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Director's Notes

Wintersong: Merry and Bright

How can we begin to explain how it feels to sing together again after such a long absence? The splendid voices of the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale are thrilled to be together again!

As a conductor, I have been without an "instrument" since March 2020. And now, with the glorious opportunity to stand before this fine Chorale, my heart overflows with joy.

At every rehearsal, despite the shifting protocols, these singers overwhelm me with their beautiful sounds. The wonder of live vocal music brings us back to parts of ourselves that have been dormant for twenty months.

So, we are eager to share this outstanding holiday program with you—full of songs that express profound emotions, from deep longing to utter joy.

Guest organist Kevin Lange opens the concert with Andrew Carter's glittering "Toccata on Veni Emmanuel," and the Chorale performs Rosephanye Powell's "The Word Was God."

Immediately we move into Donald McCullough's exciting "Canite Tuba" with prophetic texts from Joel and Isaiah. We sing, "The crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways plain." (Perhaps you will think of one or two things in the world that could be made straight.) Organ, timpani, and full percussion create grandeur fit for the arrival of a king.

A Chorale favorite, "The Dream Isaiah Saw" offers a vision of the world made right. Glenn Rudolph was composing this piece when the attacks of September 11, 2001, took place. Percussion and timpani help to bring the song to its mighty conclusion.

You will not want to miss Craig Hella Johnson's tender setting of "Lo, How a Rose / The Rose," or Julian Wachner's sparkling arrangement of "Angels We Have Heard on High." Mac Willaert leads the Ensemble in joyful and inspiring pieces by Ola Gjeilo, Judith Clurman, and Toby Young.

We end the program with Christmas nostalgia and cheer, including "Jingle Bell Fantasy," "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," and a jazzy "Feliz Navidad."

What puts you in the Christmas spirit? Circling your favorite toys in a catalog, or making Amazon wish lists? Chopping down a live fir, or pulling a pre-lit tree from a Costco box? Bing Crosby on a vinyl LP, or a Spotify playlist?

Whatever you do, please set aside time to enjoy a live concert with the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale. We are delighted to sing for you in person again. And may your holidays be "Merry and Bright"!

Jennifer Whiting
Music Director, Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale

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