Cantus, an eight-member men’s vocal chamber ensemble from Minneapolis, Minn., will bring their holiday program, Lessons and Carols for Our Time, to Marysville on Wednesday, Dec. 5.
The concert, a modern take on the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, will be at 7 p.m. in the Marysville High School auditorium.
Ticket are $10 in advance or $15 at the door and may be purchased online at mcactickets.com. Tickets are also available at the Chamber of Commerce office and Marysville Advocate, Marysville, and Elsie Grace’s Gift Shoppe, Frankfort.
The performance is sponsored by the Marshall County Arts Cooperative.
“The message of Christmas is one of a shared humanity,” said Cantus tenor Paul Scholtz. “For us it’s an opportunity to come together and hear songs and stories that fill us with joy and courage to face a new year. Our program is one of our most beloved and a personal favorite of mine. It builds on the tradition first organized in the 1880s and keeps the format of readings interspersed with songs and carols offered as reflections.”
Cantus updates the format of the Nine Lessons and Carols by using poetry for the lessons that may speak to a modern audience and songs that reflect a range of context and cultures. The repertoire reflects the themes both with a nod to the traditional selections, like the Austrian carol "Still, Still, Still" and John Jacob Niles’ "I Wonder as I Wander," and to more contemporary choices such as Joni Mitchell’s River and Francisco Grau’s Vegara’s Mensaje de Paz.
“A large part of our tradition of singing in the Midwest comes from the church,” Scholtz said. “The Christmas holiday is undoubtedly the celebration most closely associated with singing. Our intent is that this program reflects on universal lessons at the heart of the season.”
In the 1880s Edward White Benson, who later became Archbishop of Canterbury, organized the Lessons and Carols – reportedly to keep men out of pubs on Christmas Eve. What began as a “sobering” suggestion has grown to a tradition that encompasses the world, with variations of the service found in Christmas and holiday celebrations.
Cantus is known for its trademark warmth and blend, innovative programming, and engaging performances of music ranging from the Renaissance to the 21st century, a press releases stated.
Working without a conductor, the members of Cantus rehearse and perform as chamber musicians, each contributing to the entirety of the artistic process.
Members of the ensemble are Jacob Christopher, tenor; Zachary Colby, tenor; Alberto do la Paz, tenor; Chris Foss, bass; David Geist, baritone; Samuel Green, bass; Sam Kreidenweis, baritone; and Scholtz, tenor.
For more information visit marshallcountyarts.org.