church generously opened the doors of Christ the Good Shepherd Chapel, which has a seating capacity of approximately 2,400 people.
While preparing a concert for a crowd this size requires countless hours of hard work, McAvoy says the end result is what he looks forward to the most.
“There is a lot of preparation that goes into planning big events like this and the thrill and excitement of the actual event makes all that worthwhile,” says McAvoy. “The music comes alive and the audience reacts to it, and it’s just a wonderful thing for music to connect with people and to bring to life the spirit of Christmas.”
The concert will be held on Dec. 11 at 7pm at Christ the Good Shepherd Chapel, located at 600 South Coulter in Bryan. Tickets may be purchased online at www.bvchorale.org, at the door on the day of the concert, by calling (979) 476-8199, or from any Chorale member. Student tickets are $5; adult tickets are $15 if purchased in advance or $20 at the door.
“Even though it is early in the month of December, people are so busy between thanksgiving and Christmas with a lot of different preparations,” says Boening. “I think these concerts are just a really nice time for people to sit and think about what’s important during this time of year and in the midst of all the busyness, just take a breather and enjoy the season.”