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Holiday music to charm you

There may not be snow or reindeer here, but there are other ways to get into the holiday spirit. An extravaganza of song sets the tone for the season.

Published December 8, 2005

[Times photo: Chris Zuppa 2004]
Rehearsal director Marilyn Medley leads the Without Walls International Church Sanctuary Choir in a warmup during rehearsal at the church last year. The choir performs tonight at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center.

It's that time of year when the holiday choral music is ringing out. There are performances by a variety of choruses over the next few days, with programs ranging from traditional carols to a gospel Messiah to arrangements of Christmas music by Stephen Paulus to contemplative chant for Advent. In chronological order, here's the lineup.

- The Florida Orchestra, along with a trio of vocal soloists and the Without Walls International Church Sanctuary Choir, gives the second of two performances of a jazzy treatment of Messiah. Susan Haig conducts Handel's swinging oratorio at 8 tonight at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, Tampa. $22.50-$50.50. (813) 286-2403.

- The Herald Vocal Arts Ensemble, made up of church choir directors, has an eclectic, well-thought-out program for its concert with a brass quartet, violin and banjo at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Palladium, St. Petersburg. The music includes traditional French and German songs of the season, early American hymns, spirituals, a movement from a Berlioz oratorio and Silent Night. $12-$18. (727) 822-3590.

- The St. Petersburg College Concert Chorus and Madrigalians perform their annual candlelight concert, with popular songs such as Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and Sleighride, Vernon Taranto conducting. There will also be two new songs by St. Petersburg composer Clint Page on a Florida holiday theme, Christmas Weather and A Partridge in a Palm Tree. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, SPC Music Center, 6605 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. Free, but tickets are required and may be reserved by calling (727) 341-4301.

- Richard Zielinski, artistic director of the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay, has formed a second vocal ensemble, the 40-voice Richard Zielinski Singers. The group has been busy in the recording studio, putting out a CD of Christmas music in arrangements by composer Stephen Paulus. The singers, along with harp and keyboards and bell choir, will perform the Paulus settings, plus the premiere of Prayer for Peace by Libby Larsen, in two concerts: 2 p.m. Saturday at First Christian Church, 350 S Hyde Park Ave., Tampa, (813) 253-0811; and 2 p.m. Sunday at St. Mary Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, 515 Fourth St. S, St. Petersburg, (727) 896-2191. $10, $15.

- Florida Pro Musica is performing a chanted Latin mass for the third Sunday in Advent at Sacred Heart Church, 509 Florida Ave. N, Tampa. Music director Larry Kent says the program is "designed to give listeners a chance to experience a sung mass as it might have sounded in the 11th or 12th century." He surmises that the Advent performance, being given for the third consecutive year, has enjoyed a growing audience because "people appreciate a quiet hour of meditative, prayerful music in a beautiful setting during the busiest season of the year." 4 p.m. Sunday. $5-$20. (813) 258-4226.

- The Chancel Choir and Handbell Ringers of First Presbyterian Church, with the chamber orchestra Iona Consort, perform Fantasy on Christmas Carols by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Christmas Day by Gustav Holst and works of John Rutter and others. 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the church, 701 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg. Free, with an offering taken to benefit the Free Clinic of St. Petersburg. (727) 822-2031.

[Last modified December 7, 2005, 11:01:06]

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