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Wichita Chamber Chorale celebrates the soul of the season

  • Eagle correspondent
  • Published Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, at 7:28 a.m.
  • Updated Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, at 7:29 a.m.

If You Go

Sounding Joy

What: Wichita Chamber Chorale Presents: “Sounding Joy: Trumpets Sound and Angels Sing”

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: Plymouth Congregational Church, 202 N. Clifton Ave., Wichita

Tickets: $15 general admission, $12 seniors, $5 students. High school students will be admitted free. Tickets are available at the door, online at www.wichitachorale.com and at Senseney Music, 2300 E. Lincoln.

Information: 316-204-2315 or www.wichitachorale.com.

The Wichita Chamber Chorale is opening its 36th season this weekend with a Christmastime concert that will include old favorites and new arrangements for choir, brass, and organ. The annual Sounding Joy event has emerged as a popular yuletide community celebration. Organizers say this year’s theme, “Trumpets sound and angels sing,” is a homage to the soul of the season.

“Sounding joy is what Christmas is about,” said Chamber Chorale Board President Anna Uhlig. “From the musician’s point of view, we take the joy, and the hope, and the anticipation of the birth of Jesus along with the special feeling of hope that comes from so many of our hearts at this time of year for a better world and we put that into song. We do that in a way that maybe can’t be expressed in just simple words or simple music.“

Uhlig said that this year’s theme also is a reference to the involvement of the Wichita Brass Quartet, a group of faculty members from Wichita State University’s School of Music. Their sounds add in a “glorious, festive tone,” she said. Also augmenting the programs is the talent and vision of Friends University’s Dr. Mark Bartel. He serves as the Chorale’s artistic director and conductor. Uhlig said that many people come just to experience the flavor he adds to the event.

“It’s exceptional music with word and note,” she said of the program. “That gives us a unique spot. We take you all through different aspects of the Christmas advent season with music from all over the world and all over the time periods. There are lots of different styles we’ll perform. We have folk music, music from the church, more English sounding music, and very melodic sounds, too. We have a very wide repertoire.”

Audiences can expect a mix of lively holiday cheer with favorites like “Jingle Bells” and “Go Tell It on the Mountain” along with more solemn and reflective moments. The first part will largely feature classical pieces, with popular and contemporary numbers being done in the latter half. The program runs about an hour and a half with a short intermission.

Uhlig noted that one of the exceptional components of Sounding Joy is that most of the performers are music educators of some sort. Sharing their art in this way is a gift of sorts to the community.

“There’s just something special about Christmas music that musicians and composers have always aimed to beautifully capture. For us, it’s that unique sound of voices and instruments together. We try to make our music very accessible. We are intent on making music that anyone can enjoy. If you don’t care for one piece, you’ll love the next one.”

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