A Celtic Christmas
MEREDITH HALL, soprano
STEVE PLAYER, dancer/ guitar
TINA BERGMANN, Hammered dulcimer
JEANNETTE SORRELL, conducting
In collaboration with ENSEMBLE LA NEF of Montréal
Sylvain Bergeron, artistic director
Remember back to the very best Christmas holiday choir that you have ever heard, and then remember the very best holiday orchestra you have ever listened to. Think about a holiday performance that actually moved you to the core. Once these choices are established in your mind, go to an Apollo’s Fire “Sacrum Mysterium” concert and see how the rest pale in comparison.
“Sacrum Mysterium” (Sacred Mystery – A Celtic Christmas) is a collection of ancient songs, compositions and dances performed in the original style. The lyrics are in Latin, Gaelic and Middle English (same as Shakespeare wrote in) as well as modern English. The foreign and foreign sounding pieces have English translations printed in the program to allow you to follow along.
What Jeannette Sorrell has assembled as singers is an extraordinary choir of sixteen members along with soloists Meredith Hall, soprano, Amanda Powell, soprano and Jeffrey Strauss, baritone. The instrumental ensemble includes 7 Apollo’s Fire musicians and 5 La Nef players, including Violins, Viola, Harpsichord, Viola de Gamba, Tara Harp, Lute, Baroque Guitar, Drum, Bodhran, Uilleann Pipes and Flutes as well as a percussion section of ancient appliances. Together they combine for an evening of the sweetest sounds that your ears are likely to hear during this holiday season.
If you are like me, you probably wince from sensory “Holly-Jolly” overload that is being blasted at us everywhere we travel. I assure you that this concert is so unique, so beautiful and so in keeping with the sacredness of the season as we celebrate the birth of our dear Savior, Jesus Christ. In a society that has tried to mask the true meaning of Christmas with words like “Holiday Celebration” and “Holiday Tree” it is refreshing to find those with the courage to worship with song what the rest of us so long to hear.
Is this like going to church? Well, to tell the truth, all of the performances are performed in churches but that is where the resemblance stops. Yes, there are works sung in Latin that will have you swearing that you can smell incense but interspersed with those are some lively Celtic tunes complete with energetic dances courtesy of Steven Player (Dancer and Baroque Guitar). Concert Master Olivier Brault joins in with some impressive high stepping of his own and Jeannette Sorrell joins Steven for a lively turn of the shoe. Balancing out the performance are songs of worship and adoration to the Christ Child and are done so beautifully that it fills you up with the true feeling of Christmas. In short, it is a concert that has something for everyone.
There will be four more performances of “Sacrum Mysterium” this year in the Cleveland area. Find a performance near you and hurry to buy your ticket. These shows usually sell out very quickly and it would be a shame for you to miss something this lovely and inspiring. In case you do not believe me as to the beauty of this performance, check out the video that accompanies this review.
If for some reason you are unable to experience a live performance, do not despair. The entire concert has been recorded on CD and is available online at www.apollosfire.org.
TICKETS starting at $26 are available through the Apollo’s Fire box office at
(216) 320-0012 or (800) 314-2535, or online at www.apollosfire.org.
Student, senior, young adult, and group discounts are available.
Student tickets are free in Akron made possible by the GAR Foundation.
PRE-CONCERT TALKS: Join the large and lively crowd who come for this popular series of talks, one hour before each performance. Talks are sponsored by the Friends of Apollo’s Fire.
Local concerts will be held as follows
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Bath Church, UCC
3980 West Bath Road
Bath, OH 44333
Thursday December 5, 2013
2230 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115
Saturday, December 7, 2013
First Baptist Church
3630 Fairmount Boulevard
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118
Sunday, December 8, 2013
St. Noel Church
35200 Chardon Road
Willoughby Hills, Ohio