Adeste Fidelis (Oh Come all ye Faithful) resonated throughout St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Jim Thorpe as the Bach and Handel Chorale began its procession.
Within moments, this historical church with its Tiffany window and its manual Austin Organ was filled with angelic voices that sang well-known Christmas carols such as the "Little Drummer Boy" and not so well known songs such "Gentle Jesus, Gift of Love" and "Mary's Lullaby."
The packed church had the opportunity to observe Randall Douglas Perry, chorale founder, conductor and music director, as he skillfully conducted and accompanied the chorale on the Austin Organ.
The Bach and Handel Chorale, composed of 41 people is a delightful gathering of both experienced and new voices.
There are five charter members who have been with the chorale for 27 years or longer, one of whom is Perry's mother, Eleanor Perry, and three new singers, who are the youngest members of the chorale. The Bach and Handel Chorale was founded in 1984 in anticipation of the 300th anniversaries of Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel.
Perry began his career in sacred music at age 11 and has served as organist and director of music for eight parishes. He has been honored and awarded several times for his outstanding contributions to music in the area.
The chorale is a member of the American Bach Society and dedicates itself to performing the works of Bach, Handel, and other masters. In addition to its Christmas programs, it performs on Easter and frequently appears throughout eastern Pennsylvania.
The chorale will perform two additional Christmas concerts next weekend in Ringtown and Trexlertown.
The chorale will also perform Handel's "Messiah" with Festival Orchestra and soloists at 3 p.m. on Dec. 17 in Jim Thorpe at the Mauch Chunk Opera House
For more information about the chorale, visit http://bachandhandelchorale.org.