LV Singers herald Christmas season with concert

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Two performances this weekend in Cynthiana

Lee Kendall,
News Writer

The Licking Valley Singers, 52 voices strong this time, will be performing its 17th concert, over the past nine years, when they put on Christmas Traditions: Sacred Songs and Carols of the Season, on Friday evening, Dec. 1 and Sunday afternoon, Dec. 3.
LVS choral director Karen Bear said that this session will be held in memory of Virginia Laytart, mother of LVS accompanist Dr. Beth Laytart, who passed away on Sept. 22.
Both concerts will be held at the Cynthiana Baptist Church. The Friday night concert will begin at 7:30, with the doors opening at 7. The Sunday afternoon concert is set to begin at 2:30, with the doors opening at 2.
Bear, who has been the choral director of the LVS since its inception, nine years ago, said the selections this year will include songs that tell the story of Christ and his life and teachings.
“There is no secular Christmas music among the selections this year,” she said. “There is no “Jingle Bells” or “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.” There will be a suite of carols and then some sacred songs. All of our selections will speak to the religious meanings of the holidays. There will be 13 songs that we will perform and three that the Harrison County High School choral group will perform.”
Included among the carols that the LVS will perform will be Do You Hear What I Hear, What Child Is This and a handful of other non-secular carols.
The “sacred songs” portion of the concert will include several pieces, including a women-only rendition of The Little Babe, one of the movements from Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols.
 Also included will be Blessed Son of God, the 5th movement from Ralph Von Williams Christmas cantata, Hodie.
Dr. Laytart will also perform the instrumental, Carol of the Bells, on the piano.
Bear said the selections that will be performed this session by the LVS indicates how far they have come as a choral group.
“There will always be pieces in every program that individuals will find challenging for a variety of reasons based on their music backgrounds and experiences,” she said. “The goal for this session was to work on crafting a more classical, open, rounded, choral sound which is most appropriate for the sacred songs and traditional carols being performed.   The commitment to learning how to be a better choral singer is evident in the success the choir has made this session. What I have asked them to do is not easy and can take away from the pure ‘joy’ of just singing. But that is what is great about this community choir. They have worked very hard to implement the right vocal techniques so these pieces will sing the way they should be heard. The LVS continues to raise the “Community Choir” bar  for vocal quality and precision as each member works to achieve their best performance of the works.”
Tickets for both performances are on sale at Biancke’s Restaurant, Ewalt’s Jewelers and JJ’s Restaurant. They are $10 a person, with children under 10 admitted free of charge.
Bear said auditions for anyone wanting to join the LVS will take place almost immediately following next weekend’s concerts.
The spring concert will feature an eclectic blend of genres and will be titled, Songs in the Key of Life.
“All the selections that have been chosen will be about the common good of the human spirit,” Bear said. “The spirit of man helping man for the good of us all will be the focus of the music.”
She said that auditions will be held the first week in December, with the first practices beginning the first week of January.
For more information, or to schedule an audition with Bear, contact her at 859-234-4393.
The LVS will be performing a third concert on Thursday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Neal Center in Carlisle.
This performance will be a fund-raiser for the Nicholas County Historical Society.
“We are excited about performing for our neighbors in Nicholas County and are glad we can help out their historical society,” Bear said.