Festival Chorale to present Christmas Concert Dec. 22
, 2014

Festival Chorale to present
Christmas Concert Dec. 22

The Festival Chorale will present its annual Christmas concert at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, December 22, at Festival Halle, 177 Main Street, Reedville.

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Elves Nathan Moore, Dan Hickey and Jim Leach rehearse with director Sharon Freude for the annual Festival Chorale Christmas concert.

Contributions will be accepted for an area food bank, expenses of the concert and Reedville Fishermen’s Museum. A reception will follow the concert. 

Organized over five years ago, the chorale has presented 11 semiannual concerts and is more than 30 voices strong.

“It seemed  like a good idea at the time,” said director Sharon Freude, “I had just retired from my full-time work as a church organist/choirmaster in Richmond when Sonny Harper suggested starting a community chorus. So I thought I’d give it a try. “

It didn’t take long to round up a group of people who love to sing, and the Festival Chorale was born.  Singers come from all over the Northern Neck and many of them sing in other area choruses and church choirs. 

“Our years together have made it possible for us to present a varied program, including a selection from the Messiah and a rendition of the Drifters’ pop version of “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” which will feature Carole Fletcher, Dan Hickey, Jim Leach and Nathan Moore. Mason Mills will play the string bass. 

The chorale will be divided into two groups to sing “Ave Maria” by Franz Biebl. A small group within the chorale comprises one of the groups and includes soloists Robert Gwaltney and David Hughes, with Barbara Watson, Gayle Werling, Suzy Amburn, Rita Johnson and John Trescott.  The entire chorale  will accompany Jeanne Hickey in “Sweet Little Jesus Boy.”

“We are so fortunate that Carina Harrison has accompanied us from the beginning,” said Freude.  “Carina’s talent and dedication is a vital part of our success.”  

In addition, Jessica Guy-Haynie, flautist, will be featured with several selections, and William and Matthew Mills will join with maracas. Other members of the chorale are Carol Cole, Walter Gillions, Lien Groenwold, Jim Groff, Courtney Harrison, Nan Hauprich, Carolyn Hennige, Paul Kimball, Bill Kling, Beverly Lowe, Marianne Miller, Tom Miller, Marguerite Slaughter, Susan Tipton, Carol Towne, Kathie Truxall, Kathie Vine, Gayle Werling and Hal White.

The traditional sing-along of a few carols will close out the concert. 

Freude and her husband, Ken, who sings bass with the chorale, live in Richmond and have a second home in Reedville. As concert time approaches, they commute for rehearsals. Chorale members marvel at her continued donations of time and talent.

“That’s one of the things that makes this so much fun,” said Marianne Miller, who has been with the group since its inception. 

Freude has a master’s in music. She sings with the Richmond Symphony Chorus, serves on the board of the James River Ringers and substitutes for organists at various churches in Richmond and the Northern Neck. 

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