Contributed by Marian Fuchs
The Collington Singers, pictured below in rehearsal before their final performance, provided two enchanted evenings at Collington this holiday season.
Playing to packed houses both nights, Marilyn Haskel, the choirmaster, gave the happy audience a delightful mixture of holiday music from different parts of the world, and ranging from serious and spiritual to downright funny. “Superb,” said one audience member. And so it was.
There were many stars and soloists. Among the singers there were Merritt Edner, Eloise Scott (‘Scotti’), Pat Bozeman, and Howard Piggee, whose deep, rich baritone made “Keep Your Lamps” zing with meaning. Tim Sabin gave an excellent narrative that was illustrated by a range of slides, that included the words of the songs, and illustrations that ranged from sentimentally moving to downright silly, skillfully administered by Jim Holmes. Piano music was brilliantly provided by Louise Huddleston (below right), and, towards the end of the program, by our artist in resident, Ria Yang. A new capella group known to us by Tim as the “Bowie Barbershop Babes” gave us the pretty German “Christmas Tree” carol in English and a moving rendition of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”.
The program started with a small group of sopranos, chanting softly near the entrance, ( below left) quickly setting the Christmas story tone.
Many songs were new to the audience, but many were old favorites, with a new twist. We had “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, “Oh Little Town”, and the rousing finale in which the audience was allowed to participate in with the “Twelve Days of a Re-Gifted Christmas” was turned into a morality story against such practice.
In addition to singing stars, there were two instrument soloists. In the first performance, Steve Woodbury played violin, and on the second, Don Zelman played clarinet, as shown below right, next to a post-performance picture of Marilyn and Tim, still high after the wonderful evening’s fun.