Around the world no holiday is more closely associated with music than Christmas. Locally it would not be Christmas without the Telluride Choral Society’s annual WinterSing. Along with Noel Nite and the Dance Academy’s “The Nutcracker,” the concert series signals tinsel time in toy town.
WinterSing continues this weekend on Friday, December 12, and next Tuesday, December 16, 7 p.m. at Christ Church.
There are songs that constitute the soundtrack of the season, evoking images of Jack Frost nipping our noses and kids listening to sleigh bells in the snow. Artistic director Dr. David Lingle chose not to include the all-time classic, Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas,” on his play list, but audiences will get to hear other seasonal chestnuts: “Sleigh Ride,” “Joy to the World,” sung by local teen a cappella group Emanon, and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” by Camilla Gardner.
Lingle describes this seasonal sampler as an “eclectic mix of holiday favorites – and then some.”
By “then some” Lingle means PDQ Bach’s riff, “The Seasonings,” on Joseph Haydn’s “The Seasons.” Both works are oratorios, a collection of solos, duets and chorus based on a central theme. Rather than capturing the essence of summer, fall, winter and spring, “The Seasonings” invites us to smell herbs and spices such as curry, tarragon and thyme through the notes. No biggie for the synesthesiasts in the crowd.
“Then some” also includes two original pieces composed and arranged by Emma Gross for Emanon.
“Emma tackles concrete subjects such as the environment and more existential fare such as the state of being,” said Lingle. “Her music is clever with interesting vocal parts and texts.”
Emanon veteran Brittany Altman is performing an arrangement of Mariah Carey’s “All I Really Want for Christmas Is You.”
The teen group is also doing Three Dog Night, singing the rock group’s anthem: “Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog.”
On a more serious note – bad pun intended – Lingle has chosen an excerpt from the first ever TV opera, “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” written by Giancarlo Menotti, commissioned by NBC’s opera theatre division.
Lingle is also featuring two musicals settings of literary classics: Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Bells” and John Rutter’s “Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind” from Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.”