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Burbank Chorale to brighten holidays with Britten’s ‘Ceremony of Carols’

The Burbank Chorale will host its annual holiday concert this weekend, and it will feature some not-so-well-known carols by various composers as well as some classics.

The concert, called “Strike the Harp and Join the Chorus,” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the American Lutheran Church, 755 N. Whitnall Highway, Burbank.

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Mikhail Shtangrud, the choir’s artistic director, said the main piece will be Benjamin Britten’s “A Ceremony of Carols,” which he said is not a conventional holiday song, but still evokes the holiday spirit.

Shtangrud, who is in his 18th year with the group, said he is also excited for the choir’s performance of John Rutter’s “Angel’s Carol,” which is a song not about a specific winter holiday, but one about the season overall.

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Putting on a holiday concert is not as easy as it may appear. Shtangrud said the choir starts practicing the holiday songs in September.

The concert won’t be all obscure songs, though. Shtangrud said conventional Christmas carols will be sung by the San Fernando Valley-based MUSYCA Children’s Choir, and the Burbank Chorale will also be performing the 1980s hit “Last Christmas” by Wham!

“If we played every holiday song that everyone wanted to hear, the concert would probably go on until Easter,” he said.

“There’s just some much great holiday music, and all of it is so great,” he added.

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