Schola Cantorum is embarking on a new venture this holiday season.
For the first time in their 23 years of performing, Schola Cantorum is having a Christmas concert at the Wayne Theatre in downtown Waynesboro.
“There are two firsts for this concert,” said David Rash, vice president of Schola Cantorum. “We typically have our fall concert the last Sunday of November at First Baptist Church. The discussion came up this summer about trying something new. And that’s when we began talking with the Wayne Theatre.”
Jeffrey Ryman, director of Schola Cantorum for the past three years and the choral director at Waynesboro High School, explained that this seemed like a good time to become involved with the Wayne Theatre’s many holiday entertainment opportunities.
“We thought that it might be interesting to explore connecting into the Wayne, since the Wayne is becoming such a hub for entertainment for Waynesboro. We thought that it might be a good plan to dovetail into all the Christmas activities that they program during the month of December,” Ryman said.
In addition to the shift in venue and concert style, Schola Cantorum will be performing a select piece with 15 student singers from Fort Defiance High School. Collaboration with young people in the past had not been entirely frequent, but Ryman looks to change that.
Ryman is pleased to be integrating more young people into collaboration with Schola Cantorum.
“There will be 15 young women who will be coming to join us on one of the pieces,” he said of this year’s Christmas concert.
Ryman hopes to continue involving youth and using Schola Cantorum as an example that singing can indeed be continued throughout one’s life.
“I like the idea of trying to pull in younger people, to see that you can be a lifelong singer, and you can be devoted to this craft even when you’re 50, 60 years old no problem. I want kids to see that there are opportunities in every community, even if it’s not here, that you can keep singing,” Ryman said.
The new venture is both exciting and challenging, Rash said. Part of the hope is to grow Schola Cantorum’s audience, in addition to providing quality entertainment and an enjoyable musical experience for all attendees.
“We will be singing several Christmas carols with audience participation,” Rash said. “That will be marvelous.”
Ryman echoed Rash’s enthusiasm about the carol sing with the audience.
“[That] is something that we’ve never been able to do, so I’m excited about presenting that to our community,” he said.
The audience will hear pieces by Brahms, Handel, Beethoven, Bach and other famous musicians in addition to the Christmas carol sing-along.
“We invite people to come and get their Christmas week started off with us, and enjoy all these wonderful Christmas tunes as we help to ring in the season,” Ryman said.