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This pastiche of familiar carols was originally commissioned for the Grand Rapids (MI) Symphonic Choir, led at that time (1988) by Anton Armstrong (who now directs the choral program at St. Olaf College in Northfield MN, where he earned his baccalaureate degree). In six sections, Christmas Ornaments presents “Lullaby Carols”-- embracing “Lully, Lullay” and “What Child Is This?”, the latter using the 16th century tune “Greensleeves”; and “Bell Carols”-- the French “Ding Dong Merrily on High” (which also uses a much earlier tune) and the Ukrainian “Carol of the Bells”. Also included are the John Jacob Niles carol “I Wonder As I Wander” and the celebratory English songs, “Deck the Halls” and “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. As an introduction, the composer utilizes a Latin hymn, “Personent Hodie” (Proclaim Today).
Composer Randol Alan Bass, 52, is a Texan by birth and present attachment, although he earned an M.M. from the University of Cincinnati Conservatory, and completed part of his doctorate at Ohio State. He has founded and conducted several wind and choral groups at various times in his career, and his compositions and arrangements have been performed by well-respected groups in such venues as Tanglewood, Carnegie Hall, and the symphony centers of Boston and Dallas.
“Christmas Ornaments” was previously performed by the Chorus on its December, 1992 concert.
J. R. Fancher, Nov. 2005