One of the most reliable indicators of the Christmas season is concerts of holiday music, and one of the most reliable musical heralds — in this area, at least — is the Schola Cantorum of Texas.
On Sunday afternoon the Schola presented its usual choral salute to the season with a program in the sanctuary of White’s Chapel United Methodist Church in Southlake. The program will be repeated at 7:30 p.m. Monday in Fort Worth’s Arborlawn United Methodist Church.
The Schola Cantorum occasionally invites guest ensembles to participate in its programs. Such was the case on Sunday afternoon. The guest was the a cappella choir of Hurst-Euless-Bedford’s L.D. Bell High School.
My reaction was: Wow, what a phenomenal group of kids! Under the direction of JoAnn Antinone, the choir gave a performance that was amazing for its discipline, subtlety and beauty of tone. Their moving performance of Eric Whitacre’s Lux Aurumque was the single high point of the afternoon for me, though their singing of Volckmar Leisring’s O Filii et Filliae was close behind.
The Schola Cantorum offered its own Yule gifts. Under the direction of Jerry McCoy and Robert Ward, with assistance from pianist Alan Buratto, the chorus presented a varied program that mixed traditional Christmas songs such as Angels We Have Heard on High and Silent Night with more highbrow seasonal songs such as In the Bleak Midwinter and others in a near-pop vein.
Several audience singalongs (in Angels We Have Heard on High, Silver Bells and Silent Night) added to the festive air of a festively decorated church. Silent Night was accompanied solely by guitar, as was the original by Franz Gruber in 1818. Sunday’s guitarist was John Schueler.