On Thurs., Dec. 6, the Maryville College community is invited to the Maryville College Choirs’ annual fundraising concert, “Feaste of Song.” The event will be held in the Clayton Center for the Arts lobby and Ronald and Lynda McNutt theatre. The occasion serves as a way to provide funding for the choir’s international travel. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., dinner guests are invited to a reception to participate in caroling led by the Maryville College Concert choir members.
Traditional Christmas dinner will follow the reception at 6 p.m. in the William Baxter Lee III Grand Foyer, with a meal that includes sliced ham with apple pecan glaze, herb roasted turkey, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, cornbread stuffing and red velvet cake. A youth choir, the Scotties Singers, directed by Martha Robinson and MC alumna Jade Watts will entertain those attending the dinner with holiday favorites, such as “Feliz Navidad” and “Christmas is Coming.” Held in the Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre, the concert will begin promptly after dinner at 7:30 p.m.
The holiday concert will feature pieces from Maryville College Concert Choir, Off Kilter and the Lads and Lassies, as well as some select instrumentalists. Highlighted selections include “Little Drummer Boy,” “Candlelight Carol” and “Gesu Bambino.” The Lads, a five-member men’s ensemble, will sing arrangements of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” The Lassies, a four-member women’s ensemble, will sing “Santa Baby” and “The Chipmunk Song.”
Off Kilter, a mixed select ensemble, will sing “Christmas Time is Here,” and end with two entertaining arrangements of “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” and “Parade of the Wooden Soldier.” The 61-member MC Concert Choir and the Lads and Lassies and Off Kilter are directed by Stacey Murphy Wilner, coordinator of choral music at Maryville College. She is assisted by Jill Purvis, who is the director of two youth choirs, The Highlander Chorale and the Scots Chorale, which are also featured in the program that evening.
The Highlander Chorale, a community youth ensemble for high school singers, will perform “The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy” and “Fum, Fum, Fum.” The Scots Chorale, an ensemble of intermediate and middle schoolaged singers, directed by Robinson, will perform two songs that feature works of famous American poets: “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” a poem by Robert Frost, and “Bells of Christmastide,” a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Music for the MC Concert Choir features both old and new repertoire, such as “Carol of the Drum,” “The Lamb” and “Noel.” Wilner said that “The Lamb,” which is based on a poem by William Blake, will be both “challenging and engaging for the choir to perform.”
With difficult 20th century techniques of juxtaposition of the melody, inversion, retrograde and extreme dissonance, the piece stands out from other Christmas arrangements, according to Wilner. “These entire elements make for a stunning piece,” Wilner said. Another distinguishing piece the concert cho
ir will perform is “Noel.” The text is a Kimba Carol from the Congo Region of Africa in Kituba dialect. “Noel” will feature rhythm and drums and incorporate dance.
“Dance moves for songs like ‘Noel’ and ‘Parade of the Wooden Soldier’ are definitely a challenge, but it is something that we can handle,” said Marley Kalis, an alto in the concert choir and Off Kilter. “The choirs this year have matured so much since the beginning of the semester,” Wilner said. “Members come from different backgrounds and traditions of singing, but when they get in a performance mindset they are musically sensitive to each other. The only thing left to finesse is memorization, but we are definitely taking it to the next level.”
With food, singing and holiday fun, “Feaste of Song” dinner and concert provides an opportunity for families and friends to celebrate Christmas with music. Dinner and concert tickets are $32.00, and concert only tickets are $12.00. Maryville College students are admitted free with student ID.