Above: Dr. Ryan Brandau leads the assembled voices of the Monmouth Civic Chorus in the annual Christmas program at the Count Basie Theatre…while the New Jersey Chamber Singers (right) visit Red Bank’s United Methodist Church in one of several choral concerts around the greater Green this weekend. (Top photo by Chris Miller)
It’s been said that it just wouldn’t be the Yuletide season in Red Bank without the yearly performance of Handel’s Messiah by the assembled voices of The Monmouth Civic Chorus — and while true, it’s hardly the only occasion for Hallelujahs from fans of choral music this weekend. The fact is, Saturday and Sunday offer not one but four separate choir concerts in and around Red Bank, each a labor of love from the area’s most dedicated vocal artists.
It begins on Saturday evening, December 6, with the annual showcase of Holiday Favorites by Shrewsbury Chorale, in the beautiful setting of St. George’s by the River Episcopal Church (7 Lincoln Avenue in Rumson). It’s a selection of seasonal signatures from the venerable vocal organization, now in its 58th season and directed by Maestro Anthony La Gruth. Tickets, available at the door, are priced at $25 for adults; $20 for seniors and students; $10 for children under 12. For more information, or to reserve discounted advance tickets, call (732)513-8413 — and read on for more.
When artistic director Dr. Ryan Brandau takes his place in front of the Monmouth Civic Chorus at the Count Basie Theatre this Sunday, he’ll be leading the long-established choir in a Messiah and More program that pairs the Christmas portions of Handel’s beloved oratorio with a sleighload of familiar carols from throughout the centuries. In a twist that could be called Messiah and More…and More, the MCC will be delivering live performances of selections from the Chorus’s new CD release, A Merry Little MCC Christmas. The program also features the winning selections from a “vote your favorite holiday song” contest, conducted earlier this fall. Tickets for the 4 pm concert ($30 adults, with student and senior discounts as well as upgrades to premium seating options) can be reserved right here.
Meanwhile, over at Red Bank’s United Methodist Church (247 Broad Street), the borough-based New Jersey Chamber Singers present their annual seasonal presentation — with the 2014 edition presented under the title A Spotless Rose. As directed by Reid Masters, it’s a program that combines some much-loved traditional carols with a “something different” selection in Morten Lauridsen’s “Les Chansons des Roses.” Tickets to the 4 pm event are $15, and can be reserved in advance here.
Taking it over the river to Middletown, Concordia Youth Chorale visits the United Methodist Church (924 Middletown-Lincroft Road) for a 5 pm concert on Sunday, December 7. A division of the organization under the direction of co-founders John and Cynthia Balme, the all-female ensemble (for girls in grades 6 through undergraduate school) presents a program of carols by contemporary British composer John Rutter. A free-will offering will be taken at the event, and more info can be had by calling (732)539-8855.