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Photo courtesy of the Bakersfield Master Chorale

Music and the human voice, separately, are powerful forces for change. They can bring a smile to the grouchiest of Grinches, they can incite war and they can bring peace. Join the diverse and world-renowned voices of the Bakersfield Master Chorale, under the direction of Dr. Robert Provencio, for an internationally inspired Christmas concert Dec. 2 at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 4500 Buena Vista Road.

The performance will consist of “some Handel, some Rutter, some multicultural music and some YouTube,” according to Provencio.

This festive annual holiday event will entertain audiences of all ages and bring a little more joy to our town.

“The world around us in need of this kind of art and things that build community,” Provencio said. “Our strength lies in that diverse and wonderful community that is us. ... Whether you love the classics or contemporary styles, we are ready to share this good news.”

Classics appearing on the program include the standard “In the Bleak Midwinter,” arranged by the late Bob Clatterbuck, an adored Bakersfield piano teacher, and selected movements from Handel’s “Messiah,” which the Master Chorale will perform in full in February to celebrate its 85th year of ushering in glorious sound to Bakersfield.

In between the lineup of masterworks, audiences will revel in the holiday spirit by singing along to the chorale’s versions of classic carols all night long.

“We are going to make joyful noise; there’s no doubt about that!” Provencio laughed.

Of course, no Christmas concert is complete without the awe-inspiring chant “Gloria.” Provencio chose an iconic arrangement by English composer John Rutter with accompaniment from a joyous organ and brass ensemble. The performance includes a complete running translation of the Latin lyrics to follow along.

Contemporary pieces include a mashup of songs arranged by the YouTube acapella sensations Pentatonix and “The Darkest Midnight in December,” a new classic written by modern composer Stephen Main. Finally, find yourself captivated by an Africa call-and-response version of “Noel,” as well as a traditional Norwegian Christmas hymn.

On incorporating contemporary and international pieces into this traditional holiday concert, Provencio explains, “These are wonderful and complex arrangements, so sophisticated and yet they reach out to people – for the audience, it’s just pure joy.”

Tickets can be purchased at bakersfieldmasterchorale.org. 

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