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‘We have been waiting a long time to sing’

Repertory Singers’ holiday concerts first live performance since pandemic
Southern Oregon Repertory Singers' holiday concerts will include seasonal music both sacred and secular, ancient and modern. Photo by Cornelius Matteo

Southern Oregon Repertory Singers’ return to live performance will be “The Waiting Sky,” a program of seasonal holiday music at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18, and at 3 p.m. Dec. 19.

The concert will be held at Southern Oregon University Music Recital Hall, 450 S. Mountain Ave., in Ashland.

The program will include music from the Renaissance to the present by well-known and emerging composers.

“We have been waiting a long time to sing for live audiences again,” said Paul French, Rep Singers music director. “And we hope our music brings long-overdue holiday cheer.”

The concert title, “The Waiting Sky,” comes from an a cappella piece on the program by award-winning composer Oliver Tarney, who has been featured on several of Rep Singers’ previous holiday programs.

“One of the concert highlights will be a stunning ‘Ave Maria’ by Polish composer Pawel Lukaszewski,” French said. In a review, Rebecca Tavener said the composer manages to make just two words “into a meditational poem of great devotional power.”

Other highlights:

“The Christ Child’s Lullaby,” a haunting setting of a Hebridean folksong by American composer Gwyneth Walker for choir and mezzo soprano soloist;

“Winter,” a piece that includes some visual projections, written by young Black American composer Alvin Trotman;

And music by two of Britain’s top choral composers: a lively Spanish carol, “Romance of the Angels,” arranged by Howard Goodall, and “My Lord Has Come,” a carol by Will Todd — “heartbreakingly lovely,” French said.

Also on the program is a variety of seasonal songs from around the world, both ancient and modern; traditional secular carols such as “Wassail Carol,” “Jingle Bells,” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”; and a commissioned setting of the Scottish favorite, “Auld Lang Syne,” by Rep Singers accompanist and resident composer Jodi French.

For tickets, call the box office at 541-552-0900.

You can reach Ashland writer Jim Flint at jimflint.ashland@yahoo.com.