The Piedmont Singers launches its 21st season with a program of favorite carols from many cultures and traditions: Christmas from West to East. The Piedmont Singers serves as an outreach ministry of Emmanuel Episcopal Church and was founded in 1999 to offer a musical end to the annual Christmas in Middleburg celebration. The Christmas concerts will be held on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 5 p.m. (following Middleburg’s Christmas Parade), and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8, at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, at 105 E. Washington St. in Middleburg. The concerts are free and open to the public, with a free-will donation gratefully accepted. For more information, call Emmanuel Church at 540-687-6297.
The choral program will open with the lovely and haunting carol from Canada, with “The Huron Carol” and travel through America, Ireland, England, Spain, Italy, Finland, Germany, Ukraine, and end in Russia with the exquisite “Bogoroditse Devo” (“Ave Maria”) by Rachmaninoff. Carols vary in tone from the mystery of “O Magnum Mysterium” to the joy of “Carol of the Bells.” Several carols will be sung in their original language (with translations provided) to spice up the performance. There will also be ample opportunities for the entire audience to join the choir in singing familiar carols.
The Piedmont Singers was founded and directed by Wendy Oesterling, music director at Emmanuel Church. She has designed musically diverse programs to celebrate the close of Christmas in Middleburg since 1999, when the rector of Emmanuel Church wanted to celebrate Christmas in Middleburg with the singing of Handel’s beloved oratorio, “Messiah.” Recognizing the difficulty of performing Messiah with a small church choir, Oesterling invited singers from neighboring churches to participate. The choir grew over the years and today includes singers from about 15 churches across Northern Virginia. The Piedmont Singers presents concerts at Christmas, during Holy Week and is honored to have served as choir-in-residence for five weeks at five different Anglican cathedrals in England and Ireland.
The community is invited to begin its Christmas celebration with The Piedmont Singers at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Middleburg, on Dec. 7 and 8 as they perform Christmas from West to East, joining in the worldwide celebration of Christ’s birth.