December 20, 2014 — 7:00 PM and 8:30 PM
    Historic St. Mary’s Chapel
    1129 East Third Street, Charlotte, NC 28204
    Tickets: $8.00 – $16.00

Carolina Pro Musica, Charlotte’s early music ensemble, presents our holiday tradition for the entire family, “Christmas at St. Mary’s” – medieval and Renaissance music with readings of the season and carols for all to sing. Bob Sweeten returns to narrate. The ensemble will appear in period attire with Renaissance instruments and voices.

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 37 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.

Carolina Pro Musica has always included a narrator to tell the story, keep the program flowing, and show the context for the music. This year’s programs features medieval and Renaissance music and includes the “Coventry Carol” from 16th century England after the reading from the Book of Matthew which speaks of Rachel weeping for her children who had been killed in the slaughter of the innocents. Other readings will feature the prophecy of the birth, the angel Gabriel’s appearance to Mary, the angels’ proclaiming the birth to the shepherds, and a star leading the Wiseman to the Christ child. Also included will be 15th century English poems and T.S. Eliot’s “Journey of the Magi,” another audience favorite.

Bob Sweeten returns for the sixth time as narrator for these concerts. For more than 15 years, he has been 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.

Music will include selections from Europe and England. In reviewing a similar performance Laura McDowell  stated “they know this repertory very well, and they performed it in flawless ensemble.”(  Carolina Pro Musica’s program will feature recorders (flauto dolce), viola 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, viola da gamba
    Edward Ferrell, recorders