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Syracuse University Brass Ensemble, Spirit of Syracuse Chorus Usher in Holiday Season at Hendricks Chapel Dec. 14
The Syracuse University Brass Ensemble (SUBE) is pleased to welcome The Spirit of Syracuse (SOS) Chorus to campus for the first “Horns and Harmonies” concert, featuring songs, carols and classics for the whole family.
Destined to become a holiday tradition, the concert is Saturday, Dec. 14, at 7:30 p.m. in Hendricks Chapel. Special guests include WCNY’s Bruce Paulsen, who will emcee the event and reprise his popular interpretation of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” from “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” and organist Jared Shepard ’17, G’18, who is director of music ministries at The United Church in Fayetteville.
The concert is free and open to the public. Attendees are invited to bring food or personal care items to the Hendricks Chapel Food Pantry. For more information about the concert, contact Hendricks Chapel at 315.443.2901 or visit hendricks.syr.edu. Parking and accessibility information is at parking.syr.edu and subrass.syr.edu.
“We are delighted to present both groups onstage for the first time,” says the Rev. Brian E. Konkol, dean of Hendricks Chapel. “‘Horns and Harmonies’ is a festive way to cap off the semester, while ushering in the holiday season.”
Under the direction of James T. Spencer, SUBE will highlight more than four centuries of brass masterworks, from the Baroque stylings of Giovanni Gabrieli to the joyful strains of Leroy Anderson’s “A Christmas Festival.”
The 40-piece ensemble also will showcase its trademark versatility, with stirring renditions of “Adeste Fidelis,” Alfred Reed’s “Russian Christmas Music,” “When You Wish Upon a Star” from “Pinocchio,” music from “Frozen,” and more.
“This concert is for kids from one to 92,” jokes Spencer, also a Meredith Professor of Chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences. “There’s nothing like virtuoso brass and percussion playing to capture the spirit of the season.”
The College’s ensemble-in-residence, SUBE is no stranger to Hendricks Chapel, having co-headlined, for the past 12 years, “Holidays at Hendricks,” which, in turn, grew out of the group’s annual December concerts in the chapel.
SUBE also performs at other University functions, including Commencement, convocation ceremonies, and building dedications and openings.
In 2018, the group traveled to Danville, Kentucky, to perform at the Great American Brass Band Festival, the premier event of its kind in North America.
Spencer, who has conducted SUBE for three decades, is excited to turn a page in the group’s lustrous history. “We’ve talked about collaborating with The Spirit of Syracuse for a long time. I’m glad it’s finally happening,” he says.
Fresh from its triumphant performance at the 2019 Sweet Adelines International (SAI) Competition and Convention in New Orleans, SOS brings a unique blend of barbershop harmony, costumes and choreography to the Hill.
The chorus’ program runs the gamut—from the high-octane excitement of “We Need a Little Christmas” from “Mame” and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer,” to the hushed intimacy of “Do You Hear What I Hear?,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “Mary, Did You Know?”
Rounding out its set are the jazz-inflected strains of “The Man with the Bag” and the classically inspired “Sing Your Way Home,” based on the “Largo” from Dvorak’s “New World Symphony.”
SOS Master Director Kay Crawford says the 70-voice chorus is thrilled to partner with SUBE. “I’m certain that the harmony, joy and energy created by both groups in Hendricks Chapel will reverberate in the hearts of all whom attend. We look forward to many more exciting collaborations in the future,” she says.
Ranked 21st out of 600 SAI choruses in the world, SOS is a fixture on the women’s barbershop harmony circuit. Every year, the group hosts the Syracuse Area Youth A Capella Festival (Say-ACA-Fest), in conjunction with the Liverpool Central School District’s Fine Arts Department. SOS also is the founder of the Lakeside A Cappella Camp, which occurs every summer at Cazenovia College.
“Horns and Harmonies” includes several audience sing-alongs and a brief appearance by a hand-picked children’s choir.
The concert will be recorded for broadcast on WCNY-FM and WAER-FM. Dates and times are TBA.