Concerts by two of Atlanta’s gay choruses over the next few weeks promise cheer and beloved holiday music, each with its own particular spin.
OurSong, Atlanta’s gay and lesbian chorus, will perform its holiday concert “Shout Out to Heaven and Earth” next weekend, Dec. 2-3. According to Artistic Director Dr. Robert Glor, the musical program is a reflection on those natural elements that make the holidays a special time of the year.
The concert will feature favorites such as “Let it Snow” and a jazz version of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” as well as selections by composers Morten Laurdisen, Kevin Memley and more.
“We have a reputation for doing very modern music, very accessible, with spirituality as well,” Glor says. “We also like to put spins and twists on music and do things differently — we don’t repeat very much.”
Two of the centerpieces in the 19-number repertoire are “Ave Maria” by Memley and Swedish composer Gunnar Eriksson’s “To the Mothers in Brazil.” Originally an instrumental work, “Mothers” has been redone to accommodate voices. Glor says the number is an homage to the mother figure and indicative of Brazilian culture, with drums part of the performance.
The first night’s performance will be at The Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the second will be at Spivey Hall.
Glor is thrilled for the chorus’s first performance at Spivey Hall.
“It’s a true concert hall,” he says, “meant to see and hear music.”
OurSong has an almost equal mixture of men and women in its chorus, Glor says.
Performances are at 8:15 p.m. on Dec. 2 and Dec. 3. Tickets are $20.
‘Bells in Boyland’
The weekend after “Shout Out to Heaven and Earth,” the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus stages its annual holiday concert at its long-time home, The Cathedral of St. Philip. This year it’s titled “Bells in Boyland,” a reference to the collaboration with the Atlanta Concert Ringers, says Kevin Robison, artistic director of the AGMC. Shows are scheduled for 8 p.m. on Dec. 9 and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Dec. 10.
“They are a very fine handbell choir who last performed with us on my first concert with the AGMC, called ‘Bells, Brass & Beyond,’ in 2007,” says Robison. “Also, the chorus did several successful shows called ‘Babes in Boyland’ a few years before I came on board. We liked the merging of the two.”
One of the new aspects this year is the addition of a Hanukkah piece.
“Programming to include music for the Jewish holiday is one of my favorite challenges,” says Robison. Much of the annual show, however, remains familiar.
“Our processional and recessional has been standard since I became artistic director in 2007,” Robison says. “It is a rousing, majestic arrangement of an ancient plainchant. In keeping with that tradition, the men will enter in silence and perform the chant in the aisles. We then process to instrumental music to the front and perform the full text. To end the concert, the chorus recesses and sings the final notes, enveloping the audience.”
The Saturday matinee ice cream social is also a favorite.
The Atlanta Concert Ringers will bring in four of their own pieces and will perform with the chorus on two, including “Silver Bells.”
Tickets to “Bells in Boyland” range from $20 – $40.