GUILFORD—Friends of Music at Guilford (FOMAG) presents “Joyeux Noël,” its 46th Christmas at Christ Church program on Friday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m., and again at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8.
Traditional elements will include music of the season, a story with a holiday or winter theme, and a short carol sing.
This year’s program is dedicated in memory of Neil Quinn, who died in mid-September. He served as Guilford’s town moderator for many years and was a longtime member of Christ Church Guilford Society, the nonprofit group that maintains this historic site, performing much of that work himself.
The 16-voice Guilford Chamber Singers begin the program with five traditional French carols and then Francis Poulenc’s Quatre Motets pour le temps de Noël (Four Christmas Motets), composed in 1952 and inspired by four scenes from the Nativity story.
While the carols are sung in their original tongue, Poulenc set his motets to texts in Latin.
Led by Tom Baehr for a seventh season, the singers include sopranos Catie G. Berg, Christina Gibbons, Jenny Holan, and Elizabeth Lewis; altos Sarah Lott, Beth McKinney, Laurie Schneski, and Joy Wallens-Penford; tenors Steven John, Bill Johnson, Hal Kuhns, and Peter Tracy; and basses Peter Abell, Orion Barber, Calvin Farwell, and Tom Green.
Instrumental interludes from the French repertoire are provided by a few Guilford Chamber Players.
The program’s dramatic reading, performed as usual by FOMAG founder Don McLean, is “Alone,” a new winter story by Guilford author Mimi Morton.
Everyone then joins in on a few seasonal carols before heading away into the night as the Christ Church bell tolls across Algiers Village.
Door donations are divided between FOMAG and Christ Church Guilford Society, a nonprofit that oversees the preservation and manages the special-event use of Christ Church, consecrated in 1818 as the first Episcopal church in Vermont but without an active congregation since the early 1890s.
FOMAG will also offer for sale concert CDs as well as several card series, with images by local and regional artists whose work has been featured on posters and program books.