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Demopolis Singers prepare for COTR

What do the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Ghana, Wales, Spain, Armenia, France, Germany and England have in common with the United States?

Christmas songs from each country will be shared with local audiences during the annual Demopolis Singers Christmas on the River concerts.

The community chorus will perform on Sunday, Nov. 30, at 2:30 p.m. and Monday, Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m. in the Demopolis High School auditorium. There is no admission fee, but any contributions are welcomed.

This year, the Singers’ conductor Cloyde Williams chose a variety of songs celebrating Christmas around the world.

The concert will feature soloists and ensembles, musical instruments and songs sung with no accompaniment, favorite carols and music new to local ears, sacred, secular, serious and funny.

Opening the concert will be “Christmas is Coming,” a carol from the Dominican Republic in the style of the meringue, the Dominican national dance. It expresses the joy of the season with a simple melody and harmony and characteristic folk rhythms.

Tenor soloist Ed Rush will open a trio of Basque songs with “The Gentle Voice of Night.” The three carols chosen traditionally are sung in the streets and country lanes. The songs express nostalgia, sadness, warmth and happiness.

Rush will join in a quartet of singers to perform “Christmas Time is Here” from Ghana and “Lovely Baby” from Venezuela. The first invites listeners to heed the angels proclaiming the birth of Christ. The second is a traditional carol praising the beauty of the newborn Christ child. Members of the quartet also include Carolyn Bell, Stephanie Alegria and Randy Nalley.

Beloved carols that originated in England, Wales and France also are found on the program. The chorus will present unique arrangements of “The First Noel,” “Deck the Halls” and “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” in addition to a medley of songs.

Humor is a part of the concert as well, with two songs by American composers.

The audiences for the two concerts will be asked to conclude the program by taking part in a sing-along of popular carols that had their roots in other countries: “Joy to the World,” “Away in a Manger,” and “Silent Night.”