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St. Charles Singers: Candlelight Carols
  • The Charles Singers Candlelight Carols program is the holiday tradition that launched the choir’s career in 1984.

    The St. Charles Singers' 2018 Christmas program will feature world premieres of two seasonal songs written for the St. Charles Singers by Illinois composers, along with “engaging arrangements of Christmas classics, some of them new to our repertoire,” says Jeffrey Hunt, founder and music director of the professional chamber choir.

    The mixed-voice professional chamber choir of 30-plus singers will present Candlelight Carols at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 1, at Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago.

    Among the concert’s world premieres will be northern Illinois composer Andrew Bruhn’s “I Sing the Birth Was Born Tonight,” an unaccompanied choral setting of a text by English Renaissance poet and playwright Ben Jonson. Winner of the 2017 Illinois American Choral Directors Association Composition Contest, Bruhn is also active as a choral director and trumpeter. He earned a Master of Sacred Music degree in choral conducting from Luther Seminary and St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., and an undergraduate degree in trumpet performance from Wheaton College. While in Minnesota, he sang and recorded with the group Magnum Chorum.

    Also receiving its first-hearing will be Nathaniel Adams’s "Lux Brumalis" (“Wint’ry Light), comprising four jazz-influenced songs for choir and piano, commissioned by the St. Charles Singers. Adams, who wrote the words and music, will accompany the choir at the piano. A native of St. Charles, Ill., and the St. Charles’ Singers’ composer in residence, Adams lives and works as a choral composer, arranger, singer, and pianist in New York. The Manhattan Chorale commissioned Adams’s "He Came All So Still" for their performance at Avery Fischer Hall at Lincoln Center. The St. Thomas Choir of Men and Boys commissioned a setting of the Anglican responses and have used them in the liturgy multiple times since their premiere in January of 2016. Among other works, Adams wrote "Love is Patient," a setting of Corinthians 13:4-18 written for mixed-voice choir and acclaimed soprano Sylvia McNair.

    This season’s Candlelight Carols will include pieces the St. Charles Singers have never performed before: Jonathan Dove’s “Ring out, Wild Bells” for choir and piano; Paul Halley’s “Angelus Ad Virginem” for choir and organ, Ola Gjeilo’s “Wintertide” for unaccompanied choir, David Willcocks’s choir and organ arrangement of “Sussex Carol,” and Susan LaBarr’s “The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came” for unaccompanied choir.

    Audiences also will hear favorites from past seasons: Halley’s jazz-influenced “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” Bob Chilcott’s “Shepherd’s Carol,” Willcocks’s “Silent Night,” Paul Christiansen’s “Oh How Beautiful the Sky,” Carolyn Jennings’s “Fum, Fum, Fum,” Robert Shaw’s “Angels We Have Heard on High,” Tomás Luis de Victoria’s “O Magnum Mysterium,” John Rutter’s “What Sweeter Music,” Arvo Pärt’s “Magnificat,” and Elizabeth Poston’s “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree.”

St. Charles Singers: Candlelight Carols
  • Location: Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, The
  • Address: 126 E. Chestnut St.
  • December 1, 2018
  • Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, The