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A Choral Kind of Weekend in Morristown to Get You Into The Holiday Spirit

originally published: 12/01/2023

A Choral Kind of Weekend in Morristown to Get You Into The Holiday Spirit

Michael Shane Wittenburg

(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- Kick off the holidays with a weekend of seasonal music with some of New Jersey's top choral arts organizations beginning with the Harmonium Choral Society, a 100-voice chorus led by Dr. Anne Matlack on Friday, December 8 at 7:30pm at The Presbyterian Church in Morristown. Following Harmonium will be The Somerset Hills Chorus and the Chancel Choir of the Presbyterian Church in Morristown conducted by Stephen Sands and Matthew Webb on Saturday, December 9 at 7:00pm also at The Presbyterian Church in Morristown. And on Sunday, December 10 at 3:00pm at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, the Morris Choral Society under the direction of Michael Shane Wittenburg will be joined by The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey and Maestro Robert Butts.

The weekend of choral performances begins on Friday, December 8, with Harmonium accompanied by string quartet, organ, handbells and piano. Their concert features their renowned small group, Chamber Singers, and is entitled Ecstatic Expectancy. The concert highlight will be three Magnificats including the well-known piece by Francesco Durante and two premieres by the American composers Dale Trumbore and Jessica French. The audience will also hear new works by Mark Miller, Reena Esmail, Zanaida Robles, and chorus singer David Thompson of Chatham.

Advance sale tickets are $30 and at the door, they are $40 with a $5 discount for students and teachers. They can be purchased through www.harmonium.org/tickets or at the door.

A Choral Kind of Weekend in Morristown to Get You Into The Holiday Spirit

(LEFT) Somerset Hills Chorus Conductor Stephen Sands (RIGHT) Chancel Choir Conductor Matthew Webb

Then on Saturday, December 9 at 7:00pm, The Somerset Hills Chorus of Music in the Somerset Hills along with the Chancel Choir of the Presbyterian Church in Morristown will present a service of Readings & Carols featuring a blend of spoken word and song. Some of the music to be performed includes “O Come All Ye Faithful,” Gloria by John Rutter, Fantasia on Christmas Carols by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” The readings will include works by Langston Hughes, James Agee, Maya Angelou and well-known passages from The Bible

Tickets range from $50 for preferred seating to $20 for limited visibility with both advance sale pricing and day of show pricing. Free admission is offered to students up to college seniors. For details, visit www.musicsh.org/events.



 
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The weekend binge on choral music culminates on Sunday, December 10 at 3:00pm when Michael Wittenburg conducts the Morris Choral Society in a program reflective of their first concert 50 years ago. That concert, which also was held at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Morristown, featured the Vivaldi Magnificat. The soloists this year will be soprano Christa Dalmazio and mezzo-soprano Charlotte Merz. During the concert, entitled Home for the Holidays, the chorus will also perform various holiday music, some familiar and some not so familiar. Both the women’s treble ensemble, High Society, and the men’s group, Express Male, will sing.

In addition, The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey will perform the Corelli Christmas Concerto and Handel’s Coronation Anthem (also known as Zadok the Priest) under the baton of Maestro Robert Butts. Tickets for the Sunday concert are $25 for adults, $20 for patrons over 60 and $15 for students under 18. Tickets for Morris Choral Society are available for purchase online or may be purchased at the door.

A Choral Kind of Weekend in Morristown to Get You Into The Holiday Spirit

The Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey Conductor Dr. Robert Butts

Funding for the Morris Choral Society and for the Harmonium Choral Society has been made possible in part by Morris Arts through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Music in the Somerset Hills is supported in part by an American Rescue Plan Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support general operating expenses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is made possible by the Somerset County Cultural & Heritage Commission.

The Presbyterian Church is on the Morristown Green at 57 E. Park Place and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is located at 70 Maple Avenue on the corner of Maple and South in Morristown, New Jersey. There is on-street parking as well as parking lots near each.

Photos courtesy of Michael Wittenburg, Music in the Somerset Hills, the Presbyterian Church in Morristown, and the Baroque Orchestra of New Jersey



 
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