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This preview provided by Carolina Pro Musica.
Carolina Pro Musica, Charlotte's early music ensemble, will present "Christmas at St. Mary's" December 15, 2018. Founded to perform music written before 1800 with period instruments and voices, Carolina Pro Musica did not have Christmas concerts as part of their original plan when they began a concert series 41 years ago.
The ensemble keeps the venue of Charlotte's historic St. Mary's Chapel for these holiday performances as it was the home of all their concerts in the early years. The chapel was constructed in 1892 on the campus of Thompson Orphanage by William Bynum in memory of his daughter. The chapel served the orphanage until 1970. In 1975 the chapel was declared a historic site by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic Properties Commission.
This year's programs features medieval and Renaissance music. In 1582, Theodoricus Petri, a Finnish student at the university in Rostock, compiled a song book intending to preserve some ancient hymns and songs of his fatherland. The rector of the cathedral school there edited and published the first edition of Piae Cantiones in Greifswald, (present day northeast Germany). The collection became one of Finland's greatest musical treasures, A few works on our program come from this source of which a copy was given to the English hymn writer J.M. Neale in 1853. He translated some of the texts and added new words to tunes that are now known to us today.
Carolina Pro Musica has always included a narrator to tell the story, keep the program flowing and show the context for the music. The readings feature Biblical stories of the life of Christ, 15th century English poems and T.S. Eliot's "Journey of the Magi", an audience favorite.
Bob Sweeten returns for the 10th time as narrator for these concerts. He is Max on the syndicated Bob & Sheri morning radio show that originates from WLNK in Charlotte. In addition to his duties directing Bob & Sheri, he is active in local theater often appearing with the Abbey Players/Belmont Community Theater among others. He has won Addy awards for his work in television and radio commercials.
Carolina Pro Musica's program will feature recorders (flauto dolce), violas da gamba, harp, harpsichord, and percussion. All these instruments are quieter than today's modern counterparts. Members of the ensemble will join in singing on some selections and the audience will be a part of the singing experience. St. Mary's Chapel provides a wonderful setting for these rare sounds.
Carolina Pro Musica was established in 1977 to promote the performance of music written before 1800 through the use of historic instruments and/or copies and in the performance practice of the periods in which the music was written.
Carolina Pro Musica
Karen Hite Jacob, founder/director, harpsichord, harp
Rebecca Miller Saunders, soprano, percussion
Holly Wright Maurer, recorder, violas da gamba
Edward Ferrell, recorders tenor viol, guitar
Bob Sweeten, narrator