Choral groups offer 9 ways to hear songs of the season

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Area choral groups aim to put people in the holiday mood by offering a variety of performances.

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The Augusta Choral Society performs its 2012  Christmas concert at St. Paul's Church. This year's presentation of "Messiah and More" will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14.  JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/FILE
JON-MICHAEL SULLIVAN/FILE
The Augusta Choral Society performs its 2012 Christmas concert at St. Paul's Church. This year's presentation of "Messiah and More" will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14.

AUGUSTA CHORAL SOCIETY will present Messiah and More at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

“This is a two-part concert. The first half has Handel’s Messiah,” said Carolyn Dolen, the choral society’s executive director. “The Hallelujah Chorus is what everyone wants to hear at Christmas … People call us all year and ask when we are singing the Messiah.”

Isaac Washington Holmes will be the featured soloist.

The second half of the program will be a musicological journey through the Twelve Days of Christmas. About 90 singers, under the direction of Dr. Porter Stokes, will be part of the program.

Choral society members will collect items to give to the patients at the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home.

“We are asking people to bring travel-sized soaps and other personal items and/or cash donations so we can present these items to the veterans before Christmas,” she said.

Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students and active duty military. Call (706) 826-4713.

THE AUGUSTA CHORALE, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, will also feature selections from Handel’s Messiah at its holiday concert at 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8, at Paine College’s Gilbert-Lambuth Chapel.

Other selections include pieces from Robert DeCormier’s Shout for Joy.

Ellis Johnson, former Chorale director, will be the guest conductor, and soprano Bernice Hogan Hall will be the featured soloist. Hall grew up in Augusta and has sung with the Capitol City Opera Company and the Atlanta Civic Opera Company.

Members of the Suzuki Strings of Augusta Senior Ensemble also will be featured.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students. Call (706) 830-0991 or visit augusta
chorale.org.

THE AIKEN CHORAL SOCIETY will present a different type of holiday production.

“We are doing Renais­sance pieces,” said Bill Collins, the president of the Aiken Choral Society board of directors. “We will be in costume and have a dinner appropriate for the period.”

Under the direction of Dr. Maureen Simpson, the Aiken Choral Society has two performances of their Renaissance concert. The first will be at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, in a dinner setting at the Aiken Historical Museum.

“It should be a lot of fun,” Collins said of the event that is new to the choral society.

The Dec. 13 concert will feature 25 singers and two harpsichordists in two museum rooms. Seating is limited for the dinner, and reservations must be made by Dec. 9. The dinner is $65 and features a cash bar.

The group will present the program again at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at Cornerstone Baptist Church. Tickets for the Dec. 15 event are $20 for adults, $12 for students and free to children 12 and younger. Call (803) 522-6101.

THE FESTIVAL OF NINE LESSONS AND CAROLS, now in its 26th year, will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, at Sacred Heart Cultural Center.

“We always have this in early December. It just puts you in the mood of the real meaning of Christmas,” said Sandra Fenstermacher, theexecutive director of Sacred Heart Cultural Center. “Sacred Heart is unbelievably beautiful. The ambiance is just wonderful.”

The Augusta Collegium Musicum, under the direction of Dr. William Toole, will be joined by the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church choir, the Augusta Children’s Chorale and the Martinez United Methodist Church Handbell Choir. Tickets are $20. Call (706) 826-4700.

ANOTHER MUSICAL holiday tradition is held at Abilene Baptist Church. The 35th annual Singing Christmas Tree will be at 7 p.m. Dec. 13-15 and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at the church, 3917 Washington Road.

The event is free, but tickets are required. They are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to noon Friday at the church office and online at www.itickets.com. There is a fee to download.

Guests are urged to bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots.


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