Christmas Concert Countdown – Dress Rehearsal

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Friday Night Update, 12/7/12:  One might be tempted to say that tonight’s rehearsal was grueling – we had a lot of music to synchronize in our big orchestral rehearsal.  But, there was such a remarkable sense of joie d’vivre, that I suspect most of us left on a cloud!  Our fabulous Bach Festival Orchestra has clearly been working hard on coming together for the Britten, and all of the disparate pieces whose union we’ve been eagerly awaiting finally came together tonight.  The Bel Canto Children’s Chorus sounded fantastic from the rear gallery – they had such presence and sang in such an engaging way.  Likewise, the triumphant return of Eric Plutz to join Tom Goeman at the piano bench was a thrill (he was last heard in Bethlehem at our Spring Concert of the two-piano version of the Brahms Requiem).  We’re accustomed to hearing Charlotte Mattax Moersch at the continuo organ, but, for the Britten, she shifts to the bench of the Grand Orgue, where she played with fire and panache.  I stood near Chris Hanning, our timpanist, who brought a very talented student along to handle the challenging percussion parts, and the two were a fabulous pair. Liz Field plays the violin solo in the opening beautifully, and the entire string section is playing with such vigor, sensitivity, and beauty.   Ben Butterfield, tenor, is amazing as St. Nicolas, and our dear conductor, Greg Funfgled, is doing a yeoman’s work of holding this whole complex and multifaceted enterprise together.

If you have tickets for one of the performances, congratulations, and thank you!  You’re in for a thrilling, wonderful concert.  If you’re still on the fence, come to the Allentown performance, tomorrow night, at 8.  Tickets will be available at the door.  Details and directions are available on the Bach Choir’s website, though online ticketing and phone orders are now closed.

I was able to take a seat some ways down the nave for a movement that the women of the choir sing in the Britten.  The impact was astonishing.  I have a feeling that these concerts will reverberate in our collective memory for some time – please join us!

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