Sunday, October 21 , 2018, 3:37 am | Fair 57º


Gerald Carpenter: Quire Takes Another Run at Mysteries of Christmas

Quire of Voices, directed by founder Nathan Kreitzer, originally planned to perform their annual holiday program, The Mysteries of Christmas, Dec. 16 and 17.

That was before the Thomas Fire, which led the Quire to cancel these concerts, in hopes of rescheduling them at a later date.

After the conflagration came the inundation, which caused most of our local arts providers, including the Quire, to push their performances back still further.

Now, with the debris largely cleared from Santa Barbara's major arterial roadways, the Quire has made the following announcement:

"Many of you are aware that we had to cancel our December concerts due to the Thomas Fire. Since then we have all experienced the shock and sorrow of the flooding and mudslides in Montecito.

"The Quire missed singing for you during December, so we will do one performance of this concert, The Mysteries of Christmas: A Healing Concert for our Community on Sunday, Jan. 28, at 3 p.m. in St. Anthony’s Chapel on the campus of the Garden Street Academy, 2300 Garden St.

"We will not be performing traditional Christmas carols at this concert, but we will be singing music that soothes and heals.

"Purchased tickets from either the Dec. 16th or 17th concerts will be honored on Jan. 28, or you can obtain a refund through the Garvin Box Office. Tickets available at the door and in advance at the SBCC Garvin Box Office, 965-5935.

"Firefighters or other first responders can obtain free tickets by showing up at least 20 minutes before 3 p.m. We hope you will join us."

I assume that, except for the traditional Christmas carols, the program will be much the same as it was intended to be sung in December, to wit: works by Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548-1611); Steve Dombek (b. 1953); Sir Herbert Howells (1892-1983); Alexander L’Estrange (b. 1974); and Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen (b. 1980).

In advance of the December concerts, I wrote:

"While it will be lovely to hear a work ("Of the Father’s Love Begotten") by Steve Dombek, one of the indispensible leaders of our local music scene, this program pretty much belongs to the 16th century Spaniard, Victoria.

"Even though music historians have, for centuries, proclaimed Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1526-94) the founder of the baroque and main voice of the Counter Reformation in music, Victoria has ever so gradually supplanted Palestrina on modern programs of period music and in the hearts of audiences for choral music.

"His greatness is undeniable, though difficult to pin down. He is never overbearing or melodramatic — two qualities that usually impress audiences — but in this case, their absence proves to be a positive virtue.

"His music flows seamlessly, with liquid grace. He is a soul whisperer."

Since the Quire has said it intends to honor tickets bought for the December concerts, it can be deduced that tickets to these concerts are still $20 general, $15 for students and seniors, and are available at the door, or by phone from the Garvin Theatre Box Office, 965-5935.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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