BWW Review: IT'S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR at Grand Rapids Symphony and Special Guest for Christmas!
It's the most wonderful time of the year! This past Thursday I headed out to what has become an annual tradition and attend a Christmas show. This year I headed down town Grand Rapids to DeVos Performance Hall to take in the sounds of the Grand Rapids Symphony. Under the baton of conductor Bob Bernhardt for the Symphony, Pearl Shangkuan for the Symphony Chorus, and Sean Ivory for the Symphony Youth Chorus all take us on a magical journey through the sounds of Christmas. It would not be a Christmas concert event with out a few surprises such as bass-baritone Justin Hopkins, and the Embellish Handbell Ensemble.
Hopkins accompanied the Symphony and Chorus through "Oh Come All Ye Faithful", he soloed in "The Wexford Carol", "Please Come Home for Christmas", and it wouldn't be a Christmas show with out "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" in its original key.
The Symphony Chorus lended there voices to "Angels from the Realm of Glory", "Merry Christmas" (from Home Alone) with the Youth Symphony, "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" and "Sing We Now of Christmas" with Embellish Handbell Ensemble. Then we all got to sing the "Christmas Sing Along" in which we all got to sing one verse from each of the popular Christmas pieces, and of corse another song that it wouldn't be a Christmas show without, "Hallelujah" Chorus from The Messiah, and right before there was a special visit from Santa.
The Youth Symphony got there chance to sing along with the Symphony as well to "Candle Light Carol", "Maoz Tzur" (written for the choir and symphony, and making it's debut at the show), and "The Star."
I have to mention the other guest to the show. Embellish Handbell Ensemble, under the direction of Stephanie Wiltse, played "Coventry Carol" (Carol of the Bells), and played with the symphony on one of my favorites "Sleigh Ride", I will be looking to attend more concerts from them in the future, because I really enjoyed of the handbells and their music from this local and talented group of ringers.
If you want to get in the Christmas spirit head on down to Devos Place and check out the Symphony and friends Holiday Pops. There is one more chance to see them: Sunday, December 9, 2018 3 PM.
Connect with Embellish Handbell Ensemble on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/embellishhandbells/