RWU chorus performs at Saint Mary’s Church

April Federico, Features Editor

The RWU Chorus joined the Bristol County Chorus for their thirty-seventh annual Christmas concert on Sunday, Dec. 3. While the concert occurs on a yearly basis, this is RWU’s first time singing with the Bristol County Chorus. 

The choruses were accompanied by the Many Moods of Christmas Orchestra. It was a glorious mix of altos, sopranos, tenors, and baritones. Their programs consisted of songs such as “And the Glory of the Lord” by Georg Frideric Handel, “Fantasia on Christmas Carols” by Ralph Vaughan Williams (as sung by Vaughn Bryner, an adjunct professor at RWU of voice and piano), and “Hallelujah Chorus (Messiah)” by Georg Frideric Handel, to name a few. The song, “The Vespers, the Star, the Light of Love!” was commissioned specifically for this concert. 

“Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson was performed by the orchestra and was strikingly accurate in terms of sound effects. “The Many Moods of Christmas” arranged by Robert Shaw/Robert Russel Bennett was a medley of Christmas carols such as “The First Noel” and “Deck the Halls.” Conductor and Director of the Chorus, Dr. Jonathan Richter even joined the two choruses in the back row for a song while special guest conductor Joan Doyle Roth conducted a song. Even former members of the Bristol County Chorus came up to sing along with the choruses as they sung “Hallelujah Chorus (Messiah).”

It was a packed house with great acoustics, and parking was scarce, with blocks around the church lined up with cars. Saint Mary’s Church is a real attraction in Bristol because of all of its elaborate stained glass.

It was a great way to kick off the holiday season, especially with the large community turnout. 

According to club president senior Marissa Papapietro, “It was a pleasure singing with the Bristol County Chorus.” 

“In general, the chorus sings all kinds of music,” Papapietro said of her group. “Our director Jonathan Richter likes to choose themes for each semester, including show tunes and international music. Last night’s concert incorporated many classical works from the 18th century. We also sing songs in Latin, Norwegian, Russian, and Swahili, to name a few.”

She continued, “My favorite thing about being a part of the chorus is the sound of everyone’s different voices coming together to create something beautiful. I can’t help but smile when we are first rehearsing a beautiful song. It’s also very rewarding to perform for the community and to get everyone in the holiday spirit!”