~posted by Dianne Donovan, KMFA-FM announcer
[Dianne Donovan had the honor of introducing Texas Choral Consort’s Concert, Sounding Joy — Navidad Nuestra, last Saturday, December 1st. It was directed by Brent Baldwin, with soloists: tenor Soon-Chan Kwon, and soprano Kirsten Watson.]
TCC’s annual holiday concert felt like a warm hug to *this* listener. We have so many wonderful choral groups in Austin, but TCC is close to my heart because they feature an un-auditioned chorus of folks who just want to sing great music. That doesn’t mean that Artistic Director, Brent Baldwin selects the “greatest hits” that many of us have already sung in choir, quite to the contrary… In fact, the centerpiece, Navid Nuestra, by Ariel Ramírez, was relatively new, having been written in 1964. Add to that, two world-premieres by Austin-based composers, Donald Grantham and Russell Reed, and this was a concert wherein the audience would lean in, so as not to miss a thing.
Reed’s La Noche Oscura contained gorgeously haunting harmonies that would be a challenge for most choruses. TCC did a fine job of presenting the work. Grantham’s beautiful setting of Maria Walks Amid the Thorn was a feast for the ears. In Navida Nuestra, the chorus was joined by the fabulous tenor-about-town, Soon-Chan Kwon. I have promised to add this piece to my personal Christmas playlist.
TCC did perform some chestnuts (roasting on an open fire) of Christmas Carols, at which time Brent Baldwin asked the audience to sing along. These were place every so often within the concert program, which helped to give the whole program (lasting about an hour) a beautiful flow.
On a warm winter’s night, it really was a Sounding Joy and a warm hug.
Here are some brief video excerpts from a few of the pieces we enjoyed:
The audience sings along with “Angels We Have Heard on High”
A haunting excerpt from “La Noche Oscura”
This part is from “Maria Walks Amid the Thorn,” with Kirsten Watson soloing:
And a short glimpse of guest tenor Soon-Chan Kwon in “Navidad Nuestra”
Fantastic review, Dianne. We had a group of Austin Newcomers of about 40 who also enjoyed the concert. Many particularly liked the new Grantham piece. It was a wonderful way to start the holiday season.