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Art Beat: Gwinnett music groups offer holiday concerts

Holley Calmes

Holley Calmes

Two of the area's arts organizations will offer a musical prelude to the holidays with several concerts in Gwinnett and beyond.

The Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will present the "Masterworks II" concert Tuesday at the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center, followed by a "Messiah" sing-along Dec. 12 at Epiphany Lutheran Church.

The Gwinnett Young Singers will be busy over the coming weeks with concerts both in Gwinnett and downtown Atlanta.

A musical feast including works by Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff, Handel and Williams will constitute the Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra's "Masterworks II" concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Pianist Huu Mai will perform Rachmaninoff's celebrated Piano Concerto No. 2. This musician's phenomenal technique is sure to extract the most acoustically pleasing sound from the Gwinnett Performing Arts Center's nine-foot concert grand Steinway piano.

This concert will also offer Shostakovich's "Festival Overture," plus William's "Three Holiday Songs from 'Home Alone.'" Handel's "Messiah -- Christmas Portion" will feature soloists Jennifer Coker, soprano Elaine Wade, soprano, Clarke Harris, countertenor, William Scott Mize, tenor, Bart Gilleland, bass, and Ed Weaver, organist and harpsichordist. Tickets are $15 and $22 and are available from Ticketmaster or at the Gwinnett Center Box Office.

The GSO will then take the "Messiah" to Epiphany Lutheran Church at 7 p.m. Dec. 12, using the same soloists. The church is at 1350 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. in Suwanee. The GSO invites everyone attending to sing along, and scores will be available at the door for $10. Or, patrons can just sit back and enjoy this otherwise free concert.

The award-winning Gwinnett Young Singers will have a busy holiday season with seven concerts planned from today through Dec. 12. First will be a holiday Christmas concert at 8 p.m. today at Christ the King Lutheran Church, 5575 Peachtree Parkway in Norcross. Tickets are $5 per person and are available at the door. This concert will include all of the GYS choirs and the Georgia Young Men's Ensemble.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Georgia Young Men's Ensemble will participate with the Gwinnett Choral Guild in the "Christmas by Candlelight" at 7 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Buford First United Methodist Church. Ticket information is available online at www.gwinnettchoralguild.org.

The GYS will once again celebrate "Christmas with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra" at 8 p.m. Thursday and Dec. 11 and at 2 and 8 p.m. Dec. 12 at the Woodruff Art Center's Symphony Hall. They will be joined by the ASO Chorus and the Morehouse College Glee Club. For ticket information, visit www.atlantasymphony.org.

For more information on the Gwinnett Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, visit www.gwinnettsymphony.org. For more information on the Gwinnett Young Singers, visit www.gwinnettyoungsingers.com.

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