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Choral concert kicks off Christmas countdown

Olympia Shilpa Gerald
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In harmony:‘Christmas Countdown’ an evening of carols at St. John's Church in the city on Sunday.— PHOTO:R.M. RAJARATHINAM.
In harmony:‘Christmas Countdown’ an evening of carols at St. John's Church in the city on Sunday.— PHOTO:R.M. RAJARATHINAM.

The winter chill is yet to set in and the season of Advent that culminates in Christmas is still a fortnight ago. But city-based choir Singspirations decided to ring in the season a tad early with a soulful choral concert, ‘Christmas Countdown’.

The concert, an annual fixture, set the tone for the festive season with songs of praise and celebration at St.John’s Church. The white pillars and dark wood pews of the stately old church seemed an ideal setting for the choir’s efforts and experiments with solos, duets, and quartets. What makes Singspirations unique is the choir is an independent group that does not pledge its affiliation to a particular church. Rather it boasts of members, a mix of teens, doctors, and college professors, drawn from around half a dozen protestant Christian churches in the city. “We held the concert before Advent as members would soon start getting busy with preparations for carol services hosted by individual churches,” said Sheila Christopher, member, Singspirations. The choir holds concerts twice a year, during Lent and Christmas.

With Jonath Backia Seelan as conductor of the choir and Franklin Victor on the piano, the 33-member team displayed their prowess to straddle vocal ranges from deep bass to tenor and alto to soprano. Though boasting of few evergreen Christmas favourites, the concert introduced the filled church to the forgotten classical numbers and recently released contemporary melodies. A couple of Tamil numbers were also thrown in.

The eponymous song of the concert, ‘Christmas countdown’ sounded a Christmassy note with mention about stockings, mistletoe, presents, cake and snow. While ‘Rejoice Greatly, O daughter of Zion' was a solo with an operatic tinge, the booming ‘Ring the bells of Heaven’ was delivered by a men’s quartet. ‘Gloria’ and ‘Hark from the skies’ were performed by the choir with full strength. ‘Colours of Christmas a medley on what the colours of Christmas stood for was interspersed with refrains of festival regulars like ‘It came upon the midnight clear’, ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Joy to the World’. A message on preparing for Christmas by Dr.Ravi Stephen was followed by mass singing of ‘O little town of Bethlehem’. The finale was an impressive ‘Sounds of the season’. Beginning, ‘Ding dong’, the brand new composition was structured like the sound of bells that start with a faint chime, set in a steady ringing and toll with a flourish.

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