Commonwealth Chorale rehearsals to begin

Published 8:15 am Sunday, September 3, 2023

The Commonwealth Chorale of Virginia will begin a new season of rehearsals on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m. at Farmville Presbyterian Church.

With the Christmas season in mind, the Chorale will present three afternoon concerts on Dec. 3, 4 p.m. at Clarksville Presbyterian Church; Dec. 9, 4 p.m. at Crewe United Methodist Church; Dec. 10, 4 p.m. at Farmville United Methodist Church.

“I am very pleased to begin working with singers on music that promises to once again bring the joy and happiness of the Christmas season to our audiences,” Chorale Artistic Director Carol J. Henderson said.

This year’s concerts combine classical repertoire with contemporary Christmas favorites.

“In December’s concerts we’ll combine the delightful simplicity of the Baroque in Handel’s ‘Messiah’ with the soaring melodic lines of a more contemporary “Magnificat’ written in 1980 by Kim Andre´ Arensen,” Henderson noted. “A light-hearted touch will be added with five Alfred Burt Carols (set 2) written as Christmas cards for friends in the 1940s and 50s. The concerts will end with a touch of ‘White Christmas’ and the quintessential audience closer: Hallelujah Chorus from ‘Messiah.’”

The Chorale will be accompanied by a small ensemble: string quartet, string bass, oboe, flute, piano, and organ.

Henderson, artistic director since 2019, received her bachelor of music and master of music degrees from Westminster Choir College. She currently serves as minister of music at Clarksville Presbyterian Church.

A pianist, organist and choir director, Henderson loves choral music and sees her role as chorale director as another opportunity to share that love.

“The Commonwealth Chorale is important to this community, and I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of it,” she commented.

The Commonwealth Chorale was established by Norma Williams in 1975. Before coming to Farmville to teach voice at Longwood College, Williams led an illustrious career as leading soprano in opera houses across Europe and managed the Lincoln Opera in Chicago. She retired as the Chorale’s artistic director in 2019.

The Chorale’s membership, representing all ages and musical backgrounds, includes singers from many surrounding counties and towns.

“Come sing with us and become part of something beautiful,” Henderson concluded.

Local singers interested in joining the Chorale are invited to attend the September 12 rehearsal; auditions are not required.

For more information on the Commonwealth Chorale visit www.commonwealthchorale.org. Further information and concert updates will also be posted on the Commonwealth Chorale of Virginia Facebook page.