The 7th annual "Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols" will draw the community together to celebrate the joyful and spiritual season of Christmas. A choral program celebrating the holidays in the tradition of King's College Chapel in Cambridge, England, the annual ecumenical event is hosted by Holy Trinity Parish in Medina's historic St. Mary Church, Saturday, December 19 at 7:00PM.
"It's a beautiful way for the community to come together and share the story of Christmas with family and good friends," said Aaron Grabowski, Music Director and Principal Organist at Holy Trinity Parish. "In these troubled times, I think people are hungry for this kind of spiritual respite at Christmastime. It is about an hour in length and is a beautiful way to rejuvenate and recapture the spirit of the season."
This years' eighteen-voice Festival Choir features members of the Genesee Chorale, a Batavia based ensemble that is widely known across Western New York. The choir will be accompanied by pipe organ and the Pergaudeo Brass Quartet. The Festival consists of nine Scriptural readings as read by readers from around WNY that tell the story of the birth of the Messiah, interspersed with choral music of the season.
The addition of voices from the Genesee Chorale has taken the festival in a new direction this year. Chorale Director, Ric Jones and Holy Trinity's Aaron Grabowski collaborated, looking to add a different dimension to the choral portion of the program.
"It is fitting that the Genesee Chorale is part of Lessons and Carols this year," said Jones. "I've always seen 'Lessons' as an event that brings the community together. These select members of the Chorale represent not only Medina, but Batavia, Buffalo, Warsaw, Akron, Albion, Leroy, and Oakfield. It's sure to be an evening of inspirational music, unifying these communities in music and the celebration of Christmas."
Joining the Festival Choir will be the Pergaudeo Brass Quartet featuring trombonists Zach Busch and Nich Jones. Busch is a graduate student and music education major at the SUNY Fredonia School of Music and is director of the renown Fredonia Jazz Ensemble. He also performs with the Fredonia College Symphony Orchestra and the Fredonia Trombone Choir.
Jones is a student of Ithaca College School of Music, where he is a Sound Recording and Technology major.
Playing with Jones and Busch is Mark Hughes of Grand Island, NY. Hughes is also a Music Education student at the SUNY Fredonia School of Music and performs with the Fredonia Jazz Ensemble, Fredonia College Symphony Orchestra and the Fredonia Wind Ensemble.
Rounding out the quartet is local trumpeter Paul Grabowski of the Medina schools music program. Paul is a talented and accomplished young musician, and performs with re-enactment fife and drums at Old Fort Niagara in Yougstown.
Singing in the 2015 Festival Choir are select members of the Genesee Chorale. They include Sopranos Heather Lovelace, Rachel Chrostowski, Merry Lou Holley and Yvonne Freeman; Altos Janine Fagnan, Karen Jones, Marsha Rivers, and Jennifer Neroni-Truppo; Tenors Alan Barcomb, Mark Ross, Norm Woodworth and Carl Schoonover; and Basses John Allen, Paul-Joseph Struckmann, Jim Ellison, Bob Holley, Phil Briatico and Ric Jones.
Music selections this year include Once In Royal David's City, Adam lay ybounden, In Dulci Jubilo, Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day, O Come, O Come Emmanuel, Myn Lyking, Low, How a Rose E'er Blooming, The Angel Gabriel, Magnificat, In the Bleak Midwinter, The Shepherds Farewell, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, Dormi Jesu, O Come All Ye Faithful and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.
The pipe organ- a circa 1890 Barckhoff instrument- is featured in a prelude with a program of traditional French pieces for organ by Claude Balbastre and Claude D'Aquin.
Scripture readers for the event include Sharon Kleinhans, Trinty Lutheran Church, Medina; Mary Zangerle, Medina United Methodist Church; Marshall Hand and Jim Simon, Our Lady of the Lake Roman Catholic Parish, Lyndonville; Laura Gardner, First Presbyterian Church of Holley; Marsha Rivers, First Presbyterian Church of Holley; Christopher Goyette, Holy Trinity RC Parish, Medina; David Schubel, Trinity Lutheran Church, Medina and the Rev. Daniel Fawls, pastor of Holy Trinity RC Parish, Medina.
This family friendly event is free of charge with a free will offering benefitting the Community Food Pantry at St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church, Medina.
Saturday, December 19 at St. Mary RC Church, 211 Eagle Street, Medina. A pipe organ prelude begins at 6:30 p.m. with the Festival starting at 7:00PM and running through approximately 8:00PM.