Atlanta Sacred Chorale will offer holiday concert in Gwinnett

The Gwinnett Philharmonic Association has invited one of Atlanta's most treasured musical organizations to lift the spirits of area audiences this holiday season.

"Christmas with the Atlanta Sacred Chorale" will be presented at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Performing Arts Center at Gwinnett Center. The program will feature a number of classic Christmas favorites, plus special renditions of choral music arranged by the chorale's renowned conductor, Dr. Eric Nelson.

Atlanta Sacred Chorale has been acclaimed for having a "transcendent sound." It is a nondenominational community chorus, and its singers are selected by an audition process. The singers consist of both professional musicians and gifted amateurs, all of whom follow the group's mission of "Lifting the spirit through choral artistry."

The Atlanta Sacred Chorale performs 10 to 12 concerts each year in the Atlanta area and throughout the Southeast. Annual concerts include a performance as part of the Georgia Artists Series in Spivey Hall, and the group's Season Finale, performed in the Schwartz Center at Emory University in Atlanta.

The chorale also hosts the annual Emory Community Choral Festival at the Schwartz Center, a unique event that features the chorale and three other metro Atlanta community choruses in a single night's performance.

Atlanta Sacred Chorale has also performed by invitation for many special concerts, including 15 consecutive years at the Choral Artists Series of the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, at Carnegie Hall, and at conventions of the American Choral Directors Association and the Music Educators National Conference.

Tuesday's program will offer listeners a chance to hear beautiful seasonal music that is also a bit more sophisticated than the slate of carols sung every year. A rousing rendition of "Deck the Halls" arranged by John Rutter will be featured, as well as "Christmas Day" by composer Gustav Holst.

Conductor Nelson's arrangement of "Processional on Joy to the World" should be a highlight, as well "A La Nanita Nana" arranged by Roger Folstrom and "Climb to the Top of the Highest Mountain" by Carolyn Jennings.

Other offerings will include arrangements of "Angels We Have Heard on High," "Silent Night," "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling," and "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming."

Tickets are $28 for adults, $24 for seniors and $12 for students. Philharmonic Association members and groups are eligible for special pricing. Tickets can be purchased from any Ticketmaster location, by calling Ticketmaster at 404-249-6400, or by visiting the Gwinnett Center Box Office at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Arena at Gwinnett Center building.

For more information about the Gwinnett Philharmonic, call 770-418-1115 or visit www.gwinnettphilharmonic.org. For more information about the Atlanta Sacred Chorale and their activities, visit www.atlantasacredchorale.org.

Holley Calmes is a freelance writer and public relations consultant specializing in the arts. E-mail hcalmes@mindspring.com.