Florence Camerata will be kicking of its 2012-2013 season today with a holiday-themed production, “Christmas in the Shoals” at Grace Episcopal Church in Sheffield.
Christmas in the Shoals will feature a collection of traditional and modern Christmas songs, in addition to Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Magnificat” and Morten Lauridsen’s “Lux Aeterna.”
“We’ve got quite a wide variety of music on this Christmas concert,” said Ian Loeppky, director of Florence Camerata. “All the way from carols and ancient hymns, all the way to ‘Baby it’s Cold Outside’ and Charlie Brown’s ‘Christmas Time is Here’ and ‘Jingle Bells’. It’s quite a mix.”
The mixture of familiar and semi-familiar music make the concert accessible to a diverse audience.
“They will definitely hear at least one thing that they like, and I’m sure they will like at least 90 percent of what they hear,” Loeppky said.
Assistant director Linda Young, who is also program committee chairwoman, said they try to have a variety of songs.
“We are doing some classical type pieces, some serious music,” Young said. “And we’re doing some lighter things like the Charlie Brown Christmas song and we’re doing an awesome ‘Jingle Bells Fantasy’. It’s ‘Jingle Bells’ like you’ve never heard it before.”
Loeppky, who is an associate professor at the University of North Alabama, said there are between 40 and 50 performers in the chorus making it the largest choral group in the Shoals.
He said chorus performers must audition but added the auditions are fairly easy.
“Very few people don’t make the audition,” Loeppky said. “We exist to provide an outlet for people in our community to sing and provide the very best choral music we can.”
The concert season was shifted down a song, so the season starts with the Christmas in the Shoals concert and ends with America Sings during the W.C. Handy Music Festival, Loeppky said.
“That’ll be exciting for us and for our audience,” Loeppky said.
“Florence Camerata is one of the finest choirs I have ever sung in,” said Young, who has 38 years experience teaching music on the independent and collegiate level — including nearly 25 years of being an instructor at UNA.
“Dr. Loeppky is one of the finest directors anywhere and we are very fortunate to have him at UNA and our community,” she added.
The rest of the concerts in Florence Camerata’s season include Choral Masterworks on March 7 at UNA’s Norton Auditorium. On May 4, Carmina Burana, will feature the Florence Camerata in performance with The Shoals Symphony at Norton Auditorium.
America Sings, as part of the W.C. Handy Music Festival, will be Tuesday, July 23, at First Presbyterian Church in Florence.
Bobby Bozeman can be reached at 256-740-5722 or bobby.bozeman@TimesDaily.com.