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Volume 6, No. 3                 2017                                  December
2017-18 Schedule
Christmas Music for Choir and Brass: Chilcott and Wachner
Advent and Christmas Carols for Choir and Brass
Duke University Chapel
Saturday, December 9, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 4:00 p.m.
Dvořák Stabat Mater

Duke University Chapel
Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 8:00 p.m.
Chamber Choir Concert:
Creation and Creativity
With Monica Reinagel, mezzo-soprano
Copland: In the Beginning
Brahms: Liebeslieder Waltzes Op. 52
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
Saturday, March 10, 2018 at 3:00 p.m.
Mahler’s Symphony #2
With David Briggs, organist and Duke Chapel Choir
Duke University Chapel
Sunday, April 22, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.

Lux Aeterna
 With Durham
School of the Arts 

Duke University Chapel
Saturday, May 5, 2018 at 8:00 p.m.

The O Antiphons! Another work we’re featuring in our Christmas program — along, of course, with a mixed bouquet of carols — is British composer Bob Chilcott’s Advent Antiphons, his setting of seven short chants, based on psalm texts traditionally sung at vespers or in the Mass on the last seven days of Advent. He’s not the first to be drawn to these texts; Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Arvo Pärt, among others, have composed settings. No one knows how old these antiphons are, but they're mentioned in the writings of Boethius, a 6th-century Roman consul and philosopher, so we know they’ve been around for a while. Their informal moniker, “the O Antiphons,” comes from the fact that each chant, addressing Christ, begins “O [Something].” Take a look:
  O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
  O Adonai (O Lord)
  O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
  O Clavis David (O Key of David)
  O Oriens (Dayspring)
  O Rex Gentium (O King of the    nations)
  O Emmanuel (O With Us is God)
If you’re uncommonly keen-eyed, you may have noticed that the first letters after each O, when read backwards, make the Latin phrase “Ero Cras,” which translates as “I will be with you.” How very apt, for Advent! To think of those ancient monks playing word games with their worship music! Well . . . not so much, it turns out. Since the order of antiphons was and is quite flexible, this sly acrostic message is most likely just a coincidence. But it adds a nice little grace note to the music, which in fact needs no enhancement at all, with its lush blending of chant, polyphony, some patches of choral ad-libbing (yes!), and modern harmonies. We bet you’ll love it as much as we do.
It is not too late to donate to CSD
When choosing which non-profit organization to support this year, please consider making a tax-deductible gift to the Choral Society of Durham. Ticket sales and member dues cover only one-third of our expenses, and we need you to help us continue to bring the very best in choral music to our community. Never doubt that it is your participation, your donation, that hires the finest soloists and instrumentalists, provides reduced price tickets to students and offers scholarships to singers who require financial aid. For more information, click here.

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Hello, friends, and a warm welcome to the Choral Society’s new season. Our Christmas concert is coming up in no time — December 9 and 10, to be exact (see details in the accompanying season schedule). We are delighted, as always, with the freshness and beauty of the musical mix that Rodney’s put together for us this year.  Here’s a quick look at what will be resonating, very soon, off the soaring stones of Duke Chapel.
So, when you take nine well-beloved carols that everybody in the audience is at least humming along softly, if not outright singing aloud, and then throw in not only organ and percussion and harp and timpani, but a whole brass octet — by golly you’ve got yourself some major joyful holiday music-making!  Carols you’ve heard all your life, and sung and sung again — but they never sounded quite like this. Julian Wachner’s marvelous The Snow Lay on the Ground sets them in a whole new spectrum of musical eloquence. Wait till you hear the title carol, for instance: If snowflakes could sing as they drifted to earth, this must be exactly how they’d sound. Then, right on the heels of the swaying Latin lullaby of oura cappella “Niño Lindo,” the music whip-lashes into a cascade of brass-bound jubilation for the First Nowell. And there’s lots more like that going on. Come enjoy it with us.
By the way, this is all in a day’s work for Julian Wachner, Director of Music and the Arts at New York’s historic Trinity Church on Wall Street. He’s a busy fellow. As an eclectic conductor and composer, also a performer (keyboard), he’s been accumulating projects and awards in so many directions and at such a rate that it would be simpler to list what he hasn’t accomplished. It’s an exhilarating exercise for us to groove on his high-energy, exuberant interpretations of carols we thought we knew inside and out.
It was such a pile of fun the first time, with such completely gratifying results, that — as promised — we’re putting together another elegant evening of food and frolic and wine and music: the Second Annual Choral Society Gala and Silent Auction is scheduled for Friday, March 23 at the new JB Duke Hotel at 6:30 PM! Get that down on your calendar and stay tuned!
We haven’t got much to tell you yet, except to say that, given the level of collaborative effort, the quality of the donated auction items, and the great time had by all on our first time around, we’re quite confident that our upcoming event will be AT LEAST as successful. You don’t want to miss it.
And you don’t have to be a member of the chorus to donate items, by the way. If you’re a retailer, a service provider, an artist or craftsman or collector, or just have an unusually interesting attic . . . what might you contribute that would bring happiness to the bidder and help to the Choral Society?? Think about it and let us know. And we’ll see you there, we hope. Thanks!
You can sign up to receive an invitation here:
All you good folks who keep CSD thriving with your generous contributions — and you equally good folks who’ve been meaning to help, but it keeps slipping your mind — may we offer a tip? Many of us singers who support The Stuff That Makes Life Good are quite smitten with the increasingly popular option of SUSTAINING MEMBERSHIPS.
What a boon for the procrastinators, the absent-minded, the solicitation-averse among us! No more fund drive-generated indecision and guilt! And, with just a modest monthly drip from your funds into ours, no more big bites out of your bank account. You won’t feel a thing . . . But we’ll have the assurance of your gift’s ongoing presence in our budget. A win-win situation if we ever heard one. Sound good? Go to our website,, click on Donation, and follow the instructions (including a click on “Make this Recurring”). Simple. Effective. And, believe us, deeply appreciated!
Our concerts are supported by the Durham Arts Council's Annual Arts Fund and the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.
Durham Arts Council logo 

Choral Society of Durham  •  120 Morris Street  •  Durham, NC 27701

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