Masterworks Choral Ensemble

by Jennifer Crain for OLY ARTS

On December 3, the Masterworks Choral Ensemble’s annual Christmas concert kicks off the Yuletide season. Gary Witley, director of the community chorus since he helped found it in 1981, says listeners can expect a family friendly evening with traditional favorites, sing-alongs and tunes to make them laugh.

“Every Christmas concert is a mix of traditional, familiar and new music,” he says. “Even if it’s a song that you have heard before, there are always new and interesting arrangements.”

Concertgoers will hear fresh takes on “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” “Sing We Now of Christmas” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.” Several pieces are arranged for piano four-hands (two players at one piano), an exciting and less conventional instrumentation for choral works. “The Twelve Days of a Regifted Christmas” and “Text Me Merry Christmas” inject some humor into the lineup.

The ensemble will also sing “Glow,” a popular piece by composer Eric Whitacre. For the work’s inaugural performance, Whitacre combined individual recorded performances of choral artists from all 50 states to form a virtual choir, a concept that gained him worldwide recognition.

At the concert, listeners will be treated to a solo performance by one of this year’s Youth Music Competition winners, Benjamin Martin, an alto saxophonist and junior at North Thurston High School. Martin is one of three recipients of the Masterworks annual award and accompanying scholarship, which fosters the arts and helps young people further their music education.

What: Jingle: A Christmas Celebration

Where: The Washington Center for the Performing Arts,
512 Washington St. SE, Olympia

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3

How much: $10-$22

Learn more: 360-753-8586 | Washington Center