Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Coker Christmas

Twenty four days until Christmas but the feeling of this special holiday doesn't get much stronger than it did this evening at St. Batholomew's in Hartsville, S.C. Will Carswell conducted the Coker Chamber Singers in "A Coker Christmas," powerful music of the season that made you think as well as feel - an awesome combination that demonstrates the power wielded by those who write and make music.

This is no review. I don't know music. I do know feeling. I have a pretty fair handle on competence when displayed by others. I have more than a little appreciation for the hard work that goes into a superior performance. Those in the sanctuary this evening will likely echo the sentiments that we witnessed a great performance by the 16 members of the Coker Chamber Singers, their conductor and the accompanists.

There were several excellent pieces but as Amesha Johnson stood silhouetted in front of the reflected cross singing "...we didn't know 'twas you," it would have been difficult to find dry eyes in the house.

The program, which is also being performed in Darlington on Tuesday, December 2 at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, consisted of:
** I Saw a New Heaven and a New Earth -- PeterR. Hallock (Tiffany Ross - alto solo
** Never weather-beaten sail -- Charles Wood
** And the Glory of the Lord from Messiah -- George Frideric Handel
** Magnificat -- Arvo Part -- Avery Bateman - soprano solo
** A Christmas Carol -- Charles Ives
** Glory to God in the Highest -- Randall Thompson
** Before the Marvel of This Night -- Carl Schalk -- Allyson Osborne on flute
** Dona Nobis Pacem (mvt. 6 finale) -- Ralph Vaughan-Williams
Amesha Johnson, soprano, Tyler Edwards, baritone
** Offertory -- Noel -- Claude-Benigne Balbastre
** How Far is it to Bethelem? -- Geoffrey Shaw
** Here is the Little Door -- Herbert Howells
** My Dancing Day -- arr. Gerald Near
** Sweet Little Jesus Boy -- Robert Macgimsey -- Amesha Johnson soprano
** Carol of the Bells -- arr Peter Wilhousky
** Silent Night -- arr. Paul Sjolund -- Ashley West - alto soprano, Allyson Osborne flute
** I Believe This is Jesus, -- Undine Smith Moore -- Kyle Berry, tenor

Dr. William Carsell is the Conductor
Ronda Wilkes McElveen is the accompanist

The Coker Chamber Singers include:
Avery Bateman - Columbia
Amesha Johnson -- Florence
Breonna Payne -- Sumter
Alto --
Taylor Adams -- Union
Rachel Buchanan -- Sumter
Tiffany Ross -- Sumter
Ashley West -- Charleston
Kyle Berry -- Conway
Martin Ketter -- Hartsville
Dustin Moree -- Hartsville
Julio Ruiz -- Greenville
Tim Dupre -- Greenville
Tyler Edwqrds -- Clemson
Adam Johnson -- Loris
Josh McKenny -- Sumter
Robert O'Hara -- North Augusta

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