December 14, 2012

Experience surround sound live

Ecumenical choir sings mixture of sacred, secular


---- — PLATTSBURGH — There are two chances, and two chances only, to catch the 47th-annual Keeseville-Peru Ecumenical Choir Concert.

The first concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Augustine’s Church in Peru. The second will be held at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at St. John the Baptist Church in Keeseville.

Both free concerts offer a mix of secular and sacred Christmas music under the direction of Jeannette Woodruff. Carol Bachand is accompanist.

“We have loads of wonderful music, of course,” Woodruff said. “There are 67 voices. We have the traditional Christmas carols we do. 

“We open with ‘Oh, Come All Ye Faithful’ and ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sings.’ When we sing ‘Oh, Come All Ye Faithful,’ the choir members surround the church. It’s something new I added, and people like it. ‘Oh, Holy Night’ is a traditional song we sing. It’s a favorite for audience members and the musicians.”

Other selections include “Jesus Child” by John Rutter and “All My Heart This Night Rejoices,” an a cappella piece by Randall Stroope.

“We’re doing a version of ‘Jingle Bells’ arranged by David Willcocks,” Woodruff said. “The sopranos and altos will do selections. One of the pieces they do is ‘Speak to the Child of Love.’ That piece tells about the many questions children have about various things. It’s very touching. The tenors and basses will do a couple of selections. One piece they will do is an arrangement of ‘Oh, Christmas Tree,’ which is an a cappella arrangement. It almost has a barbershop sound to it.”

The choir began as the Keeseville Men’s Glee Club 47 years ago.

“One Christmas eve early on in their existence, the Men’s Glee Club sang at the service of the Keeseville United Methodist Church,” Woodruff said. “From that point, it became an ecumenical choir. Over the years, members from Peru Community Church got involved. It has just evolved. It started out just singing Christmas carols. Over the years, it started adding different Christmas anthems. I’m the fourth conductor, which I think says a lot of the group. It’s not a high turnover.”

The annual concerts are well-attended.

“Last year, there was standing-room only,” Woodruff said. “People usually arrive there 40 minutes early to get a seat. We’re hoping the weather stays nice.”

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WHAT: 47th-annual Keeseville-Peru Ecumenical Choir Concert.

WHEN & WHERE: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, St. Augustine's Church, 3035 Main St., Peru; 7:30 p.m. Sunday, St. John the Baptist Church, 1804 Main St., Keeseville.