Baby's First Christmas

 

Not exactly known for his skills with wrapping paper or for being the most Christmas-spirited, Sam usually attempts to give my Christmas gifts still in the unopened Amazon box, arguing that it doesn’t make sense to unbox them just to repackage them. After sufficient explanation of the impact beautifully wrapped presents have on the level of Christmas morning magic, he usually succumbs and haphazardly papers the parcels enough to make them look like passable Christmas gifts.

In a glorious departure from his formerly unspirited relationship with Christmas, Sam earned full redemption with Santa when he created a gorgeously packaged Christmas experience for our audiences over the course of last weekend’s concert series. Desiring to create a more traditional program that still managed to bring a full aesthetic experience to our audience, Sam led Verdigris in a concert of music both sublime and familiar neatly wrapped up in the warmth of tea tasting and nostalgia of ornament decoration.

The first half of the concert featured choral masterworks by Poulenc, Mathias, and others. At intermission we met our audience in the lobby for hot tea provided by The Cultured Cup. They created a custom blend specifically for Verdigris. During the rehearsal process, choir members tasted three blend options and voted on which they felt was most delicious and representative of Verdigris. Check out the blend here. Kyle and Phil, the proprietors of The Cultured Cup, have been great friends to the choir, and they are generously giving 100% of the proceeds of this tea to Verdigris. Soooo, that should take care of all your Christmas shopping. You’re welcome.

At intermission, guests also had the chance to choose an ornament and write on it their favorite Christmas carol and memory. Just before the second half of the concert, without the audience’s knowledge, members of the choir selected a few of the ornaments, and during the second half, quartets sang jazz arrangements of some of the audience favorites. My quartet sang Silent Night, a favorite written down by an audience member who I have become acquainted with over the course of several performances.

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One of our foundational philosophies is that we want to build our audience - hopefully an audience that consists of choral music outsiders - through intentional personal connection, offering them access to the musicians and understanding of the music whether they are a long-time music lover or a first-time choral concert guest. Mingling with guests at intermission and then featuring some of their favorite carols allowed both us and our audience the opportunity to put names with the crowd of faces. Especially in the intimate space where we held our first concert, the audience was noticeably more engaged and personally invested during the second half of the concert. We had become more than just faces across the room to each other.

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On Saturday, between performance days, members of the choir joined Sam at Presbyterian Village North for an afternoon of choral outreach. The emphasis on nostalgia in our Christmas program led Sam to contact retirement communities with a connection to Music and Memory - a program focused on memory care via music for patients with Alzheimer’s. A fully dedicated memory-care facility, Presbyterian Village North welcomed the ensemble, thankful to have musicians willing to share their art with those without easy access to live, professional singing.

Leading up to this concert, the Dallas Morning News did a feature on the choir which you can read here, and just today a review was released of our concert in the DMN which you can read here.

We are looking to close an $7,000 funding gap to finish our 2017-2018 season. By supporting Verdigris, you are supporting innovation in the world of classical music. We had two successful concert series, have been recognized for our innovation and excellence, and are fulfilling our promise to reach new audiences through creativity in our field. We need your help to continue our growth and success. By contributing, you are helping us celebrate our inception and growth and ensuring that this coming year sees continued growth and vitality. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. Visit our Support Us page to make your contribution.

 
Erinn Sensenig