Master Chorale presents holiday fusion concert

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The Idyllwild Master Chorale presents its annual holiday concert, this year titled “Beams of Gentle Light.” Music Director Dwight “Buzz” Holmes has created a program of carols, a jazz set and a group-sing of the “Hallelujah” chorus. File photo

Idyllwild Master Chorale Director Dwight “Buzz” Holmes has programmed a festive holiday concert, featuring beautifully arranged holiday carols performed by the chorale, a jazz set with Marshall Hawkins’ quartet, vocalists Sherry Williams and John Fleming, pianist and conductor John Rodby and a “Hallelujah” chorus sing along with chamber orchestra.

All of this musical excellence is presented in the acoustically brilliant Lowman Hall on the Idyllwild Arts campus, where true pianissimos can be heard in the last row. What could be a better way to celebrate the holiday season than to attend this stunning performance in a true gem of a concert hall? And you don’t have to travel to Disney Hall in downtown Los Angeles to experience this high-level musical excellence. It’s all here in Idyllwild.

The new William M. Lowman Concert Hall, designed by award-winning architect Whitney Sander of Los Angeles, is an 8,000-square-foot masterpiece in the heart of the Idyllwild Arts Academy campus. It is acoustically engineered by ARUP North America, world famous for its design of the Sydney Opera House.

The annual IMC winter holiday concert is always topnotch. But this year, Holmes has chosen to feature familiar and gorgeously melodic carols, penned by choral greats John Rutter, Morten Lauridsen, Alice Parker and Mack Wilberg. The chorale music is holiday warm and cozy, as is the jazz set with arrangements by Idyllwild audience favorite John Rodby.

And instead of presenting much of Handel’s “Messiah” with soloists, as has been a staple in years past, Holmes invites the audience to join the chorale and orchestra in the “Hallelujah” chorus, as the most rousing way to inaugurate the holiday season.

“Beams of Gentle Light” is both the name of this year’s holiday concert and a featured piece in the concert, with words by Buzz Holmes and music by his father, Robert Evans Holmes. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, and 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17. Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for students, and are available online at www.idyllwildmasterchorale.org and at the door.

On Sunday, at 6 p.m., following the concert there is an “Afterglow Gala” at the Idyllwild Brewpub with hors d’oeuvres and fine wines, door prizes and silent auction complemented by the music of Hawkins, Williams, Fleming and Rodby and the cello/piano duo Two t’ Suite. For more information about the gala and ticket prices, visit the IMC website.

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