With the holiday season in full swing, the Westmoreland Choral Society will present “A Christmas Gift” today and Saturday in the sanctuary of the First Presbyterian Church, Greensburg.
And, in keeping with the season’s title, “Sharing the Gift of Song,” music director Marvin Huls notes the annual Advent concerts are a way for the 100-member choir to give the gift of music to its audience.
“This concert consists almost entirely of recognizable melodies that I think will be especially attractive to listeners of all ages,” he says, adding, “There is no large major work being performed, just a collection of wonderful settings of familiar tunes.”
Selected favorites will include, “O Holy Night,” “Gesu Bambino,” “I Wonder as I Wander” and “Silent Night.”
Under the direction of Shirley Huls, the Westmoreland Children’s Chorus also will be featured. The 50-voice chorus will premiere Michael Bedford’s “Now Every Child That Dwells on Earth.” The piece was commissioned in honor of Shirley Huls’ 30 years of service as director of elementary music at the First Presbyterian Church.
Additionally, internationally acclaimed opera singer Katerina Musetti will appear as guest soloist, with David Kasel as her accompanist. “The choral society and Katerina sang together in a concert with the Westmoreland Symphony several years ago,” Marvin Huls says. “It’s been our hope since then that we could have Katerina as our guest soloist. She is a wonderful singer and a delightful person.”
Musetti, who lives in Greensburg and teaches private voice lessons, has performed in Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, France, Mexico and the United States. One of her most notable performances took place at Milan, Italy’s La Scala Opera House, where she shared the stage with Luciano Pavarotti during a production of “Don Carlo.”
Back home, Musetti is honored to share the spotlight with the choral society.
“They are just a wonderful group to work with,” she says. “There is just so much talent in this area. I’m constantly amazed.”
In the concert’s finale, the choral society and children’s chorus will combine in “Arise, Your Light is Come,” a rousing number featuring organ and handbell accompaniment.
“‘Arise’ is a piece I heard about 10 years ago at a convention in Charleston, S.C.,” Huls says. “I thought it would be a great piece to end a concert with. We’ve used it several times as a closer, and it’s always effective.”
|‘The Christmas Gift’|