‘A Chanticleer Christmas’ Comes to Center for the Arts

Posted: November 23, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 20, 2009 at 5:38 pm

c Lisa Kohler

© Lisa Kohler

This spectacular and elegant holiday concert is a cherished tradition at Mason’s Center for the Arts. Renowned for its flawless technique, Chanticleer produces a pure, radiant sound that fills the concert hall with rapturous melody and crystal-clear articulation. “A Chanticleer Christmas” will be presented on Saturday, Nov. 28, at 8 p.m.

The San Francisco-based Chanticleer has developed a remarkable reputation for its vivid interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance to jazz, and from gospel to venturesome new music. The seamless blend of these 12 male voices—ranging from bass to countertenor—a reverence for great music, an unwavering commitment to virtuosic performance and passion for the development and preservation of the choral repertoire has earned the ensemble international renown as “an orchestra of voices.”

A discussion, free to ticket holders, will begin 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier III.  Sterling Capital Management Group is the performance sponsor for “A Chanticleer Christmas.”

The program includes a mesmerizing Gregorian chant and breathtaking versions of the “Ave Maria” by Renaissance composer Josquin Desprez and 20th-century composer Franz Biebl. Also on the bill is a popular Provençal Christmas carol called “Un Flambeau, Jeanette, Isabella” that evokes images of small villages and colorful village folk celebrating the season. Chanticleer will conclude with a medley of Christmas spirituals titled “Glory to the Newborn King,” arranged by Music Director Emeritus Joseph Jennings.

Named for the “clear singing” rooster in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales,” Chanticleer was founded in 1978 by tenor Louis Botto, who sang with the group until 1989 and served as artistic director until his death in 1997.

Celebrating its 32nd season, Chanticleer performs more than 100 concerts during the 2009-10 season, including its debuts in Ireland and the People’s Republic of China. This year, Chanticleer is also scheduled to make its fifth appearance on NBC’s “Today Show” on Dec. 4.

Chanticleer’s recordings consistently garner both popular and critical acclaim, and have been the object of numerous honors, including Grammy Awards in 2000 and 2002. The New Yorker described their enormously popular album, “Sing We Christmas,” as “one of those rare holiday albums good enough to listen to all year round,” and wrote that “no one does a better choral Christmas than the virtuoso male voices of Chanticleer,” about the group’s recently released DVD, “Fireside Christmas with Chanticleer.”

Chanticleer was also recently inducted into the American Classical Musical Hall of Fame in Cincinnati, and was named 2008 Ensemble of the Year by Musical America.

Tickets are $48, $40 and $24. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit www.gmu.edu/cfa.

Write to gazette at gazette@gmu.edu