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Arts & Culture

San Antonio Chamber Choir 'Gets Jazzy' For Holidays

The San Antonio Chamber Choir's Christmas concert is taking a decidedly different tack this season. The choir’s artistic director Rick Bjella said this year the holiday music will have a very "jazzy" twist.

 

“I think it's probably a first that a choir has decided to take in a jazz trio — the Jazz Protagonists, with Barry Brake and company — as part of a Christmas concert,” he said.

Bjella is calling the two-venue event "The Mystery of Christmas."

"The joy of this concert and the mystery of this concert is the combination of a thousand years of choral music, a hundred years of jazz, and the idea of improvisation on both parts," Bjella said.

IF YOU GO What: San Antonio Chamber Choir’s Christmas Concert Where: McNay Art Museum’s Leeper Auditorium, and the Tobin Center’s Carlos Alvarez Theater When:  7:30 p.m., Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday Cost: starting at $15 for both venues

 

Choral music isn’t known to have a lot of improvisation, but Bjella said the singers are having a gas doing it.

"Oh, they love it. The eclectic approach that broadens not only the individual singer, but it broadens our audience to think about all the best of what can happen in many different styles," he said.

He described the performances as eclectic but without leaving tradition behind.

"Oh yeah, there are lots of traditional things. We do have the Clark High School choir (that) is going to be featured,” he said. “We also have the (Northeast School of Arts) Dancers that are going to dance to the Jazz Protagonists setting of 'Jingle Bells.' "

Other songs featured include: “The First Noel”, The Holly and the Ivy,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,”We Wish You A Merry Christmas,”  all with a little Jazz twist, Bjella said.

“And the jazz trio's actually doing their own set of music as well," he added.

The San Antonio Chamber Choir and guests perform Saturday night at the McNay Art Museum's Leeper Auditorium, and Sunday afternoon at the Tobin Center's Carlos Alvarez Theater.  

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org