A holiday feeling

The Towne Singers hope to create all the joyous feelings shared during the holiday season through song for their audience at their upcoming concert.

Highlights include an arrangement of "Angels We Have Heard on High" and a rollicking rendition of "Up on the Housetop." Adding to the merriment, old St. Nick will be stopping by to greet the children.

"Our theme for this concert is 'Christmas is a Feeling,'" said conductor Beth Richey. "We tried to choose songs that would evoke all the warm feelings of Christmas."

The choir is accompanied by a live orchestra and the selections are a festive blend of traditional, humorous, contemporary and spiritual pieces that the choir hopes will remind their audience of snow-laden evergreens, mulled cider and colorful lights, she said.

"So we'll be singing lots of Christmas tunes and there are comic moments and Santa always visits," she added. "And there's a sing-along at the end — 'Silent Night' with a candlelight ending."

One of Richey's favorites on the program is "O Come, O Come Emmanuel."

"It's got intricate rhythms, and it has four percussionists that will accompany the piece: drum snare, bass, hand drum and tambourine," she said. "That's a real neat piece."

Another she is looking forward to the choir presenting is the arrangement by Moses Hogan, a famous arranger of spirituals, called "Glory, Glory to the New Born King." It features a soloist and it meshes together with the holiday song "Go Tell on the Mountain" in a full gospel sound.

"The soloist, Kathy Cady, is great," Richey said. "She's a new member, and this is her first concert with Towne Singers. She does a really nice job….She has a crystal pure sound that fits the style of the song very well."

Michelle Cogswell, of Montrose, an alto, promises it will be a varied program.

"All of the music is really fun," she said.

What she likes best about performing with the Towne Singers is the chance to sing with professionals, she said.

"I don't have any professional experience, but this is an opportunity where you don't have a professional audition, you sing for the director, but it's more for voice placement rather than deciding if you will be in the choir or not," she said. "And there are professional singers in the choir, so it's a wonderful mix of professional and amateurs singing in the choir."

Another benefit, she said, is getting to sing with almost 100 other voices.

"There is something very magical that happens when you get together with all of these wonderful people," she said.

Burbank resident Lynette Smith, an alto, accompanied the group on a trip to New York where they performed at Carnegie Hall in 2008 and at the Lincoln Center over the last Memorial Day weekend, she said.

"Traveling has been amazing — getting to know fellow members better, and our conductor Beth is an amazing talent, very inspirational. She has so much energy and talent, she blows your mind."



What: Towne Singers holiday concert "Christmas is a Feeling"

When: 4:30 p.m. Dec. 5

Where: First United Methodist Church, 500 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena

Cost: $20 at the door or $15 in advance; $8 for children under 10

Contact: (818) 952-2429, or visit http://www.TowneSingers.org

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