In Victorian tradition: Carolers bring holiday cheer to Silverton

December 2013 Posted in Arts, Culture & History
Silverton resident Emily Flanagan will perform with Festival Chorale’s Victorian Carolers.

Silverton resident Emily Flanagan will perform with Festival Chorale’s Victorian Carolers.

By Don Murtha

Whether you have a case of the humbugs or are bustling with holiday cheer, you are bound to be delighted by a wonderful musicial treat this Christmas season.

Festival Chorale of Oregon and the Festival Carolers who are a part of the acclaimed Festival Chorale will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13 at Silverton United Methodist Church.  The group of up to 24 carolers performs in Victorian costume and sings traditional Christmas carols. The repertoire may include music of Bach, Brahms, Mozart, Haydn, Puccini, Verdi and other classical composers. The Choral also performs more modern music by Gershwin, Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein and others.

“There’ll be no Frostry or Rudolph,” said Emily Flanagan, secretary of the Festival Chorale Oregon and a Silverton resident. “We perform only early carols from the Victorian era, mostly songs that are familiar to most people.”

The costumes add a festive flavor to the performances of the group. The men wear top hats, vests and swallowtail coats or capes. The women wear bonnets, shawls, petty coats and hoops skirts.  The members are responsible for providing their own costumes.

“You wouldn’t believe how tough it is to get in and out of a car in those hoop skirts,” Flanagan said. “Fortunately, we have plastic hoops instead of those old iron hoops that get hung up on everything.”

Victorian Carolers
Dec. 13, 7:30 p.m.
Silverton United Methodist Church
203 W. Main St., Silverton
Reception will follow.

She said the process of dressing is cumbersome. “We’re suppose to look pretty, but that’s what people did back then,” she said. “It takes 20 minutes to get suited up with all that regalia.”

Each member must audition to become a caroler. There is one rehearsal for the group on a Saturday in October.

“We have to compete with football games and otherwise and we can’t get everyone together,” Flanagan said. “So we have an all-day work shop so everyone knows the music thoroughly.”

At each performance, the caroler will field a minimum of eight and as many as 24 singers, depending on scheduling and availability of singers.

The carolers start peforming the day after Thanksgiving and keep busy singing at public and private events.

The Festival Carolers’ big event will be Sunday, Dec. 22 at the Historic Elsinore Theatre in Salem. The program will include a sing-a-long, and story time for children. The $10 admission goes to support the programs of Festival Chorale Oregon.

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