Every seat was filled for the New River Voices Choral Society debut concert Dec. 22 at the Salvation Army Worship Center in Christiansburg.
The hour-long program, directed by Anthony Woodyard and accompanied by pianists Daniel Taylor and Benjamin Slaughter, presented a diverse range of cultural and traditional holiday, hymnals and Christmas music.
The concert opened with a piano duet by Slaughter and Taylor during the prelude and processional of “Ding-Dong Merrily on High” by Mark Hayes, and “O Sanctissima”, which is a prayer to the blessed Virgin Mary. The audience then rose to the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Director Woodyard produced rich baritone sounds in his solo performance of “Oh Holy Night” with Taylor accompanying on the piano.
The audience was often included in the form of a sing-along with both traditional and fun Christmas carols such as “Frosty the Snowman,” “Joy to the World” and “Jingle Bells.”
Many diverse spiritual hymns were beautifully performed by the group as well. Especially highlighting the mixes of deep bass, alto, tenor, and soprano sections of the choral group was the recital of the Latin song “Adoramus Te”, scored by Andy Beck. The layering of the harmonic sounds provided a rich production that resonated throughout the audience, creating a relaxing and warm atmosphere.
Additional talented productions came from bass trombonist Carrie Hibbert and euphonium player Benjamin Slaughter who performed a duet instrumental rendition of “In the Bleak Midwinter”. Ken Owens solo performance of “Mary, Did you Know?” was a favorite of the evening as well.
Soprano BreAnna Martin thrilled the audience with the last solo of the evening accompanied by Slaughter on the piano. Her rendition of “Ave Maria” was brilliantly produced and revealed precision in her vocal range and talent.
The full concert can be viewed on the New River Voices Choral Society Facebook page. The group was formed over the 2023 summer and encourages anyone that loves to sing to join their group. Before presenting their last hymn of the evening, Woodyard invited others to come out to future practice times.
“We would like you to join us, if you feel so inclined, we have a lot of fun. We practice on Monday nights from 7 to 8:30,” Woodyard said.
Following the conclusion of the program, all audience members were invited to refreshments of hot cocoa and desserts in the downstairs reception area of the worship center.
Supporters can follow the group on their Facebook page as well and donations are accepted to help the group as they continue to grow and access new performance materials.