A Fine Holiday Feast of Christmas Music: BELL RINGERS, `AMAHL' AMONG LOCAL OFFERINGS

By Ponick, T. L. | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 8, 1996 | Go to article overview

A Fine Holiday Feast of Christmas Music: BELL RINGERS, `AMAHL' AMONG LOCAL OFFERINGS


Ponick, T. L., The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Don't think the shopping malls have a monopoly on music this holiday season. From sacred musical drama to Christmas carol sing-alongs celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, as well as nonreligious works such as "The Nutcracker," a dizzying variety of Christmas music abounds in the Washington area. Here are some highlights of performances that lean more toward the sacred than the profane.

TODAY

* If it's the Christmas season, Handel's "Messiah" can't be far behind. At 4 p.m. the Washington National Cathedral presents the oratorio under the direction of Douglas Major. For ticket prices and information, call 202/537-5648.

* Wolf Trap continues its popular "Holiday Sing-A-Long" at the Filene Center in Vienna at 4 p.m. Featuring the Marine Corps Band under the direction of Col. Tim Foley, the afternoon performance offers both Christmas and Hanukkah favorites. It is rumored that Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman will make special guest appearances. The climax of the concert will be the traditional singing of "Silent Night," with the audience lighting candles and processing out of the center and into the night. It's free, but come dressed warmly and bring canned food to support the Capital Area Community Food Bank. Call 703/255-1860.

* Catch the Capitol Hill Choral Society at the Riverside Baptist Church, Seventh Street and Maine Avenue SW, at 4 p.m. in "Gloria," a program of music and carols celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah. Call 301/320-4192.

* Bell choir aficionados can enjoy "Candlelight Carols" at 4:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 16th and O streets NW, as the Angelus Ringers, the Friday Morning Music Club Chorale, the First Baptist Church choirs and others celebrate the season. Free. Call 202/387-2206, Ext. 251.

* "The Christmas Revels" are already under way, through next Sunday , at Lisner Auditorium, 21st and H streets NW. Each year, this program provides a different take on ancient Christmas celebrations, with this year's focal point the "Northlands of Europe." The program features tales from Finland's religious folk traditions and Finnish musicians, including the Karelian Folk Ensemble. Call 301/657-3285.

COMING UP

* "Carols by Candlelight" is the title of this year's Voce concerts in Northern Virginia. Specializing in the a cappella medieval and Renaissance religious repertoire, this increasingly popular Reston troupe will perform under the direction of Carol Hunter at St. Catherine of Siena Church in Great Falls at 8 p.m. Saturday and at St. John Neumann Church in Reston at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22. Its featured work this year will be composer William Hawley's "Alleluia, Dies Sanctificatus" for chorus and harp, a new composition commissioned by Voce. Call 703/754-4052.

* More bell music is on tap Saturday as the ringers of Alexandria's Westminster Presbyterian Church, under the direction of David Erwin, appear in a free Kennedy Center performance of carols old and new. From 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Grand Foyer.

* Saturday and next Sunday, the Cathedral Choral Society, under the direction of J. …

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