P O W E L L, W y o. - A Christmas concert that was cancelled because of weather will bring back the sounds of the holidays in a rescheduled performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, in St. Barbara's Catholic Church in Powell.
The Northwest College Choir and the Master Chorale will merge, under the direction of Jan Kliewer, for a concert of Christmas music arranged for choir and organ. One of the program's highlights is "Fantasia on Christmas Carols," a traditional work that features four English carols. Kliewer will abandon his post as conductor during the number in order to perform the baritone solo.
"All the pieces in the program are written to make the organ sing," Kliewer said, "and none more so than 'Rejoice in the Lamb,' which is virtuosic in writing and quite difficult to perform. Tim Schoessler, the NWC accompanist, is truly accomplished on the organ and you can bet he'll give the choirs some stiff competition for the audience's favor. He'll do some solo works for organ in addition to the choir pieces."
Also on the program is Saint-Saens' "Christmas Oratorio," which Kliewer says uses all the new and old testament scriptures in commenting on the nativity. Community singers Bernie DuMontier and Ruth Hammond of Lovell and Marie Frame of Powell are featured soloists in the oratorio. Four NWC students also sing solo parts. They are Vernon Ward of Cody and Sadie Lewis of Afton, and Montana students Thain Bertin of Colstrip and Sara Ricord of Billings.
The most unusual work featured during the evening, according to Kliewer, is Benjamin Britten's "Rejoice in the Lamb," which features texts by the Christian mystical poet Christopher Smart. "The text setting is only a small part of a voluminous text wrote while he was in debtor's prison in London," Kliewer said. "On the surface, it seems strange and nonsensical, but Smart is one of the foremost poets in this genre from the 18th century."
Admission to the combined choirs concert is free.