Holiday concert Friday in Oak Ridge

Harold DuckettOur Town Arts

The Oak Ridge Civic Music Association presents its holiday season concert this Friday, Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 1350 Oak Ridge Turnpike, in Oak Ridge.

The concert will feature the Oak Ridge Chorus, led by director Jaclyn Johnson. The Chorus will be joined by the University of Tennessee Concert Choir and members of the Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra.

Under the direction of Johnson, the program will be more challenging music than the Oak Ridge Chorus has performed in recent seasons.

“I am thrilled for upcoming joint concert,” said Johnson. “This is the Oak Ridge Chorus as you have not heard them in years!”

Jaclyn Johnson

Included on the program will be British composer Vaughan Williams’ 1912 work for baritone, chorus and orchestra, “Fantasia on Christmas Carols.”

The four main English carols in the piece, well known in American Christmas traditions, are “The Truth Sent from Above,” “Come All You Worthy Gentlemen,” “On Christmas Night,” and “There is A Fountain.” Fragments of other carols can also be heard.

The joint ORCMA Chorus and UT Concert Choir will also perform Part I from George Frideric Handel’s 1741 oratorio “Messiah,” which has remained popular since its premier in Dublin, Ireland, on April 13, 1742.

Handel and the presenters believed in the oratorio strongly. They anticipated such a large crowd, ladies were requested by the hall’s management to wear dresses “without hoops” in order to make “room for more company.”

At a royal performance in London in the following months, King George II was reportedly in attendance, although there is no formal document that says he was there.

As the orchestra played the opening measure of the now famous “Hallelujah Chorus,” which comes at the conclusion of Part II, the tradition is that King George stood up. That, of course, meant that everyone else must stand.

In the 275 years since that occasion, the tradition of standing for the “Hallelujah Chorus” has become an expected part of every performance. It can be argued whether standing is in memory of the king or in recognition of the “King of Kings,” about whom the music sings.

At Friday evening’s concert, the audience is hereby forewarned that everyone will be expected to stand as the orchestral introduction for the “Hallelujah Chorus” begins.

The second part of Friday’s concert will include opportunities for the audience to join in a festive sing-along of holiday carols arranged by Oak Ridge musician David Ensley.

General admission for this concert is $15. Discounted tickets for young adults, ages 19-29, are $5. Students 18 and under may attend any ORCMA concert for free.

Seating for this program will be limited. It is recommended that tickets be purchased in advance. Tickets are available at or by calling 865-483-5569.

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