The Santa Cruz Chorale's 28th annual holiday concert, Christmas With the Chorale, will be presented three times next month, in Santa Cruz and Watsonville, under the baton of Artistic Director Christian Grube.
Featuring more than two dozen vocal pieces composed between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries, the holiday concert has become a tradition with many county residents. Performances will be Sunday Dec. 12 and 19 at 4 p.m. at Holy Cross Church in Santa Cruz and Saturday Dec. 18 at 6 p.m. at Our Lady Help of Christians Church, 2401 East Lake Ave., Watsonville.
The concert in Watsonville, originally tried on an experimental basis and now in its third year, represents an American homecoming of sorts for Grube, Professor Emeritus at Berlin University of the Arts and conductor of one of Germany's best known chamber choirs.
"My wife's family has lived at various times in Santa Cruz County for three generations (her father graduated from Watsonville High School)" Grube said. "I first saw Our Lady Help of Christians Church in Watsonville when I was visiting the U.S. over 40 years ago. I remember thinking, as we drove by, `I bet you anything that church sounds wonderful it would be great to sing there some time.
"What a joy it was that Father Al made my wish come true when he allowed the Santa Cruz Chorale to sing there for the first time two years ago. As it turned out, however, the best thing about our concerts in these fabulous acoustics is not the sound but the human warmth that emanates from the congregation and from Father Al."
Grube said a great deal of care goes into selecting a diverse musical program that both captures the spirit of the holiday season and involves the audience.
"When I create the program for the Christmas concert, I include music from different countries, different centuries and various styles," he said. "Christmas is a time for all to sing, and it has become a tradition to choose one piece that allows the audience to sing with the Chorale. Many feel that this singing together is a Christmas gift and something we really look forward to."
Tickets can be purchased at the door, online at www.santacruzchorale.org or by sending a check to P.O. Box 272, Santa Cruz, CA 95061. Ticket prices are $20 general, $18 for seniors (62 or older) and $5 for students.
Chorale website: santacruzchorale.org
Look up Christian Grube at wikipedia.com