GUILFORD —The Guilford Chamber Singers, under director Tom Baehr, will present a program of sacred and secular songs on Friday at 8 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. for the 43rd Christmas at Christ Church, Corner of Rte. 5 South and Melendy Hill Rd., Guilford. Included are the cheery settings of holiday favorites "Deck the Halls," "Carol of the Bells," "Winter Wonderland," and even Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from "The Nutcracker." Other selections include Alfred Burt's "Come, Dear Children" (1954), inviting us to participate in the season's preparations, Donald Moore's "Bethlehem Spiritual" (2006), and traditional carols from the 24th and 17th centuries, "In Jubilate Deo" and "All My Heart This Night Rejoices" (its original setting). A Bolivian carol from Baroque-era manuscripts recently rediscovered and published for modern-day performance is accompanied by the Guilford Chamber Players, whose instrumental interludes present several other Bolivian Christmas tunes in the collection. Our final song, "The Winter's Night," is a hauntingly beautiful and evocative setting that has become the group's favorite new carol. Singers include sopranos Janis Chaillou and Sarah Lott; altos Jeanne Austin, Beth McKinney, and Joy Wallens-Penford; tenors Paul Cooper, Bill Johnson and Peter Tracy; and basses Peter Abell and Peter Nadoiny.


After the concert segment, Don McLean entertains us with a dramatic reading of "The Christmas Lie," set in Canada's Alberta wilderness by prize-winning short story writer Dorothy Thomas (1898-1990), then we all join in on a few traditional carols to put us in the holiday spirit before heading away into the night. The FOMAG holiday boutique offers cards, CDs, totes, 50th season t-shirts to remind us of warmer weather, and a few sweatshirts for a toasty warm winter – great for gift-giving or for your own use. Door donations are shared with the Christ Church Preservation Fund for upkeep of this historic building, which has not had an active congregation since the early 1900s.