Ring in the season with holiday concerts

Ring in the season with holiday concerts

THE R.I. CIVIC CHORALE & ORCHESTRA, pictured at a previous concert, will perform Handel’s “Messiah” on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m. at St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center, 84 Cumberland St. in Woonsocket.

Hear your favorite Christmas carols and get into the holiday spirit by attending one or dozens of local concerts, including the R.I. Civic Chorale & Orchestra’s performance of Handel’s “Messiah” on Sunday, Dec. 8.

The concert takes place at 3 p.m. at St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center, 84 Cumberland St. in Woonsocket.

“We’re delighted to be at St. Ann’s again this year,” Mary Tafuri Ross, president of RICCO, told The Valley Breeze. “It’s such a lovely place to sing in. The acoustics are just wonderful. It goes with the spirit of singing this oratorio.”

Performed annually by many groups, Handel’s “Messiah” is an iconic piece of classical music featuring familiar tunes such as “Hallelujah Chorus” and “For Unto Us a Child Is Born.”

“This is a joyful work (and) I think there’s something for everyone … from the orchestral introduction to the soloists to the wonderful choruses,” Ross said. “Even if someone has not heard the whole ‘Messiah’ before, parts are going to be very familiar.”

As an oratorio, Handel’s “Messiah” tells the story of Christ’s birth and resurrection, similar to an opera but without being staged, said Ross, of Coventry, who joined RICCO as a singer and has been involved with the organization for more than 30 years.

“It’s a real holiday favorite,” she said, adding that RICCO performs one of the more complete versions, which has three parts. “We sing all three parts. Sometimes it’s more typical to hear just the Christmas portion.”

RICCO has performed Handel’s “Messiah” more than 50 times and has sung for the past few years at St. Ann’s. The organization has received tremendous support, Ross said, having more or less a full house. “We are expecting quite a crowd,” she said of this year’s performance.

This year is very special for RICCO because it’s the first season with its new music director, Joshua Rohde, who has taken over for Edward Markward who retired, Ross said. This will be the first concert with Rohde at the helm.

“Joshua was overwhelmingly the favorite of the singers and the board,” she said. “He has infectious enthusiasm … I think it’s going to come through in the performance.”

Rohde, a professional cellist who is the director of choral activities at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, has invited the 30 or so members of WPI’s chamber chorus to join RICCO for the performances of Handel’s “Messiah.”

“It’s going to be very powerful,” Ross said.

Soloists are Elisabeth Swanson, soprano, Elizabeth Eschen, mezzo-soprano, Ethan DePuy, tenor, and Devon Russo, baritone.

Founded in 1957, nonprofit RICCO consists of approximately 75 men and women from more than two dozen towns in Rhode Island and southern Massachusetts and includes members of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra.

RICCO will also perform Handel’s “Messiah” on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m. at McVinney Auditorium, 43 Dave Gavitt Way in Providence.

Tickets cost $27 in advance or $30 at the door; seniors, $24; students, $10. Visit www.ricco.org .

The following are other local holiday concerts.

The Rhode Island State Council on the Arts will host its 2019 Holiday Concerts at the Statehouse, featuring music of the season, performed by students from schools throughout the state. Visit https://tinyurl.com/w3mvtfz for a full concert schedule.

Thursday, Dec. 5

The Renaissance V Brass Quintet will present a holiday concert at the Blackstone Public Library, 86 Main St., at 6:30 p.m. Featuring music from the 15th century to today, including well-known Christmas and holiday classics, registration is required. Register at www.blackstonepubliclibrary.org .

Friday, Dec. 6

Holiday Pops Concert featuring the 60-piece Claflin Hill Symphony Orchestra and the Greater Milford Community Chorus, 8 p.m., Stadium Theatre, 28 Monument Square, Woonsocket. Tickets $26, $34, $39. Call 401-762-4545 or visit www.stadiumtheatre.com .

Saturday, Dec. 7

• Irish Christmas in America featuring top Irish musicians, singers and dancers at Blackstone River Theatre, 549 Broad St., Cumberland, 8 p.m. Tickets $30 in advance; $35 at the door. Call 401-725-9272 or visit www.riverfolk.org .

• Park Place Congregational Church, 71 Park Place in Pawtucket, will present the Joys of Christmas Cabaret at 6 p.m.; buffet begins at 6:30 p.m.; show begins at 7:15 p.m. The cost is a donation of $20 per person. Reservations are being taken until Thursday, Dec. 5. Call 401-726-2800 or email office@ppucc.necoxmail.com .

Sunday, Dec. 8

• A free Holiday Concert by Cumberland-Lincoln Community Chorus takes place at 3 p.m. at the Wesley United Methodist Church, 55 Woodland St., Lincoln. Donations accepted.

• Lessons and Carols presented by Mount Saint Charles Academy, 800 Logee St., Woonsocket, from 4 to 6 p.m. in Chapel Hall, featuring students of the Mount Saint Charles Band, Chorus, Handbells, Dance and Drama. Tickets are free and necessary for admission. Call 401-769-0310, ext. 100.

• Appreciation Concert featuring Kelley Lennon and The American Band, hosted by Mike Montecalvo of WPRI, in honor of first responders and military members and veterans, 2 p.m., Scituate High School. Free admission.

Tuesday, Dec. 10

Holy Family Parish of Pawtucket will present a free Christmas concert, featuring the Chorus of East Providence at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Church, 195 Walcott St., Pawtucket.

Thursday, Dec. 12

“A Holly Jolly Christmas” Concert with crooner Michael Bradley, 7:30 p.m., Stadium Theatre, Woonsocket, in the Marquee Room. Tickets $26. Call 401-762-4545 or visit www.stadiumtheatre.com .

Saturday, Dec. 14

• Handel’s “Messiah” performed by the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and The Providence Singers, 7 p.m., The Vets, One Avenue of the Arts, Providence. 401-248-7000 or tickets.riphil.org . Tickets $15-$119.

• Irish harpist/singer Aine Minogue presents “To Warm at Winter’s Night” musical celebration of the Celtic mid-winter and Christmas season, 8 p.m., Blackstone River Theatre, 549 Broad St., Cumberland. Tickets $18 in advance; $22 at the door. Visit www.riverfolk.org .

• Holiday Concert by Cumberland-Lincoln Community Chorus, at the First Baptist Church, 75 Park St., North Attleboro, Mass., 2 p.m. Donations accepted.

Sunday, Dec. 15

• St. Charles Borromeo Church, 8 Daniels St., Woonsocket, presents its final Christmas Concert before the parish closes its doors for good after 170 years in the community. Features the Adult Choir with special guests from the Providence Youth Classical Guitar Ensemble. 2 p.m. Free admission. www.stcharlesborromeo.com .

• Holiday Concert by Cumberland-Lincoln Community Chorus, 3 p.m., Trinity Episcopal Church, 47 East St., Wrentham, Mass. Free. Donations accepted.

• The Williams Chorale will present its annual Christmas Concert “Children, Go” at 3 p.m. at the Evangelical Covenant Church, 841 North Main St., Attleboro, Mass. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door; $10 for students and seniors; 12 and under free. Call 508-622-1854 or visit www.thewilliamschorale.org .

Thursday, Dec. 19

Cumberland High School Clef Singers Holiday Concert, 7:30 p.m., Cumberland Public Library 1464 Diamond Hill Road. Limited tickets $1, at the library circulation desk. Refreshments provided by the Friends of the Cumberland Public Library. Proceeds benefit the chorus.

Saturday, Dec. 21

The Renaissance V Brass Quintet will perform a free holiday concert at the Woonsocket Harris Public Library, 303 Clinton St., from 2 to 3 p.m. Call the library at 401-769-9044.