If Santa is hiring any new elves, I would highly recommend Dr. Michael Larkin for the job. His effervescent enjoyment of Christmas and Christmas music is a delight to behold!
This year’s program was named Forward to the Past: A Christmas Concert based on Dr. Larkin’s study of Christmas music of Western Europe. Fifteenth Century (Guillermus Dufay), Sixteenth Century (Praetorius), including a softened and slowed En natus est Emmanuel preceded the Seventeenth Century Tomas Luis Vittoria’s O magnum mysterium motet and selections from the mass.
Then a jump to the Twentieth Century with arrangements by Dr. Larkin of many popular Christmas tunes, including selections he took from the movie White Christmas.
Mindy Bowman accompanied the choir in the modern part of the program where Mike Alexander sang O Holy Night, Jay Williams soloed in Count your blessings and Della Lied gave a beautifully clear rendition of Love, you didn’t do right by me. Her solo reminded me of the arrestingly clear voice of Joan Baez singing Little Drummer Boy on a Christmas album I have long lost.
Dr. Larkin gave great energy to directing the audience in refrains of popular carols and it seemed like an old Newark party in the beautifully decorated vault of the Newark United Methodist Church.
They will perform the same program at Saint Helena’s Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington on Sunday, December 19.