Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Seattle Men's Chorus gets Soul-ful

Up close with Paul Caldwell (courtesy Seattle Choruses)

Silver & Soul
Seattle Men’s Chorus
Benaroya Hall:
December 11, December 18, December 21, December 22, 2016
Everett Civic Auditorium, December 17, 2016
Rialto Theater, Tacoma, December 10, 2016

You know you’re in for a great concert from the very first moments of Seattle Men’s Chorus’ holiday concert! Titled Silver & Soul, this is where most subscribers will be introduced to new artistic director Paul Caldwell. He starts out with a drum!

Drummer John Stout gets center stage with a box drum and leads the chorus in a haunting, insistent, rhythmic song called Guadete, a sacred Christmas carol, which is thought to have been composed in the 16th century. (Michael Engelhardt is credited, perhaps as the arranger). Soloists Matthew Sherman, Tyler Stoops, and Nathan Wilson sound wonderful.

The concert is full of solemn and sacred music, as well as fun from Captain Smartypants, a cadre of dancers, some scarcely-clad reindeer, and an audience sing-along. The arrangements are tight and the men seem ready to ring in the season.

There are a lot of men on stage! It’s heartening to see how many wanted to sing the holiday concert as the transition of artistic director continues. Caldwell is gracious in his conduct and his remarks are brief, but heartfelt, as he reflects on his car accident (as related in a recent interview with him by SGN: and his reception by the Choruses when he arrived.

If you are someone who practices avoiding Little Drummer Boy, you’ll be out by Song #3. I don’t know if it counts to bring earplugs or not.

Those who like to ring in the holidays with a Men’s Chorus performance will be completely satisfied with the seasonal music. The full sound of all the sections of singers is glorious to bask in and absorb.

Those who enjoy poking fun will like the silliness of The Twelve Days After Christmas, The Christmas Can-Can, and Hannukah in Santa Monica. A game try at Carpool Christmas Caroloke, with a James Corden, Johnny Carson, Judy Garland and Lady Gaga, falls a bit flat, but is mercifully pretty short. The audience sing-along is a fun little work out (you’ll see) led by Caldwell.

This concert series is the last for long-time interpreter Kevin  Gallagher and the Chorus acknowledges him in a lovely and warm fashion. His signature interpretive Silent Night is reprised, for those who look forward to that particular moment.

There a number of opportunities to clap along, including the last two songs: Go Tell It/Jesus, What a Wonderful Child and Dear Santa (Bring Me a Man This Christmas), helping you go back out to the streets in a terrific mood.

For more information, go to or call 206-388-1400. 

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