Review: The Choral Arts Society of Washington’s ‘A Choral Arts Christmas’ at The Kennedy Center

I love choral music. I love the Kennedy Center Concert Hall. I’ve been looking forward to this performance. Everything musical was wonderful during the evening. Even as the doors opened, a small brass choir accompanied the nearly packed house while we settled in.

Conductor Scott Tucker. Photo courtesy of The Choral Arts Society of Washington.

Conductor Scott Tucker informed us that A Choral Arts Christmas was highlighting music from Switzerland honoring its annual patron – His Excellency the Ambassador of Switzerland Martin Dahinden and Mrs. Anita Dahinden. The combined Choral Arts Chorus and Choral Arts Chamber singers (over 200 voices) delighted us to selections in four languages.  At times I felt as though we were seated in a massive cathedral enveloped by ancient angelic voices.”Tu Scendi Dalle Stelle” by St. Alfonso Liguori, “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” by Frank Martin, and “Ave Maria” by Frank Biebl were indeed heavenly and deeply inspirational.

Ralph Alan Herndon. Photo courtesy of The Choral Arts Society of Washington.

But, when native Washingtonian Ralph Alan Herndon played and sang at his gleaming grand piano, I would suggest that over 1,500 very fortunate audience members celebrated in full on Gospel exuberance. Hands waved, voices were raised, and we danced to “Jesus, the Light of the World” by George Elderkin, “Let it Rise” by Holland Davis, “Give me a Star” by Edwin Hawkins and the African American Spiritual “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” This man can move an audience! I hear Mr. Henderson will be featured at the Living the Dream…Singing the Dream performance on February 19, 2017, and I highly recommend attending.

The overall sense of Christmas magic was in full force as we filed out following a rousing encore by Mr. Herndon playing an African American Christmas Gospel song “Oh What A Pretty Little Baby.” WOW!

Running Time: 90 minutes, with no intermission. 

The Choral Arts Society of Washington’s A Choral Arts Christmas  will perform again on December 19 and 24, 2016, at The Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall – 2700 F Street, NW, in Washington, DC. For tickets, call the box office at (202) 467-4600, or Toll-Free: (800) 444-1324, or online.


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