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BIG ARTS Band, Chorus announce upcoming concerts

By Staff | Nov 26, 2018

PHOTO PROVIDED The BIG ARTS Band, with Director Mike Lamade, will play on Dec. 8.

As BIG ARTS prepares to celebrate its 40th year in 2019 by “Celebrating the Artist in All of Us,” the BIG ARTS Band and BIG ARTS Chorus will take the stage in separate upcoming performances.

Both made up of local artists who get together for the sheer joy of music and the desire to share their gift with the community, the band will play on Dec. 8 and the chorus will perform on Dec. 12.

Mike Lamade is the music director and conductor for the 50-piece band, and although working with the group may seem to be a departure from his time spent as a high school band director, he said it is not.

“There is no difference – music is the connecting factor, regardless of age, race, nationality or religion – music is truly the universal language,” he said.

Concert-goers can expect to hear familiar Christmas carols, as well as a Rachmaninoff hymn, “Christmas Pipes,” “Festive Sounds of Hanukkah” and a sing-a-long, plus vocal, piano and trumpet solos and other songs.

PHOTO PROVIDED The BIG ARTS Chorus, with Director Ellen Whitten, will perform on Dec. 12.

BIG ARTS Chorus Director Ellen Whitten explained that the chorus is offered through BIG ARTS as a class in the spring and fall. It is open to anyone who has a desire to sing and there are no auditions.

“It’s a fun group,” she said. “These folks love to sing.”

For the holiday concert, the group will sing carols from around the world, including Africa, Spain, Britain and Norway, plus a few Hanukkah songs. In addition, the chorus will sing a Thanksgiving song by Aaron Copland, titled “The Promise of Living.” Originally from “Tender Land,” it calls for four-hand accompaniment. Pianists Richard Mattern and Erik Entwistle will do the honors. Erik Entwistle has also composed an original holiday song for the occasion, titled “Sanibel Under Snow.”

“It’s very cute,” Whitten said. “It starts out in a minor key as the snow is swirling and whirling around, and switches to a major key as everyone decides they can go skating on ‘Ding’ Darling pond.”

Tickets for the concerts are $10 each; children are free.

Both will be held at 7 p.m. in Schein Hall, at 900 Dunlap Road, Sanibel.

For more information or tickets, visit bigarts.org.