Blame it on Charles Dickens, but there's always been a slightly English tinge to Christmas caroling in the popular imagination, with Victorian-clad singers under gas lamps on snow-covered cobblestone streets. For their 40th annual Christmas performance, the Philadelphia Singers are celebrating that notion with a program that draws largely from the English tradition.
Music director David Hayes, celebrating his own landmark 20th season, built this year's program around two pieces by 20th century British composers: Gerald Finzi’s "In terra pax" and James MacMillan's "Magnificat."
"I always strive for a good mix of more substantial works along with smaller things that are more recognizably 'Christmas,'" Hayes explains. "It's all based on texts that tell the Christmas story in some way, shape or form, but create a nice mix of new and old, familiar and unfamiliar.”
As always, the concert will conclude with the chorus stepping down among the audience members and leading a carol-sing. "The chorus looks forward to this every year," Hayes says. "They enjoy the pageantry and they enjoy engaging with the audience in the carols at the end. The holiday concert is meant to allow people to relax, enjoy some good music and get into community with each other a little bit."
Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
Church of the Good Samaritan
212 W. Lancaster Ave., Paoli
Sunday, 3 & 6 p.m.
St. Clement’s Church
20th and Cherry sts.