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Minnesota is accepted as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, but music lovers accept floated a new accompaniment motto: Land of 10,000 Choirs.
As architect and music administrator of Minneapolis-based VocalEssence, Philip Brunelle has conducted broadly in Europe and throughout the U.S. “I can’t anticipate of any added accompaniment with such a ample choral interest,” Brunelle said. “Which is why Minnesota is accepted as ‘Choral Country.’ ”
The drifting aqueduct chalks it up to the state’s cultural heritage. “Many of the settlers who came to Minnesota in the 1800s came from countries with able choral backgrounds,” Brunelle said. “Particularly association from the Scandinavian countries and Germany.”
Those immigrants kept singing already they accustomed in Minnesota — in their churches, schools, universities and folk ensembles. A statewide music apprenticeship affairs in the 20th aeon didn’t aching matters, either.
Despite 21st-century cuts, a able choral attitude persists to this day. And December happens to be prime time for sampling Minnesota’s admirable arrangement of pro articulate ensembles. Actuality are 10 anniversary concerts apery the actual best of the state’s choral scene.
Handel’s “Messiah” premiered at a awash Dublin concert in April 1742. Though not accurately advised for Christmas, it nonetheless became a basic of the season. It’s been a year back the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra aboriginal teamed up with Twin Cities choir the Singers for a achievement of Handel’s masterpiece. They echo the accord with a cord of concerts led by Cleveland bizarre specialist Jeannette Sorrell. The SPCO is abounding of players adeptness to the crisp, able-bodied appearance that makes bizarre music swing. And Sorrell’s access should ensure a bristlingly agreeable experience. (7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 and 8 p.m. Dec. 21, Basilica of St. Mary, Mpls.; 8 p.m. Dec. 22-23, Ordway Concert Hall, St. Paul; $5-$50, 651-291-1144 or thespco.org)
‘A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols’
Anyone can be affected by the appropriate ambient of this event, featuring the adventure of Christ’s bearing told through music and biblical readings. The “Nine Lessons” architecture was invented in Truro, England, during the Victorian era. But it didn’t become accepted until King’s College, Cambridge started broadcasting it to all-around audiences in 1928. The choir of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral presents its own adaptation led by Cambridge-educated music administrator Ray Johnston. An ideal way of absorption the airy bulletin of the Christmas season. (7:30 p.m. Dec. 21 and 5 p.m. Dec. 23, St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Mpls.; free, ourcathedral.org)
‘Christmas With Cantus’
The eight-man Cantus ensemble rethinks the “Nine Lessons and Carols” arrangement for the avant-garde era. The Twin Cities ensemble offers up a bespoke arrangement of words and music including John Rutter’s “Gabriel’s Message,” Joni Mitchell’s “River” and Franz Biebl’s “Ave Maria.” Touring to nine busline venues, the concert offers a different aggregate of alert absorption and chic vocalism. (Dec. 13, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Mpls.; Dec. 14, Fridley District Auditorium, Fridley; Dec. 15, Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church, Apple Valley; Dec. 17, Colonial Church, Edina; Dec. 18, St. Bartholomew Catholic Church, Wayzata; Dec. 20, Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Paul; Dec. 21, Ordway Concert Hall, St. Paul; Dec. 22, Trinity Lutheran Church, Stillwater; Dec. 23, Hamline United Methodist Church, St. Paul, assorted times; $10-$43, 612-435-0055 or cantussings.org)
Bach’s ‘Christmas Oratorio’
How do you like your Bach? Some like it with ample choirs, while others favor abate groups of singers. Falling about amid is the Minnesota Chorale. For its performances of Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio,” the chorale’s agenda will be 48 singers. The accumulation excels at accumulation weight of complete and absorption to detail. No admiration the Minnesota Orchestra is partnering with the choir for the additional bisected of Bach’s call of the Christmas story, which focuses on the Wise Men’s appointment and the blackmail of Herod. Bizarre specialist Nicholas Kraemer conducts, with outstanding English countertenor Robin Blaze amid the soloists. (8 p.m. Dec. 8 and 2 p.m. Dec. 9, Orchestra Hall, Mpls.; $12-$70, 612-371-5656 or minnesotaorchestra.org)
Tired of the aforementioned old carols? Hankering for article new this Christmas season? Check out the anniversary VocalEssence anniversary program. The ensemble has commissioned new works for every December concert back its birth in 1969. This year’s affairs appearance the group’s best Christmas commissions over the years, including pieces by Libby Larsen, Bob Chilcott, Judith Bingham and Stephen Paulus, forth with acceptable entries from VocalEssence’s 21st carol contest. And of course, there’s additionally a apple premiere to mark the 2018 Christmas season: “The Faire Starre” by agitative adolescent artisan Nico Muhly, whose opera “Marnie” afresh debuted at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. (7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, Roseville Lutheran Church, Roseville; 4 p.m. Dec. 8-9, Plymouth Congregational Church, Mpls.; $20-$40, 612-371-5656 or vocalessence.org)
‘A Tudor Christmas’
How did Christmas complete 500 years ago? The Rose Ensemble answers that catechism by cherry-picking blithe music from the courts of English monarchs Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. Lovers of Renaissance articulate music will appetite the admittance of works by William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, Robert Carver and Robert Johnson. Carols and dances of the aeon are additionally featured, in a allotment of agreeable time biking to an beforehand era. With 2018-19 actuality the Rose Ensemble’s final season, this marks the group’s aftermost anniversary affairs afterwards added than two decades of curating this alluring blazon of actual recital. (7 p.m. Dec. 20, Pilgrim Congregational Church, Duluth; 8 p.m. Dec. 21, Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church, St. Paul; 8 p.m. Dec. 22, Basilica of St. Mary, Mpls.; 3 p.m. Dec. 23, Church of the Holy Cross, Mpls.; $10-$38, roseensemble.org)
‘Star of Wonder’
Sure, you’d like to apprehend some Christmas music, but it’s adamantine award a babysitter. The solution? Take the kids to this melancholia VocalEssence concert, advised accurately for families with babies and toddlers. Members of the organization’s aristocratic Ensemble Singers and its new adolescence Singers of This Age choir accomplish a alternative of accepted anniversary carols. Singalongs and arena with toys are encouraged. Hands-on ability activities are additionally available. Bonus: Bring up to four accouchement for chargeless with anniversary developed ticket. (9:30 a.m. Dec. 8, Minneapolis Institute of Art; $15, 612-371-5656 or vocalessence.org)
It’s Minnesota all the way in this appropriate chapter of the Schubert Club’s Courtroom Concert series. Curated and hosted by St. Paul artisan Abbie Betinis, the affairs appearance winter songs and carols by Minnesota-connected composers including Libby Larsen, Bob Dylan, Linda Kachelmeier and Neal and Leandra. Alike John Denver is represented (he briefly lived here). It’s all performed by a Minnesota articulate quartet featuring acute Carrie Henneman Shaw, mezzo-soprano Laura Betinis Healy, tenor Nicholas Chalmers and bass Timothy C. Takach. Because aftermost year’s concert was so popular, the Schubert Club offers two performances this year. Get there aboriginal for a attempt of home-state pride and creativity. (Noon Dec. 20, Landmark Center, St. Paul; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20, Central Presbyterian Church, St. Paul; free, schubert.org)
‘A Million Reasons to Believe’
For those who like their Christmas fun, ablaze and none too reverential, the 150 choir of the Twin Cities Gay Men’s Chorus accept your ticket. Pop influences are afflicted into acceptable Christmas melodies, agreeable skits and sketches. There’s alike a anniversary bluff on the Queen of the Night’s dizzy-making aria from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.” The title? “Revenge of the Eggnog.” This marks the countdown concert for the group’s anew appointed aesthetic director, Gerald Gurss. (8 p.m. Dec. 7-8 and 2 p.m. Dec. 9, Ted Mann Concert Hall, University of Minnesota, Mpls.; $25-$48, 612-624-2345 or tcgmc.org)
‘Beauty in the Darkness’
Here’s the absolute antitoxin for the ablaze lights and overcommercialization of Christmas. Founded four years ago, the four-woman Lumina articulate ensemble specializes in intimate, high-quality performances of close-harmony pieces. The anniversary affairs “Beauty in the Darkness: Music for the Longest Night of the Year” offers a absolute befalling to arctic out with a alternative of music spanning the centuries. Renaissance accord by Cristóbal de Morales rubs amateur with music by Bob Dylan and Lumina affiliate Linda Kachelmeier, additional some acceptable Christmas tunes. (7 p.m. Dec. 21, Carondolet Center, St. Paul; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 22, St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Mpls.; $10, luminawomensensemble.com)
Terry Blain is a freelance classical music analyzer for the Star Tribune. Reach him at email@example.com.
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