The annual ritual of shopping, eating and listening to holiday treats is upon us once again. And what better to enjoy this time of year than heading to Symphony Center in December. Welcome Yule! will return this season featuring members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as the 145-voice Chicago Symphony Chorus, dancers, children’s ensembles and colorful character in eight performances running December 14 through December 23.
In addition, on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 4 and 5, the a cappella men’s chorus Chanticleer returns to Fourth Presbyterian Church to present “A Chanticleer Christmas.”
The famous author Charles Dickens, who celebrates his bicentennial in 2012, is the inspiration for this year’s Welcome Yule! program. On the first half of the concert, traditional carols and songs from the Victorian period that Dickens himself would have heard and sung are performed by the peerless Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Chorus and brought to life through the Welcome Yule! Dance Ensemble. Audiences will enjoy such yuletide classics as “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen,” “What Child is This?” and “Angels We Have Heard on High.”
In Act 2, the Welcome Yule! Children’s Ensembles, Midwest Young Artists Voices Rising and the CSO’s very own Percussion Scholarship Group, join the onstage merriment bringing their voices and award-winning percussive prowess to a story that features one of Charles Dickens’ classic characters, portrayed by award-winning Chicago actor Ross Lehman, a frequent presence on stage at the Goodman Theatre and Chicago Shakespeare Theater. This half of the program features joyous Christmas favorites including “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “Sleigh Ride,” “March of the Toys,” the CSO’s very own carol and perennial Welcome Yule! favorite “Christmas in Chicago,” as well as two all-new holiday songs from Gary Fry, the composer of “Christmas in Chicago.”
As an extra Christmas treat, before each performance and during intermissions, choirs from local schools and community ensembles will entertain concertgoers with musical interludes throughout the lobby spaces of Symphony Center. Patrons will also be able to enjoy a holiday cookie on their way home from the concert courtesy of a donation by Oak State Products.
Symphony Center Presents is proud to welcome back CHANTICLEER for its 12th annual performances of “A Chanticleer Christmas” on Tuesday, December 4, and Wednesday, December 5, both at 7:30 p.m., at the elegant Fourth Presbyterian Church on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile (126 E. Chestnut St.).
Based in San Francisco and founded in 1978, the 12-voice male a cappella ensemble has developed a remarkable reputation as “an orchestra of voices.” The ensemble celebrates its 35th anniversary this season, and their annual Christmas program features traditional carols, revered sacred works and delightful holiday favorites.
The recipient of multiple Grammy Awards and undeniably one of the world’s foremost choruses, Chanticleer was named 2008 Ensemble of the Year by Musical America, the first time a vocal ensemble has been so recognized. Chanticleer also has recently released Our Favorite Carols, a new collection of holiday favorites.
For concert times and tickets, visit www.cso.org for more information.