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Hark! The Monument City Choruses Sing

Local vocal groups come together to once again give people a reason to smile this holiday season.

Caitlin Barbieri | November 30, 2017

Monument City Music is once again decking the halls of Ginter Park Presbyterian Church with holiday cheer through their fa-la-la-la-la fan favorite holiday concert. This weekend, Monument City Music’s annual holiday concerts will bring some jingle bell rock to any silent night and get everyone in the holiday spirit.

“I think each of these choruses represent a special group of people in the Richmond community,” Joshua Wortham, Director of the Richmond Men’s Chorus, said. “What we offer in a concert is more than just the music, it’s an experience of laughter, maybe a few tears, and just that warm sense of community that I think everybody is craving.”

This year’s concert is a combined performance from Monument City Music’s Richmond Men’s Chorus, Richmond Women’s Chorus, and The Noteables. The newest addition to Monument City Music, The Noteables is a small, mixed chamber group directed by Aaron Ward. This will be their first holiday concert, and they are a welcome addition to the festive stage.

The Noteables

“The choruses sound great. I’m really excited about how good they sound together and how the music has come together,” Director of the Women’s Chorus, Erin Wind said.

Known for its inclusivity, Monument City Music has created a holiday concert that goes beyond the basic holiday songs. The directors strive to create a balance between holiday songs everyone knows and less familiar songs everyone can relate to. Classics like “Jingle Bells” and “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire),” as well as songs about Christmas and Hanukkah, will be included in the program.

“It’s full of enough familiar things that pull out nostalgia for the listener, and enough new things to bring out some intrigue and maybe help someone find a new holiday favorite,” Wortham said.

A new piece that all three groups are performing together is “The Aluminum Christmas Tree.” Composed by Eric Lane Barnes, it is the story of an aluminum Christmas tree that is thrown away but finds love in the home of gay couple. Wortham saw the piece performed at a festival over the summer and thought it would be a perfect addition to the holiday concert.

“I was just so charmed by it I had to get my hands on it,” Wortham said. During the piece, a small skit will also be performed to bring the story of the shiny tree to life.

The directors first began planning the concert back in July, when Wind and Wortham programmed the event, and the choruses have been practicing since the end of the summer. The members of Monument City Music are all volunteers, and that dedication shows through the music.

“People are there because they love to sing,” Wind said. “It’s a non-auditioned group, so anyone can join, and I think it’s group where people feel empowered to do something they love.”

This year’s holiday concert will see the choruses performing both separately and together, including a few pieces featuring all three groups. “We’ll be debuting The Noteables, so they’ll have a few solo pieces. And then we’ll all join up for the last few songs in the program, [and] go out with a bang,” Wortham quipped.

With this concert, Monument City hopes to soothe frazzled nerves. “The holidays are always so stressful for people, and my goal is to present a concert that, for those few moments, they can forget the stress that surrounds them,” Wortham said.

The first concert will be Sunday Dec. 3 at 4:00 p.m. and the second will be Tuesday Dec. 5 at 7:00 p.m.. Both performances will be at Ginter Park Presbyterian Church. Admission is $15 in advance, $20 at the door and students and seniors receive a $5 discount. To order tickets, click here.