Singers join Symphony of NWA for Christmas concerts

<br>Singers join Symphony of NWA for Christmas concerts

The SoNA Singers, directed by Terry Hicks, came into existence as vocal performers supporting the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas.

The UA Inspirational Chorale “is an auditioned group of 34 University of Arkansas students from freshmen to graduate students,” performing under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey Murdock.

And for the first time this holiday season, both will be on stage for two performances Dec. 10 celebrating Christmas with the musicians of SoNA.

“The Inspirational Chorale are delighted to participate with the SoNA concert this year,” says Murdock. “This is our first collaboration, and we are very much looking forward to it. Particularly, this partnership allows us to share what we do with a much broader audience.”

The Chorale will sing “Oh Holy Night,” arranged by David Clydesdale, with guest soprano Lenora Green-Turner, and “Glory Hallelujah to the Newborn King,” an a cappella spiritual arranged by Mark Butler, Murdock says. “They will also join the SoNA Singers in a finale — Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus.”

The chorus called the SoNA Singers has grown “to approximately 80 singers and includes all types of people,” says Hicks, who is its founding director. “We have members from about 20 to 70 years of age. We have college professors and students, various career professionals, retirees, and stay-at-home parents. This is one of the most wonderful aspects. I get to work with such a variety of people.

“I remember singing ‘Silent Night’ with my mom when I was a child,” Hicks adds. “I will always hold that dear. We will also be singing ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful,’ the Hallelujah Chorus, ‘Fanfare: Joy to the World’ and ‘Midwinter Song’ by Susan LaBarr, professor at Missouri State University.”

On the program for SoNA are “Sleigh Ride”; The Nutcracker Suite; “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24” by Sarah Pearson, assistant conductor; and Concerto in G minor for Two Cellos and Orchestra. David Johnson, executive director of the Fayetteville Public Library, will read “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

“A Very SoNA Christmas” “is a tradition like none other, showcasing some of the finest talent in the region, and an extraordinary blend of traditional and pops programming,” says Paul Haas, music director of the orchestra.

“SoNA has long been a staple in this community, as has Inspirational Chorale. I’m delighted that this collaboration is finally coming to fruition,” adds Murdock.

“I want the vocals to bring joy and genuine interpretation,” says Hicks. “I want every member of the audience to be touched by their sound and presentation.”

However, the two performances Dec. 10 are just the first of the orchestra’s holiday gifts to the community. On Dec. 11, the orchestra will once again play the score for “The Snowman: A Family Concert” at 2 p.m.

“All of us remember what it was like as a child to wish that our favorite toys or stuffed animals would come to life, in fact to believe they would!” Haas explains. “This silent film — accompanied by an extraordinary score for virtuosic orchestra — brings that magical thought alive in a way that captivates both young and old alike.”

Following its holiday performances, on Jan. 7, 2023, SoNA starts the New Year with “Mother and Child,” described as “a cathartic, emotional program that touches a core human experience — each piece evokes a love that exists across time, between a mother and her child.” On March 11, 2023, the season continues with “New Canons,” a concert featuring new works that will be presented on SoNA’s upcoming album release. In April, SoNA presents two concerts: On April 8, Battle of the Bands brings SoNA and the Fayetteville Jazz Collective together for an evening of genre-defying music that will be enjoyed by a wide variety of music lovers. And on April 29, the season wraps with “Evoking Folklore,” featuring storytelling of folklore from cultures near and far.



‘A Very SoNA Christmas’

WHEN — 2 & 7:30 p.m. Dec. 10

WHERE — Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville

COST — $36-$60

INFO — or 443-5600



‘The Snowman: A Family Concert’

WHEN — 2 p.m. Dec. 11

WHERE — Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville

COST — $10

INFO — or 443-5600

Categories: Music