After 25 years, the Cherokee Chorale holiday performance continues to be a crowd pleaser and this year’s offering titled “Christmas Treasures” appears on its way to continuing the tradition.
The concert will be presented Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. and Dec. 8 at 3 p.m. at the Canton First United Methodist Church.
Conducted by Woodstock resident Charles Claiborne, the concert will include traditional Christmas carols and songs.
While this is the first Cherokee Chorale concert Claiborne has conducted, he brings a long list of credentials to the stage.
Claiborne taught high school choral music at several North Georgia schools, where his groups consistently received superior ratings, until his retirement from the school system in 2002.
He has also served as director of music at several churches in the region. He has previously been the conductor of the Smyrna Community Chorus, the Gilmer Arts Community Chorus and assistant conductor of the Choral Guild of Atlanta.
He served two terms as Georgia Music Educators Association State Choral Chair, and edited the festival sight reading book for many years. Claiborne is an active member of the American Choral Directors Association and has served as president of the Georgia chapter.
He serves as head adjudicator for GMEA Large Group Performance Evaluations and holds degrees from the University of Georgia and Georgia State University.
“I have been singing with the Chorale for about three years, and I expressed an interest and Don Stafford thought it would be a good idea.”
Stafford, who conducts a number of concerts, is also the head of the Chorale.
Claiborne said he chose the selections for this year’s concert with the final approval from Stafford and his board.
“This music is a little more familiar, possibly, a lot of traditional carols and carol arrangements, most have stood the test of time,” the conductor said. “I knew the group would enjoy the music and I think the audience will enjoy it.”
Claiborne said out of 17 pieces that will be performed, there are only three he has not taught in high school.
The group of about 80 has been practicing for the concert since early September.
“This has been a lot of fun, and this group is made up of really nice people who want to do well and don’t mind working hard, because I have worked them hard,” he said.
Claiborne said one of his personal favorites is “Christmas Day” by Gustav Holst.
“It has a lot of different carols arranged in a unique way that has made this piece a classic,” he said. “I am really looking forward to the concert. It is going real well with the group and it has been a pleasure to work with them.”
The Cherokee Chorale is an auditioned choral group with 70 to 80 members who represent a variety of ages, professions and occupations, including a number of music professionals.
The Chorale was founded in 1988 and has advanced in technical skill and choral artistry, performing increasingly challenging literature and establishing a reputation for excellence and popularity, according to a release about the group.
Tickets for the holiday concert are $10 for adults and $5 for students and are available at the door before the concert.
Tickets can be purchased in advance from any Chorale member, the Cherokee County Arts Center and Chamberhouse in Canton, Three Sisters Gifts in Hickory Flat, Jasper Drug in Jasper and FoxTale Book Shoppe in Woodstock.
Canton First Methodist is at 930 Lower Scott Mill Road.
For more information, call (678) 439-8625 or visit www.cherokeechorale.org.