Local stars Leon Bridges and Kelly Clarkson recently snagged Grammy nominations, but The Fort is already home to a two-time Grammy Award-winning ensemble that has been in the music game for 70 years, the Texas Boys Choir.
The 85 members of the Texas Boys Choir, under the direction of S. Bryan Priddy, are performing a Christmas Festival Concert at Arborlawn United Methodist Church this Monday. Admittedly, there’s no shortage of snazzy holiday concerts in Fort Worth, but this one promises to be far from hokey.
The program, Personet Hodie, is loosely based on an Anglican service first performed in 1918 in Cambridge, England to tell the story of the birth of Christ. During that premiere, the choir and narrator alternated between reading verses from the bible and singing sacred carols. For Personet Hodie, the boys choir will mimic that tradition using medieval and contemporary arrangements, choreography, percussion, sacred poetry, and creative staging of vocalists.
The sacred and secular will both have a place at the concert, Priddy said.
“If a person of the Christian faith comes to this program they will find it to be” similar to a church service, he said. And “if a person just wants to hear a well-performed piece of choral music they will love that too.”
A contemporary work by Spanish composer Javier Busto, “Kanta Cantemus,” is a repetitious, kaleidoscopic chant composed in the Basque language, which translates to “Let us sing a song of joy.” An African folk tune on the program, “African Noel,” is arranged by Dallas-native and FWAFA staffer Victor Johnson. The performance will involve an African percussion ensemble of bongos, djembes, and talking drums that will accompany the choir.
Not all the music is new, though. The concert will feature popular sing-alongs like, “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night.” Those selections will be rounded out by standard repertoire selections like J.S. Bach’s “Jesus, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” Antonio Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” three selections by Benjamin Britten, and three works by Mendelssohn. All-in-all, the concert will be a brisk 75 minutes long.
Of all the Christmas concerts (eight) that Priddy has racked up as artistic director of the choir, this one promises to be the most adventurous and varied to date.
Texas Boys Choir Christmas Festival Concert is Mon, Dec 14, Arborlawn UMC, 5001 Briarhaven Rd, FW. $15 for adults and $6 for students in advance. $18 for adults and $8 for students at the door.