Portsmouth Pro Musica will present two holiday concerts on the Seacoast during the second weekend of December with special guests, the Sandpipers Seacoast Children’s Chorus.
Benjamin Britten’s beloved composition, A Ceremony of Carols, will be performed by the 50-member Portsmouth Pro Musica chorus and the Sandpipers Children’s Chorus with organ accompaniment by Robert Littlefield, harp accompaniment by internationally known musician Sorana Scarlat, and treble boy solo by Ms. Scarlat’s 11 year old son, Alec Scarlat.
In addition to the featured piece, a number of seasonal selections will be sung by both choirs.
“I chose Britten’s 1942 masterpiece, A Ceremony of Carols, for this year’s holiday concerts because it was originally composed for boy choir and is often performed today by an accomplished children’s choir,” said Priscilla Stevens French, Artistic Director of Portsmouth Pro Musica and the Sandpipers Chorus. “In 1943, Britten himself created a version for adult mixed voices. Thinking of how to combine both youth and adult choirs that I direct, I realized that the Britten piece would be the perfect collaborative work!”
Britten’s inspiration to write this composition was a book of medieval poems he found in Nova Scotia on his way home to England at the end of World War II. He framed the music around a processional and recessional chant based on the Gregorian antiphon, “Hodie Christus natus est.” A harp solo and other motifs were later added to unify the composition that has now been performed all over the world.
The first concert will be held on Friday, December 8 at 7:30 pm at St. Mary’s Church at 25 Third Street in Dover and the second performance will take place on Sunday, December 10 at 3 pm at North Church, located at 2 Congress Street in Portsmouth’s Market Square.
About guest soloist Sorana Scarlat
A native of Romania, Sorana A. Scarlat, nationally and internationally known harpist, began a distinguished career at age eighteen. Sorana started playing the harp in Bucharest at age nine and has studied with world famous harpists from Romania, Hungary, Belgium and Italy. She appeared at the Fifth & Sixth World Harp Congress in Denmark & USA. She also performed as a soloist in recitals, concerts and chamber ensembles. She is a prizewinner of the Bucharest Music Competition, and Romanian Music Interpretation Contest. She was appointed principal harpist with Ploiesti Philharmonic Orchestra, Romania and she spent several years playing with National Philharmonic Orchestra and National Radio Orchestra in Bucharest, Romania.
Sorana presently lives in New Hampshire where she is freelancing and teaching. She also performs solo and with various orchestras in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New York.
Advance tickets for both Portsmouth Pro Musica concerts are priced at $12 for general admission and $10 for seniors/students. Tickets will also be available at the door for $15 general admission and $12 seniors/students. Concert tickets may also be purchased at The Flower Kiosk, 61 Market St., Portsmouth; Philbrick’s Fresh Market, 775 Lafayette Road, Portsmouth; and Water Street Bookstore, 125 Water St., Exeter.
Advance tickets can also be purchased from chorus members and online at PortsmouthProMusica.org.
IMAGE: Harpist Sorana Scarlat and her 11 year old son Alec will perform with Portsmouth Pro Musica on December 8 in Dover and December 10 in Portsmouth.