This weekend features two unique concerts nearby with local talent.

Brandon Festival Singers Holiday Show

Every year the show is a little different, even after 38 years.

The Brandon Festival Singers, under the direction of Gene Childers and accompanied by his wife, Jean Childers, on piano, will present their annual Carol Festival at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Brandon Congregational Church, 1 Carver St. Each year the concert features a wide variety of Christmas choral arrangements of traditional, contemporary and original music, including some of Gene Childers’ original music.

“It’s something that I enjoy doing and I am pretty careful to give a good mix of styles,” Gene Childers said about how he chooses the music for the program. “I like to find unusual arrangements if I can.

“This year we have several jazzy pieces, a couple with Celtic flavor, some Spanish tunes and one that’s new to the group,” Childers said. “It’s in Latin and it’s called ‘Ecce Novum.’ I’m looking forward to the reaction people might have to that piece.”

Gene and Jean Childers were high school sweethearts and met through a jazz band they both played in. Jean is the organist at the church and he’s the choir director. These concerts grew out of their taking over those positions 38 years ago.

The group has had singers from all over Rutland and Addison counties — some 275 different people over the years, including many family-connected participants.

This year’s 25-voice choir will feature Joshua Collier, tenor; Olya Hopkins, violin; Julia Murach, flute, and two family singing groups.

“We’re really good for families,” Gene Childers said.

Castleton chorale & Chamber Singers concert

“All of my concerts are a mix of music,” said Castleton University Director of Choral Activities and Music Department Chairwoman Sherrill Blodget.

In the Castleton chorale & Chamber Singers concert, the chorale will be performing Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” and the chamber singers will perform an a cappella set.

“So it mixes up the texture of the music that you’re hearing,” Blodget said. “We’re finishing with four African pieces accompanied by African percussion and dance.”

It’s not a Christmas concert per se, but there is a mix of sacred and secular, some church music and some not. The show is called “Vivaldi, Africa and More.”

Blodget talked recently about the concert, coming up at 7 p.m. Friday at the Casella Theater, explaining that the chamber singers are an auditioned group, smaller than the chorale.

“The chorale has 50 singers this semester,” Blodget said. “It’s open to anyone across campus including faculty and community members.

“It’s fun,” she said. “Trying to expose the singers and audiences to a wide variety.”

She chooses music from different languages and cultures, “masterworks and contemporary pieces.”

“It’s very uplifting,” she said of the program. “The Vivaldi ‘Gloria’ is a piece most people have heard at least some of. But it’s beautiful, uplifting, Baroque music that everybody should hear at some point. The African music is also very upbeat and uplifting, which is what we’re going for with this concert.”

Tickets are $10; $5 for alumni, seniors and children.

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