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To celebrate Christmas, Springfield Chamber Chorus stages 'Empowered by Love' concerts

Courtesy Springfield Chamber Chorus

The group will present two separate concerts this weekend — one formal, one informal and more "kid-friendly."

Chris Brammer, founder and artistic director of Springfield Chamber Chorus, joined us on KSMU's "Arts News" with information on the group's Christmas concert, "Empowered by Love" — actually two concerts this weekend, at two separate venues.

The first, more formal performance will be Saturday, December 16, at 7:30 p.m. at First and Calvary Presbyterian Church, 900 East Cherry Street.

The second, more informal concert is scheduled for Sunday, December 17, at 4 p.m. near the opposite end of the Missouri State University campus, at University Heights Baptist Church, 1010 South National Avenue.

Why two programs? Brammer says Springfield Chamber Chorus wants to "reach out to a wider audience. Part of reaching a greater audience is involving more styles of music. We try to weave our way through very traditional, 'high choral' music, but also bringing influences from pop music and music theater, to tell a larger story."

Brammer says, "This year we're focusing on the idea that the innocence of youth gets lost all too soon... I wonder if, maybe, we could just keep a little bit more of our innocence as we look at the larger problems of the world? That, maybe, we would have an easier time finding the solutions we need. (When a child is) asked, 'This man is hungry, should we feed him?', that child, 99.9 percent of the time, is going to say, 'Yes!' without hesitation.

"And as we look at the problems that our world faces, both here in our community and beyond, wouldn't it be nice for someone just to stop and say, 'They're hungry, let's feed them.' 'They're homeless, let's give them a home.' "

For this pair of Christmas concerts, the Springfield Chamber Chorus has "tried very hard to put two different concert experiences together," Brammer says.

Each has different music and some different collaborating artists.

"The Saturday night concert is a more formal, 'traditional' experience. It's going to feel very 'Christmassy,' in terms of lights and candles."

Joining the SCC for this concert will be the Missouri Choral Artists.

"On Sunday, we turn the lights back up, and the concert is a little bit less 'formal.'" The chorus will be joined on Sunday by the Nixa Junior High School women's choir and the Girls Choir of Springfield. "So it's a little bit lighter, a little more kid-friendly, for two very different experiences."

Thus, if people choose to attend both performances, they will hear different music at both.

Tickets to either concert are $10 adults, $5 for students, and are available online at springfieldchamberchorus.org, or at the door at each church. Brammer promised no one would be turned away if they can help it. For last year's Christmas Concert at First and Calvary, he said they needed to add several additional rows of seating. Still, you are advised to purchase tickets in advance at the Springfield Chamber Chorus website at the above link.

Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job has evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning Arts News. Stewart assists volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He's also become the de facto "Voice of KSMU" in recent years due to the many hours per day he’s heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's Ozzie Award in 2006.