The Capital City Chorus Returns With Annual “Christmas With the Chorus” Concert Series

by Molly Walsh

The Capital City Chorus is back with the fifth annual “Christmas with the Chorus” concert series taking place December 8 and 9 at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and December 10 at the Capital High School Performing Arts Center.

Full Capital City Chorus Mixed Choir and Chorale, along with a few members of the Olympia Youth Chorus.

Daniel Colgan, founder and artistic director for CCC said these concerts are free to the community, helping to bring people together during the holidays.

“We make a conscious effort to make sure that A, our music is as high caliber as we can be; and B, to make sure that our concerts are always free. That’s written into our constitution,” said Colgan.

Mixed Choir singing, with Daniel Colgan directing.

As a series of community-oriented concerts, all are welcome to “Christmas with the Chorus,” including families and listeners of all ages, which can help further increase access to seasonal live performances.

“We just don’t want to create a barrier for people who have an interest in hearing really good music, you know,” said Colgan. “And if … cost is that barrier, we just don’t want to have that be in the way.”

Capital City Chorale with April Kuhr at the piano.

CCC was established in 2018 and over the years, has grown into more than 100 singers across two choirs. CCC primarily centers around a classical repertoire, according to Colgan, and the main performance of the year is the annual concerts during the holiday season. A wide swath of community members makes up the choir, coming together from different backgrounds and professions. This includes members with advanced music degrees, to members with no formal choir experience.

“Our aim is to be sort of the best … choir that we can be keeping with that community spirit,” said Colgan.

Both CCC choirs, the Mixed Chorus and Capital City Chorale will have their own lineup of tunes that evoke the spirit of the season. The Capital City Chorale will perform a curated list of around six pieces, followed by about a dozen pieces by the Mixed Chorus.

Capital City Chorale.

Colgan said the Capital City Chorale will be taking on a number of more recent pieces, and because the Capital City Chorale consists of soprano and alto voices, many of the pieces performed by the chorale are chosen and composed with those voice types in mind.

The Mixed Chorus will include performances of time-honored holiday classics, like “Jingle Bells” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of The Year.” Another highlight during this year’s concert will be “Gloria” from Amy Beach’s Mass in E-flat, performed by the Mixed Chorus. Colgan said this piece is a considerable and difficult work to perform, and that it is relatively rare to hear it live in local concerts.

There will also be a selection of classic carols, where the audience will be encouraged to sing along, accompanied by the pipe organ during the performances at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church and the piano during the performance at Capital High School Performing Arts Center.

Mixed Choir singing, with Daniel Colgan directing.

“Folks who … like to take in music and folks who like Christmas music, but also like to broaden their horizons a little bit,” said Colgan, about who might enjoy the upcoming concerts. “Which is what we tried to do by adding things like the Amy Beach…and adding in some of these newer, other things that audiences likely haven’t heard.”

The CCC has seen high demand for “Christmas with the Chorus,” including a full, and even overflowing venue during last year’s shows. To match this enthusiasm, this year’s performance on December 10 will take place at the Capital High School Performing Arts Center, which has a larger capacity. Colgan is grateful to see this increased interest from the community, including a growth in the audience through community connections and word of mouth.

“It’s a little unreal, to be honest … there’s this much interest and this much of a fan base,” said Colgan.

Mixed Choir singing, with Daniel Colgan directing, including percussionists for Carmina.

And ahead of this year’s concert series, Colgan said it is an honor to be the director of this chorus and to work with excellent colleagues like Vicki Jardine-Tobin, the director for Capital City Chorale. Colgan sees these concerts as an opportunity to act out the mission of the chorus and hopes that the chorus can continue to expand on that mission as time goes on.

“It’s something that I feel like we can really get behind and unify behind because, you know, music … can be and is transformational,” said Colgan. “I mean … it’s something that can, can largely affect people in a positive way. And the more goodwill we can spread through that, I mean, that, that’s why we do what we do.”

Chorale singing with Vicki Jardine-Tobin directing.

Photos by Jim Tobin; all taken at “The Sacred and the Profane; featuring Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana” in April 2023 at Capital High School Performing Arts Center.

Capital City Chorus Presents: “Christmas with the Chorus”

7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8
2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9
2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10

Friday, Dec. 8 and Saturday, Dec. 9 at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
1515 Harrison Ave NW, Olympia

Sunday, Dec. 10 at Capital High School Performing Arts Center
2707 Conger Ave NW, Olympia

Free, donations accepted.


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