PORTLAND – The Choral Art Society will perform its 15th annual Christmas at the Cathedral concert in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Dec. 4 and 5. Performances will be at 8 p.m. Saturday and at 2:30 and 7 p.m. Sunday at 317 Congress St. Conductor Robert Russell has created a program filled with some of the Choral Art Society’s most beloved works from the past.

The program includes Benjamin Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols” for women and harp, three motets by Anton Bruckner, Jerry Bowder’s “Three Carols for Christmas” accompanied by the Portland Brass Quintet and traditional seasonal songs such as “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

The set of three Christmas carols arranged by Jerry Bowder were commissioned by Choral Art Society in 1989. Bowder is professor emeritus of music at the University of Southern Maine. He earned a Ph.D. in composition from the Eastman School of Music.

The Choral Art Society begins every Christmas concert with its signature processional, “Personent Hodie,” an arrangement of a Renaissance tune for brass and organ.

This year the Choral Art Society will be recording its second “Christmas at the Cathedral” CD. The second half of the concert opens with an arrangement of the French melody “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.” That piece is arranged by Philip Fournier who is cathedral musician at this cathedral.

Also in the second half of the concert, the Choral Art Society members will sing “What Sweeter Music” by composer John Rutter. The performance will conclude with the popular candlelit “Silent Night” with singers encircling the hall.

Founded in 1972, the Choral Art Society now has more than 150 singers; the Christmas concert will have 60 singers. All singers are skilled amateurs, selected by audition.

Tickets may be purchased at Macbeans in Brunswick, Books Etc. in Falmouth and in the Old Port, Starbird Music Shoppe in Portland, and Little Sebago Gallery and Frame Shop in Windham. Advance tickets are $20, $15 for students and seniors over 65; $20 and $25 at the door.

FMI: call 828-0043, or visit www.choralart.org.


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