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Comfort and Joy 

"Deck the Hall" with the Colorado Springs Chorale

In the beginning was the voice, and the voice was with song.

Long before the guitar, the sitar, the flute or the lute was the human voice, the "original instrument." For thousands of years, humans have told their stories, entreated their gods, rallied their causes and soothed their souls with song. Be it rap or opera, the power of the human voice to elicit emotional response remains indisputable.

As we approach our first post-invasion Christmas, we hope to find in the holiday season the comfort we seek, the deliverance from whatever malaise we feel. We hearken to a time when the world was at peace, and good will ruled men and nations. We long for a force to bring us together in one voice.

Such a balm might very well be found in "Deck the Hall," an annual presentation of the Colorado Springs Chorale, designed this year specifically to present "nostalgic melodies, reflective of happier and simpler times past, a selection that families can gather 'round and snuggle up to for comfort and inspiration."

"We've worked hard to create a special program which brings families together and recalls earlier times," said Chorale conductor Don Jenkins. "We've tried to strike a balance between being spiritual and entertaining, wrapping the huge spiritual message of the season in a non-sectarian package."

The concert program tells the story of a Christmas Eve of yore. A family gathers around the tree for devotion. Soon, carolers visit, and all join in for a sing-along. Later our family heads out in the snow to a concert of sacred music, only to return home for a visit from Santa himself. Finally, tired from the day's events and anticipating the bounty of Christmas Day, our family sings a fond good night.

The 120-voice chorale is joined in this concert by pianist Carol Wilson, organist Ed Ladouceur, and the young adult Summit Ensemble of the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale. In addition, there will be a reading by Michelle Hammerton from Stories for Christmas by Allison Uttley, and an intermission visit from Santa.

Concert offerings will include fresh arrangements of Christmas standards, audience sing-alongs, and selections from Vivaldi's "Gloria." For variety and a bit of nostalgia, there will be a trip back to the '50s and '60s via Steve Allen's "Cool Yule," and Kirby Shaw's "Rock 'N' Roll Reindeer."

As part of the Chorale's community outreach program, an encore concert will be held in Cripple Creek on Saturday, Dec. 15, a benefit for the Cripple Creek and Victor High School's Music Department,

Perhaps not for 60 years have we as a culture needed more from a holiday season. We crave the comfort and joy wrapped up in the message of the season. If world peace begins with peace of mind, then the road to personal catharsis might begin in something as pure and noble as a concert celebrating the birth of a miracle through the community of song.

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