For 18 seasons, the Highlands Community Christian Chorale has been celebrating the beauty of the season with a variety of traditional carols, classical liturgical choral pieces and even some lighter holiday fare.
This year’s performance will feature songs that are truly regional in nature. “An Appalachian Christmas” is a cantata featuring choral and instrumental arrangements by Les Scott, Minister of Music at Highlands United Methodist Church.
The piece was inspired by the widowed matron of the Eller Family, a family which has preserved many folk songs of the region near Hiawassee, Georgia. Even though she had raised eight hardy youngsters, she was known to all as “Miss Loethe,” a songwriter in her own right. “An Appalachian Christmas” was cobbled together from songs and accompanying readings rich in Appalachian history and culture – from pioneer days until the present, from Virginia
Some of these songs, such as the reflective “Remember O Thou Man,” or the charming “Cherry Tree Carol,” are as ancient as medieval times, brought here from Europe by the first pioneers. Others, such as Jean Ritchie’s “Holly Tree Carol,” are as recent as the 1990’s, but reflect old-time Appalachian style.
All the music comes from reliable sources — from notable folk music collectors such as John Jacob Niles, the famed Kentucky folklorist; Art Rosenbaum, professor of folklore at the University of Georgia; and the singing traditions of Appalachian families. An ensemble of Appalachian instruments – guitars, fiddles, banjos, and dulcimers as well as piano – will accompany the Chorale.”
The Chorale consists of singers from seven different churches in the Highlands and Cashiers areas who come together each year to bring this ecumenical event to Highlands. Performance dates are 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, December 8th and 9th at Highlands United Methodist Church. Admission is free. A reception follows the
The church is located at 315 Main Street. Because of its popularity, you should plan to arrive at the concert early. For more information, call (828) 526-3376.
by Wiley Sloan