In case you missed it: Yale Schola Cantorum Christmas concert

December 19, 2023

Yale’s Schola Cantorum brought holiday cheer to Woolsey Hall on December 8 with a concert of British and American seasonal carols. David Hill, Schola Cantorum’s conductor, selected a dozen arrangements from Oxford’s Carols for Choirs 6, the latest volume in a series begun in 1961. Schola Cantorum deftly and expressively portrayed the affect of each carol. Watch the concert recording here.

Yale composers are abundantly represented in Carols for Choirs 6. The concert featured contributions by recent School of Music graduates Margaret Burk M.M. ’19, Reena Esmail M.M. ’11, M.M.A. ’14, D.M.A. ‘18, Tawnie Olson, M.M. ’99, A.D. ’00, Caroline Shaw M.M. ’07, Mus.D. ’22, and Joel Thompson M.M.A. ‘20, D.M.A. ‘2026. Their compositions ranged from peppy to lilting to tender; all were ingeniously crafted.

The program was augmented by John Rutter’s Gloria, a festive work for chorus, brass, and percussion. Soloists Juliet Papadopoulos, Ellen Robertson, and Sandy Sharis provided graceful contrast with the full chorus. The brass ensemble offered an interlude of Gabrieli: Canzon V, an antiphonal work with consonant chords that resonated throughout Woolsey Hall. Organist Ethan Haman supplied decorative versions of two familiar carols, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel and O Come, All Ye Faithful. Haman is a staff organist familiar with the Newberry Organ, and he was able to give the audience a sample of this massive instrument’s capabilities.

David Hill began and ended the concert by inviting the audience to sing O Come, All Ye Faithful and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing. The brief sing-along at the conclusion of a joyful concert left concertgoers humming as they exited the hall.

—By Laurie Ongley