The centerpiece of the program is a medley of vocal highlights from the ever-popular Les Miserables. Come hear "I Dreamed a Dream, "On My Own," "Do You Hear the People Sing," and lots more from this now classic musical theater score, which since its 1985 opening has been seen by over 65 million people, and now ranks as the longest-running show in history. Broadway is also represented by QVS (as are film and even opera) in the Gershwin brothers' "Someone to Watch Over Me," from Oh, Kay! of 1926; Cole Porter's rousing "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" from Anything Goes (1934); "Over the Rainbow" from Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg's The Wizard of Oz (originally a movie, released in 1939); and "Summertime" from the Gershwins' opera Porgy and Bess (1935). Two more charmers from those fertile thirties are Warren and Dubin's "I Only Have Eyes for You" (1934), written for a film called Dames, and Fain and Kahal's "I'll Be Seeing You" (1938)--a classic that started life independent of any musical show or film.
Bringing us back closer to the present are "The Rose" by Amanda McBroom, made famous by Bette Midler in the late 1970s; James Taylor's "That Lonesome Road," from his album Dad Loves His Work (1981); and a medley of sunny west-coast favorites from the 1960s: "California Dreamin'" and "Monday, Monday" by the Mamas and Papas, "Surfin' U.S.A." from the beach Boys, and the Turtles' "Happy Together." All numbers are ably accompanied by Brooks Milgate.
The centerpiece of these concerts will be the Story of the Birth of Jesus Christ (ca. 1660) by early Baroque composer Heinrich Schütz. Schütz, who composed his piece while he was court composer to the Elector of Saxony in Dresden, Germany, was a master musician, the most important German composer before J. S. Bach. His Historia der Geburt Jesu Christi tells the marvelous Christmas story we all know so well, narrated throughout by an "Evangelist" (here sung by four different QVS tenors), and with choruses and arias for angels, shepherds, Wise Men, King Herod, and four high priests. It is a deeply devotional, deeply Christmasy piece. QVS performs it in English translation, with organ accompaniment by Brooks Milgate.
In keeping with the Schütz piece, the rest of QVS's concerts will be German music for Christmas. Composers Felix Mendelssohn and J. S. Bach will be represented, but there will also be audience favorites--including several singalongs--like "Lo, how a Rose e'er blooming," "In dulci jubilo," "Hark! the herald angels sing," "O Christmas tree," and "Silent Night" (sung by the chorus in its original version, with guitar accompaniment, and by everyone in the version more familiar today). These concerts will take QVS audiences far away from early 21st-century commercial dreariness, and back to a Christmas much closer to the original magic of the great midwinter Christian festival celebrating Christ's birth.