Press-Republican

Faith & Spirituality

December 6, 2013

Christmas with soul

Apple Crate Ensemble special guest at Soulful Christmas

PLATTSBURGH — Nothing sets the mood for the holidays like the Plattsburgh State Gospel Choir’s Soulful Christmas Celebration.

Sunday’s concert features special guest the Peru Apple Crate Ensemble (Peru Intermediate School) in the E. Glenn Giltz Auditorium.

“They are a fourth- through sixth-grade chorus,” said Dr. Dexter Criss, the Gospel Choir’s artistic director.

“Every year, they put on their own holiday plays or skits. It’s 100 singers and musicians. My kids have both come through it. That should be a lot of fun.”

“We’re singing some selections from our holiday show, ‘Mickey’s Christmas Carol,’” said Pam Lavin, who co-directs the Apple Crate Ensemble with Megan Yonteff and Chris Urban.

“They will be singing, dancing and playing classroom instruments. Our ensemble is 120, so half is going so we will have about 50.”

The Gospel Choir will perform classics such as “Come All Ye Faithful” with a gospel flair.

The choir’s nine selections include “Joyful, Joyful” from “Sister Act II” and “Carol of the Bells.”

“There are three songs that are more gospel than Christmas and more Christmas than gospel,” Criss said.

Sunday’s selections will also include a rendition of “Holle, Holle, Holle,” a Caribbean Christmas carol.

“There are choir members from the Caribbean,” Criss said. “They are really excited about it. It represents their songs. Apple Crate will sing that with us. That’s a finale song. It’s really good.”

The finale will feature a steel pan to add that signature island sound.

“I can’t play that,” Criss said. “I can’t figure where the beat is. I try to emulate it. It’s a disaster. My students think it’s funny. It looks kind of simple rhythmically. You just can’t do it. You have to disconnect from what you know. It will be a great tune to end the concert with.”

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