GUILFORD—Friends of Music at Guilford, now in its 47th concert season, will present two Christmas musical events: The 42nd annual Community Messiah Sing on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 1 p.m., with the Christmas at Christ Church program, now observing its 40th anniversary, following on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 7 and 8, at 8 p.m.
Clark Anderson will take to the podium of Brattleboro’s Centre Congregational Church to run 200 to 300 assembled choristers through a few demanding passages before signaling to organist Christian Huebner that it’s time to begin the sing.
The entire Christmas section, plus a few popular later numbers, are then “run” with soloists Aurora Phillips, soprano; Jessica Callahan Gelter, alto; Michael Duffin, tenor; and Larrimore Crockett, bass.
Since 2007, the Sing has been a benefit for the homeless at holiday time. All door donations, more than $8,500 to date, are divided between the Brattleboro Area Drop In Center and the Morningside Shelter. Event sponsors also donate services or cash to cover most of the event’s expenses.
The Drop In Center’s van outside Centre Church that afternoon will collect cash from downtown shoppers, as well as canned goods, winter outerwear and blankets, and unwrapped, new toys.
Less than a week later, the more austere setting of a historic country church, now open only for special events, welcomes 100 or more folks on each of two evenings of this year’s Christmas at Christ Church celebration.
The church is on the corner of Route 5 south and Melendy Hill Road, in the Algiers village of Guilford, just over a mile from Exit 1 off Interstate 91.
Donations collected at the door are shared with the church preservation committee to cover the cost of heat and maintenance.
This season’s theme, “Christmas Cometh Caroling,” the title of one of Alfred Burt’s 15 carols.
A brass quartet of BUHS students will perform three specially arranged Burt carols from the 1940s and 1950s as prelude, interlude, and postlude to 10 more performed by the Guilford Chamber Singers. Most of the 19-voice group, conducted by Tom Baehr, sing with other area choirs and choruses.
As he has done almost every season, Don McLean, a Friends of Music founder and its administrator for the first 40 years, will read a classic holiday story. Reprising the one featured in year one, he will offers his rendition of Dylan Thomas’s “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.”
A short carol sing will end the hour-long gathering, and the church’s bell will welcome in the holiday season.
For further information on these events and the entire Friends of Music season, contact the office at 802-254-3600 or visit www.fomag.org.
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