A Chanticleer Christmas at the Carmel Mission

Not surprisingly, since “Chanticleer” was the rooster in Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales,” the choir with the same moniker is no different — bright and colorful. A sense of awe and wonder took over the audience as the choir entered the Carmel Mission Basilica from the rear of the sanctuary. All the lights had been turned off as the choir entered bearing candles and singing the Gregorian Chant, Christe redemptor omnium.

As the lights were turned back on and the music continued, the once hushed audience was filled with murmurs – comments on the sounds of the voices emanating from the all-male choir. One of the unique features of this choir is the presence of countertenors, a voice partly higher than a tenor and equivalent to a female contralto or soprano. Looks of confusion turned to gentle smiles amongst the audience, and the confidence of the choir took over to a sense of serene happiness.

The melismas (groups of notes sung on one syllable) were sung with strength and control. The phrasing — the beginnings and most notably, the endings, were exquisite.  One song that stood out was Maria Wiegenlied, by Max Reger. The choir became like a pipe organ and supported the countertenor soloist, Cortez Mitchell, perfectly. It was entrancing. One of the new members of Chanticleer, Tim Keeler, could not contain his joy in singing at this final performance of the year. He spontaneously broke out into a grin, and so did the audience.


Archived in these categories: 20th Century, Cantus, Choral.
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