Music for the season with carols
Guilford- Friends of Music at Guilford presents “An Olde New England Christmas” at 7:30 pm on Friday, December 13, and again at 4 pm on Saturday, December 14. By tradition, this 47th annual Christmas at Christ Church event includes choral and instrumental music for the season, a dramatic reading, and a few carols for everyone.
The a cappella vocal program was drawn from tune books by New England composers born in the middle of the 18th century: William Billings, Supply Belcher, Oliver Holden, Timothy Swan, and Samuel Adams Holyoke, as well as one English composer, Joseph Stephenson.
While the tunes are invariably religious, finding Christmas carols among them was a challenge for the chamber singers’ director Tom Baehr. Eight examples are included in this concert, contrasted by two modern pieces by New England composers Karl P. Harrington and Charles Ives.
Alternating with the choral offerings are an instrumental prelude, interlude, and postlude of works by some of the same early composers, performed by a quartet of Guilford Chamber Players.
The program’s dramatic reading, performed as usual by FOMAG founder Don McLean, is “Christmas Jenny,” a story by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman (1852-1930), who lived for a time in Brattleboro as a teenager and finished her education at Glenwood Seminary in West Brattleboro. She became a celebrated writer of verse, short stories, and novels, and was the first recipient of the William Dean Howells Medal for Distinction in Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Door donations at these performances are divided between FOMAG and Christ Church Guilford Society, a nonprofit that oversees the building’s preservation and manages its special-event use. Located a little over a mile south of Exit 1 off I-91, at the corner of Melendy Hill Road and Route 5 south, Christ Church was built in 1918; it celebrated its bicentennial birthday in 2018 but has not had a resident congregation since the early 1890s.
For further information contact the Friends of Music office at (802) 254-3600 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit online at www.fomag.org.