The Penn Yan Community Chorus annual Christmas concert is 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2 at the First Baptist Church in Penn Yan. The program includes music from the 1500's right up to 2011.
A setting of "O Magnum Mysterium", (O Blessed Nativity), by Tomas DeVictoria and the Psallite by Michael Praetorius are examples of early music written for the Christmas season.
Another song from the 16th century, "Ding Dong! Merrily on High" is incorporated in partner song style with a second French carol, "Il est Ne le Divin Enfant".
There are some familiar songs in unique arrangements. They include "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemern"; "O Holy Night" and "O Tannenbaum."
These songs bring traditional English, French and German traditional song styles to the concert. Eastern Orthodox harmonies will be heard in Pavel Chesnokov's song, "Sing We Noel".
Gustav Holst, best known for his composition, "The Planets," wrote a beautiful melody for Christina Rosetti's poem "In the Bleak Midwinter." The poem, penned in 1872, was published with Holst's tune in a 1906 hymnal and has remained a staple in scared Christmas concerts all over the world.
Contemporary American composers have made many contributions to Christmas concert repertoire. Mary Lynn Lightfoot has composed for the text, "hodie, Christus natus est", (today Christ is born), in her piece, "Hodie! Alleluia!"
Donald Fraser's "This Christmastide", (Jessye's Carol), has been performed by many choruses and soloists around the world. Mr. Fraser conducted his composition at Potsdam's Crane School of Music Christmas program which is a popular YouTube post.
Craig Courtney has brought a beautiful, thoughtful reflection on the concept of joy in his piece, "How Great Our Joy."
His choral writing and arranging offer nuances and a new perspective to the traditional sense of joy.
Scored with a string quartet, the chorus will be joined by Penn Yan string students Emily Fingar and Kelly Zellar on violin, Devin Stahlman on viola and their teacher, Mrs. Tracey Ingerick on cello.
The final selection is the most recent composition. John Purifoy has adapted the text from a passage in the book of Luke and incorporated the Gloria passage from a traditional carol. This piece has already gained much popularity among choirs and choruses around the world.
It has been a tradition in the Penn Yan Community Chorus Christmas concerts to include an audience sing-a-long. There will be selections for the audience throughout the concert.
The chorus was begun in 1975 by Dr. David Kellermeyer, and has been performing annually since then. Singers come from Penn Yan and many surrounding communities including Dundee, Hammonsport, Bath, Reading Center, Pultney, Rushville, Middlesex and all points in between.
The chorus had the honor of being invited to sing the Holiday Concert and a spring concert in Carnegie Hall last year. Twenty of our singers were able to participate on Thanksgiving weekend with another six going in the spring.
Under the direction of Peg Patterson and accompanied by Lucinda Loomis, the Penn Yan Community Chorus continues to offer concerts in the area throughout the year. There is no admission charge for any concert. A free-will offering is collected to support the chorus' financial needs.