OLD FORGE — The annual Adirondack Community Chorus Christmas concert will continue this year, but in a virtual format.
For over 40 years, the Adirondack Community Chorus, under the direction of Peg Nuspliger, has presented a Christmas concert with sacred hymns and beloved carols for residents of the area. This year, due to the pandemic, the virtual offering, “A Child is Born,” was filmed at Niccolls Memorial Presbyterian Church in Old Forge.
The concert is available now through Jan. 1, by searching Adirondack Community Chorus on YouTube, or at tinyurl.com/ACC1115.
Also, the concert will be broadcast in its entirety on WBRV-FM 101.3 in Boonville from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday along with the “Son of God,” Christmas concert recorded by a small group of chorus members in 2019.
Narrator Michael Ferris threads the musical performances together with a Biblical passage that tells the story of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:1 KJV), and also serves as a soloist on the opening carol: “O Holy Night.”
Other soloists include Wendy Hoskins (“O Little Town of Bethlehem”), Todd Galarneau (“Birthday of a King”), Alicia Ross, Dylan Youngs and Brian Johnston (“What Child is This”), Miyako Schanley (“Silent Night”), Megan O’Brien (“All is Well”), and Terry Marcy (“Bright Star Shining”).
Director Nuspliger accompanies all of the songs on the grand piano.
To honor their heritage, two of the hymns are presented partially in English and partially in their language of origin. The original text of “O Come All Ye Faithful” has been attributed to various groups and individuals, but it is most commonly believed that it was written by Cistercian monks. In modern English hymnals, the text is usually credited to John Francis Wade, who lived in exile in France and made a living as a copyist of musical manuscripts he found in libraries. Wade’s published version consisted of four Latin verses, and so the chorus presents “O Come All Ye Faithful” in English and in Latin.
Though it has been Translated into at least 300 languages, and arranged in dozens of different musical styles, from heavy metal to gospel, the chorus presents “Silent Night” in English and German, in keeping with its humble origin. The song’s lyrics were originally written in German just after the end of the Napoleonic Wars by a young Austrian priest named Joseph Mohr. In 1816 Mohr’s congregation was poverty-stricken, starving, and traumatized by the wars, and by a year of catastrophic cold historically known as “the year without summer.” Mohr wrote six poetic verses to give hope that there was still a God who cared. Mohr asked his friend Franz Xaver Gruber, a local schoolteacher and organist, to set the verses to music.
On Christmas Eve in 1818 they sang “Silent Night” together for the first time in front of Mohr’s congregation, and Mohr accompanied his friend on guitar. The concert closes jubilantly, as always, with “Joy to the World” and a wish for a blessed Christmas and a healthy 2021 from the Adirondack Community Chorus.