The Herald, Sharon, Pa.


November 21, 2013

It’s a traditional chorale Christmas

SHENANGO VALLEY — Shenango Valley Chorale, with the help of its audience, has set the program for its Dec. 13 and 14 Christmas concerts.

The chorale held a contest to allow Christmas carol enthusiasts to vote for their favorite songs.

While the contest basically fizzled – “It didn’t play out exactly as we had anticipated,” said Director Edgar S. Groves. “We thought we would get a good many more votes.” – it generated what Groves called, “a very nice program.

“It’s very traditionally Christmas,” he said. “We don’t hear enough of traditional Christmas music.”

Of the 10 carols with the most votes, seven will be performed. Three were kept off the program because the chorale’s voluminous library does not include sheet music for them.

Sixty-one votes were cast. The most popular song with 15 votes was “O Holy Night.” That song was followed by a tie between “White Christmas” and “The Little Drummer Boy.” Then came “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and John Rutter’s “Christmas Lullaby.”

Chorale member Susan Piccirilli noted surprise at “O Holy Night” and “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” because they are not generally the first choices you would expect when people talk about their favorite carols.

“Christmas Lullaby” was helped along by a donor who bought its way onto the program with a sizable donation.

Only votes accompanied by $5 were counted, although organizers noted the contest was not about money; it was about expanding the chorale’s audience and involving audience members.

“We didn’t make money,” Piccirilli said. “It was an experiment.”

Also voted onto the program were “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and “Angels We Have Heard On High.”

“Silver Bells,” “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” and “The 12 Days of Christmas” were kept off for lack of sheet music.

Other songs received votes but Groves said the program would be too long to include them all.

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