Easton Choral Arts Society celebrates the holiday season with Daniel Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata on Thursday, December 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 8 at 4:00 p.m. at Christ Church Easton. Composer and teacher Daniel Pinkham is the winner of numerous awards, including a Fulbright Fellowship and a Ford Foundation Fellowship.
Maestro Wes Lockfaw has chosen Daniel Pinkham’s popular Christmas Cantata to celebrate the Christmas season. He comments, “The brilliance of the brass and organ accompaniment coupled with the complexity of the vocal texture makes this a seasonal treasure too good to be missed.”
Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata (1957) is one of his most popular works, and it reflects his love of early as well as contemporary music. Pinkham manages to be modern, and at the same time imbues his music with a timeless quality through hints of Gregorian chant, and Gabrieli’s polychoral style.
Set for chorus, brass quintet, and organ, the work’s Latin text comes from traditional responses to the Christmas Mass. It is in three parts. The first, “Quem vidistis, pastores?” is adapted from the second chapter of the Gospel of St. Luke. The second movement features an arched melody which is passed antiphonally between the two instrumental choirs, accompanied by a choral line set mostly for women’s voices. The final movement is an extended crescendo of continually shifting tonalities, with verses taken from Psalm 100, alternating with the chorus the angels sang to the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men of goodwill.”
The chorus will also sing a lovely collection of songs celebrating the birth of Christ. Included will be “This Little Babe” and Deo Grazias” by Benjamin Britten, “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Harold Darke, and the Revels version of “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen,” arranged by Jeremy Epstein. The songs will be accompanied by harp, flute and classical guitar.
Easton Choral Arts Society, Inc. is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization funded in part by the Maryland State Arts Council, the Talbot County Arts Council and the Mid-Shore Community Foundation. Tickets will be $30 at the door and are available online in advance at $25 at www.eastonchoralarts.org or at Ticket Hotline 410-200-0498. Students will be admitted free (reservation required). Seating is limited, so advance ticket purchases are recommended.
ECAS was founded in 1977 by organist Florence Ruley of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, a group of caring singers was organized to commemorate the installation of a new bishop. The experience was so rewarding that they continued with the idea of singing two to three concerts a year. As public appreciation and awareness of the Easton Choral Arts Society was growing within the community, its presence was marked by a new and thoughtful broadening of the repertoire, featuring guest soloists, and professional instrumentalists.
In 2010, Wes Lockfaw became Easton Choral Arts Society’s fifth Artistic Director. A very talented and accomplished organist, pianist, and choral director, Wes has led music ministries in seven states as well as having served as a choral adjudicator, clinician, and piano instructor in a college environment. In January of 2009, he accepted the position of Organist and Music Director at Christ Church Episcopal in Easton, Maryland where he directs ensembles ranging from children to adults.
Thanks to community support, Easton Choral Arts is keeping the spirit of its mission alive — to promote appreciation of fine choral singing, encourage excellence in vocal performance, further musical education and provide personal opportunities for artistic expression.