ChristmasConcert-960x300Matthew Van Dyke directs the 50-voice Tower Hill Choir in a free, public-welcome performance of traditional Christmas choral music, Saturday evening at First Presbyterian Church. 

From the sacred to the secularly sophisticated, lovers of classical music — which is to say, music other than the classic rock sounds that permeate the Count Basie Theatre in the nights to come — can find comfort and joy in a pair of back-to-back events that are offered free of charge this Saturday, at two of Red Bank borough’s most musically minded institutions.

The music begins at 4 pm on the afternoon of December 20, at a venue that remains one of the community’s best kept secrets — the Monmouth Conservatory Of Music, host for the latest in an acclaimed series of public-welcome guest artist concerts. December’s spotlight falls on a special program of Baroque era chamber music, as composed by J. S. Bach, Diego Ortiz, Frescobaldi, Mayone, Scarlatti and Graupner — and performed by a pair of Russian-born specialists: violist Elena Kraineva, and pianist Raisa Isaacs. The international touring artists and educators perform in the casual and quite convenient setting of the MCM’s downtown White Street all-purpose room — just steps from the hustle/bustle of that last shopping-season Saturday in Red Bank, but a world and an ocean of time away from the Yule Log’s slow-burn, high-pressure smolder and spark. Best of all, admission’s by free-will donation exclusively, and the hour-long program leaves plenty of time to catch a bite, maybe do a bit of shop, and head up the hill to the next must-see event.

Elena RaisaViolist Elena Kraineva and pianist Raisa Isaacs perform a Baroque Music program of works by J.S. Bach and others, in a Saturday afternoon concert at Monmouth Conservatory. 

Although the elevated location of Tower Hill Church — aka First Presbyterian Church of Red Bank — might suggest that it’s just that much nearer to heaven, the factor that really gives the place a leg up on the pearly gates are the heavenly sounds of the Tower Hill Choir, the 50-voice organization that takes the spotlight for Gloria! A Concert for Christmas. Part of the 2014-2015 Concert Series at Tower Hill, the 7 pm event showcases the Choir in a performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria and a selection of favorite traditional carols, with chamber orchestra and harp (featuring organ accompanist Judith Werner) under the direction of Matthew Van Dyke. A free will offering will be taken for the event, and the public is also welcomed at a post-concert reception inside the church’s Webster Hall.