Concert blends sound of Annapolis Brass, Welsh Choir


ST. JOHN'S Huntingdon Episcopal Church, some of its windows partly boarded up for repairs, was the fine setting Wednesday night of an inspired Christmas concert that melded brass, voice, organ and, finally, church bell as listeners departed into the night.

One moment the Annapolis Brass Quintet played a bright pair of songs (canzone) by a 17th century German composer, Samuel Scheidt -- a fast "Gallicam" and a varied tempo "Bergamasca" climaxing in a trumpet flourish.

The next moment, Donald W. King guided his Rehoboth Welsh Choir of Delta, Pa., in singing Gustav Holst's "In the Bleak Midwinter" and a traditional Welsh Christmas carol, "O! Deued Pob Cristion." It was not English but Welsh sung to soft, tranquil melodies easily evoking the season's spirit.

Soon, the complementary sounds of brass and voice merged for two chorales from Bach's "The Christmas Oratorio," "Ah! Dearest Jesus" and "Jesus, Who Didst Ever Guide."

For their joint appearance, the groups played and sang separately and together more than 30 carols, dances, chorales, pop tunes and the concluding "Hallelujah Chorus" at the church, at Greenmount Avenue and Old York Road. The full house, which donated funds for the church's organ and windows, applauded freely.

The Brass Quintet has moved from Annapolis, making its home in an adjoining church basement. The five members "are part of our church family now," the Rev. R. Douglas Pitt said in his welcome. The players are Sharon Tiebert-Porter, horn and first woman member of the group; two founding fathers, David Cran, trumpet, and Robert Posten, bass trombone; Wayne Wells, trombone, and Robert Suggs, trumpet.

The Welsh Choir was organized in 1984 and is sponsored by the Rehoboth Capel Cymraeg (Rehoboth Welsh Chapel) in Delta, an area settled by Welsh miners. Singers live in Baltimore and other areas and perform in Maryland and Pennsylvania. King is choirmaster and organist at St. John's. Organist Rodney K. Hansen accompanied the choir.

One especially dramatic Quintet offering came from Spain. A Catalan folk tune, "The Song of the Birds," was played with a slow melancholy line before a bright ornamental trill at the end.

For more "Messiahs" than the "Hallelujah Chorus," there are six in the next eight days:

The Handel Choir performs at 7:30 p.m. tonight at St. Mark Church, Catonsville; at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Second Presbyterian Church; at 4 p.m. Sunday at St. Joseph's Church, Cockeysville and at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18, at Kraushaar Auditorium, Goucher College. Call 366-6544 for details.

The BSO and Chorus performs the complete version at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19, and Saturday, Dec. 22, at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Call 783-8000.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad