A musical duo invites the public to pause next Sunday to carry a tune instead of the pressures of the holiday season.
Theres sort of a dichotomy at Christmas, said Richard E. Probert, director and founder of Sackets Harbor Vocal Arts Ensemble, a group that has expanded to include singers from throughout Jefferson County. On one hand, you have the retail side of Christmas. This is the other side of it, the more meaningful and quiet side.
The Trinity Concert Series will present Tis the Season: Messiah & Christmas Carol Sing-In at 3 p.m. Sunday at Trinity Episcopal Church, 227 Sherman St.
Mr. Probert and Kyle P. Ramey, organist and choirmaster at Trinity and founder of the series, described the concert as a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of Christmas.
Its time to take a little break, Mr. Probert said. We want to have a celebration of Christmas, what it really means, and the joy involved in that.
Joining the Sackets Harbor Vocal Arts Ensemble will be the Trinity Episcopal Church Chancel Choir, for a total of approximately 60 singers.
Mr. Ramey will accompany the singers on Trinitys 3,500 pipe organ, one of the largest organs in Northern New York. I always bill this as an audience-participation concert, he said.
Mr. Probert said people who dont think they can sing should come and give it a try or just listen.
Everybody can sing, he said. Singing comes from the soul, not from the voice. The whole idea of this is celebration and fun.
Messiah, by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), is a beloved holiday classic. The oratorio by the German composer documents Jesuss life and its significance according to Christian doctrine.
Messiah has been presented several times in Watertown in the recent past, in various forms: Mr. Ramey has hosted Messiah sing-ins at Trinity twice. And in 2008, the Sackets Harbor Vocal Arts Ensemble presented the full concert at Trinity. In 2005, Watertown-based Northern Choral Society also selected it for its annual holiday concert.
A lot of people ask us to do the Messiah, Mr. Probert said. Its the chief piece of the Christmas season, a magnificent piece. Were not taking it lightly.
Interspersed with selections from Messiah on Sunday will be familiar and unfamiliar carols, Mr. Probert said. Among them will be O Come All Ye Faithful, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, In the Bleak Midwinter and Silent Night.
The selections from Messiah to be included in the sing-in are: And the Glory of the Lord, And He Shall Purify, O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion (with women singing the preceding Air), For Unto Us A Child Is Born, Pastoral Symphony (organ only), Glory to God, His Yoke Is Easy and the Hallelujah chorus.
Soloists are Michaela Schied, Julia Sprague and Amy Renzi.
Audience members are advised to bring their own Messiah scores if they have them; some scores will be available to borrow. The Christmas carols will be sung out of the hymnal.
This is the fifth time that Mr. Probert and Mr. Ramey have collaborated on a concert.
There are two kinds of collaborations, Mr. Probert said. One is simply putting it together producing and directing. The other is the musical collaboration. Kyle and I get along very well musically. We seem to have the same thoughts as to how the music should be done.
In May, the two will pair up again when the Trinity series presents Johannes Brahmss A German Requiem, To Words of the Holy Scriptures, Op. 45 and the cantata Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant us Peace) by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Mr. Ramey said there will be an open house and reception following Sundays concert featuring wassail and Christmas goodies.