Washington Chorus prepares for ‘A Candlelight Christmas’ at Strathmore, Kennedy Center

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews The Washington Chorus' 'A Candlelight Christmas' (Part 1)

Get ready for goosebumps as a holiday tradition returns to the nation’s capital under the magical glow of candlelight.

The Washington Chorus presents its annual concert “A Candlelight Christmas” at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland, on Friday, Dec. 15, followed by the Kennedy Center in D.C. on Dec. 16, Dec. 20, Dec. 21 and Dec. 22.

“I’m very excited,” artistic director Eugene Rogers told WTOP. “We definitely have some special highlights, treats and surprises this year and some really remarkable collaborators. … Aaron Myers, who’s no surprise to the D.C. area, an arts advocate, composer and award-winning jazz soloist … we’ve got two side-by-side youth groups, the GenOUT Youth Chorus, D.C.’s only LGBTQ+-allied youth chorus, then Takoma Park Academy will also join us.”

Over 170 singers will also be joined by National Capital Brass and Percussion to perform a festive set list that includes “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “In the Bleak Midwinter” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

“The chorus processes in with candles to the powerful ‘Once in Royal David’s City,'” Rogers said. “We’ll sing tunes like ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’ … [Myers] will accompany himself singing ‘The Christmas Song.’ … We have a huge Christmas medley that includes things like ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,’ ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ and ‘Joy to the World.’ … Then we end with our beloved ‘The Dream Isaiah Saw’ and ‘Silent Night.'”

The candlelit atmosphere is guaranteed to put you into the holiday spirit.

“Having the candles be the center of this concert not only is beautiful aesthetically … both Strathmore Music Center and Kennedy Center Concert Hall are stunningly beautiful halls, but to start this concert in the dark with candles as a reminder of peace and love, then fast-forward to the end for ‘Silent Night,’ to have just those candles in the room while everyone is singing together, it is such a unifier, regardless of one’s background,” Rogers said.

Such a unifying moment is needed now more than ever in a world of violent divisions.

“The candles represent the beauty of the light, the season and Christ, but also peace, which we know with multiple wars going on in our world, strife in our own country, poverty, [homelessness], the candles have so much more meaning than just a beautiful, feel-good moment,” Rogers said. “As a community, all of us together being united, hoping and wishing for peace in our world and our own communities, I don’t think it gets better than that.”

Find more information here.

WTOP's Jason Fraley previews The Washington Chorus' 'A Candlelight Christmas' (Part 2)

Listen to our full conversation here.

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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