The holiday special is Saturday, Dec. 8, at 5 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m. at the Canton First United Methodist Church.
Conducted by Jenny Rawson and John Barker, the concert will include familiar carols from the solemn “In the Bleak Midwinter” to the rollicking “Ding Dong Merrily on High,” and several other lively and beautiful works.
Featured in the concert is a new work by Joan Pinkston, “Glorious Night,” commissioned by the Chorale to celebrate its 25th anniversary season and conducted by co-founder and artistic director, Dr. Donald Stafford.
Stafford has been associated with the musical life of Cherokee County for more than three decades. He directed the first performance of the Cherokee Chorale in December of 1988.
Before retiring, Stafford was director of choral activities in the Cherokee County and Hall County school systems.
He has a doctorate degree in choral music education from Florida State University and degrees from Shorter University and University of Michigan.
Stafford also sang under the baton of Robert Shaw with the Atlanta Symphony Chorus and Chamber Choir for a number of years.
He is now the director of music for the Canton First United Methodist Church and an adjunct professor of music at Reinhardt University.
Pinkston is a composer and professor of composition and theory who lives in Greenville, S.C. She studied with Alice Parker, an associate of Robert Shaw and has published a number of original and arranged works for choral groups.
Rawson, a mezzo-soprano, received a bachelor of music degree in music theory and a master of music degree in vocal performance from the University of Georgia. Her conducting career includes positions at North Springs High School, a performing arts magnet school in Fulton County, and the Kennesaw Mountain High School Choral Program.
Since 1998 she has conducted the Greater Atlanta Girls’ Choir, formerly the Georgia Regional Girls’ Choir, a premier girls’ choir in North Georgia. She has held positions with the Atlanta Symphony Chorus, the Atlanta Symphony Chamber Chorus and the Robert Shaw Festival singers under the direction of Robert Shaw.
Barker is a graduate of Kent State University with a bachelor or music in education. He has extensive experience as a church and high school music educator, with groups consistently receiving superior ratings at festival competitions each year.
He is also accompanist for the First United Methodist Church.
The Cherokee Chorale is an auditioned choral group of 70 to 80 voices, encompassing a variety of ages, professions, and occupations, including a significant number of music professionals.
The Chorale was founded in 1988 by Genevieve Miller, Professor Judye MacMillan and Stafford, and has steadily advanced in technical skill and choral artistry, performing increasingly challenging literature.
For the 25th anniversary season, after more than 125 performances and with 430 singers on record as active or alumni, the chorale will have the opportunity to work with most of the conductors who have led performances in these 25 years.
The church is located at 930 Lower Scott Mill Road.
Tickets for the concerts are $10 for adults and $5 for students and are available at the door before the concert. Tickets may be purchased in advance from any Chorale member, the Arts Center and Chamberhouse in Canton, Three Sisters Gifts in Hickory Flat, Jasper Drug in Jasper, and FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock.
For information, call (678) 439-8625. The website is www.cherokeechorale.org.