The Idyllwild Master Chorale and the Art Alliance of Idyllwild, two of Idyllwild’s most prestigious arts organizations, reprise their successful holiday pairing of last year with a magical fusion of music and fine art — a Winter Solstice Celebration.
Once again, IMC and AAI members will transform the Idyllwild School Gymnasium into a beautifully lit art gallery and sparkling yuletide concert hall. The first performance is at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20. There is a matinee at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 21. Idyllwild’s finest artists are featured in a walkthrough gallery, decorated and lit to highlight Idyllwild’s alpine holiday season. The gallery opens at 6 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday. Attendees are invited to browse the gallery and vote on a People’s Choice award. All featured art is for sale.
This year IMC adds a new event, a gala fundraiser after the Sunday matinee at Idyllwild’s newest hotel, the luxury boutique Grand Idyllwild Lodge. The gala begins at 6 and runs to 8:45 p.m.
IMC Director Dwight “Buzz” Holmes recreates the musical fusion concert theme that has played so well with audiences the last several years. In the first half, Holmes features classical and familiar carols sung by the IMC, accompanied by a pit orchestra; then in the second half of the concert, jazz takes over, turning up the heat with swinging holiday classics and new compositions.
Local jazz icon Marshall Hawkins and his quintet back the exquisite stylings of velvet-voiced Sherry Williams. Later, composer and pianist John Rodby takes the piano chair, backing Williams and the IMC in two of his compositions, “One Lone Candle,” which had its world premiere at last year’s concert, and “My Light Will Always Be There.”
Joining the fusion set is renowned tenor John Fleming, who is equally comfortable as soloist in Handel’s “Messiah” or swinging a holiday classic in the finest Mel Torme improvisational style. With Fleming, the musical surprises are always incredible to hear and fun to experience.
The Chorale will present carols from the Renaissance, as well as contemporary works from prominent composers John Rutter of England and Mack Wilberg of the U.S.
Holmes explained why he programmed the concert as he did. “Everyone has a favorite carol or musical remembrance from the holidays,” said Holmes. “This year I thought it would be important to incorporate the traditional with the new, showing the trans-generational nature of music and its impact at this time of year. I particularly chose the compositions of Rutter, Wilberg and Rodby to demonstrate how sound is sculpted through performance.”
Designed to integrate fine art, classical, jazz, vocal and instrumental music and further enhance Idyllwild’s reputation as a town known for its quality art, the Winter Solstice Celebration embodies the communal spirit of giving and sharing that characterizes village life in Idyllwild.
Tickets are available online at www.idyllwildmasterchorale.com and at the door. Concert tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students. For concert and gala, a single ticket is $110 and $175 for a couple. Tickets for the gala only are $90 for a single and $155 for a couple. The Grand will be decked out in full holiday regalia and sumptuous food will be provided by Ferro, wines by MiddleRidge Winery and musical entertainment by Sherry Williams, the Marshall Hawkins Quintet, John Rodby and John Fleming, with Julianna Buffum Holmes on cello and Nelms McKelvain on piano as guests arrive. There are a limited number of gala tickets.
For more information, call 951-659-2650.