We could all use a little harmony after a year of pandemics and contentious elections.
The Alexandria Harmonizers virtually present “Christmas Coast to Coast” on Dec. 20.
“The Alexandria Harmonizers have been a choral ensemble here in the D.C. area for over 70 years, and this is the first time that we’re not going to be able to perform for our family, friends and fans during the holiday season,” artistic director Joe Cerutti told WTOP. “It is affording us the opportunity to [do] things we’ve never been able to do before.”
While the Alexandria Harmonizers will represent the East Coast, the Seattle-based Northwest Sound will represent the West Coast, hence the “Coast to Coast” moniker.
“They are a larger, male a cappella chorus very active within their community,” Cerutti said. “We said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we did this together?’ … We’ve got about 20 other guest groups that will be involved in the show from not only all over the country but all over the world. There’s a choral ensemble from Germany that will be joining us.”
The concert was obviously complex to pull off from a production standpoint.
“We will be using videos from holiday performances last year, or we have done a number of virtual choir-style performances, meaning all of the different faces are on the screen recorded at home,” Cerutti said. “These videos completely exceeded our expectations. It’s not just staring at faces the whole time, there is a bit more production value.”
The end result runs about two hours long with plenty of unique performances.
“We have a quartet of 18-year-old quadruplets from Wisconsin called Vintage Mix,” Cerutti said. “We also have a number of family ensembles — the Trey Mack Family Singers, the Workman Family Singers that got together and learned songs.”
What holiday songs can we expect to hear?
“It’s hard to say a Christmas song that is not going to be involved in this show, from some of the more popular ones like ‘You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,’ to some of the more classic carols like ‘Silent Night.’ This show runs the gamut of holiday material.”
The event is free, but donations are welcome to two charities. Northwest Sound will benefit the Seattle poverty organization Hopelink, while the Alexandria Harmonizers will benefit T.A.P.S. (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors).
“T.A.P.S. is well-known here in the D.C. area and the country and the world for providing comfort and care to all of those who are grieving the death of a military loved one,” Cerutti said. “We realize right now that there are so many [people] struggling because of this pandemic, but it is important to still keep in mind the military support.”
He hopes the concert will uplift folks with holiday spirit after a rough year.
“With the incredibly difficult year that we’ve had for so many different reasons … can we bring harmony to this community in a different way?” Cerutti said. “We’re hoping we can reach out to people who need the overall spirit of harmony, giving and the holidays in a year where it’s needed more than ever before.”