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Fall performances will feature noted instrumentalists

The Commonwealth Chorale, under the leadership of Director Norma Williams, will present Johann Sebastian Bach’s joyous Christmas Oratorio in two performances in December. The opening concert will be Sunday, Dec. 2, 3 p.m. at College Church, Hampden-Sydney, with a repeat performance the following Sunday, Dec. 9, 3 p.m. at Farmville United Methodist Church.

Kimberly Parker

Singers interested in performing with the Chorale are invited to attend the first rehearsal Tuesday, Oct. 9, 7:00-10 p.m. at Farmville Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, 200 W. Third St. The score is the G. Schirmer edition of Johann Sebastian Bach’s complete Christmas Oratorio, which should be brought to the rehearsal. Scores are available for purchase online at www.amazon.com. Young singers age 12 and over are also invited to participate. For more information, call (434) 392-7545 or visit the Chorale’s website: www.commonwealthchorale.org.

The Chorale is honored to announce that several prominent Central Virginia instrumentalists will accompany both performances. The pianist will be Kimberly Parker, Adjunct Professor of Piano at Liberty University. Parker holds a bachelor’s in Piano Pedagogy from Bryan College and a master’s degree in Music and Worship from Liberty University. She has served on the faculty there since 2015. In addition to her teaching duties she performs as a collaborative pianist and soloist at the University and in the greater Lynchburg area. She also maintains a thriving private piano studio, and advocates for the lifelong pursuit of joy and excellence in music making.

Alyssa McKeithen

Also performing will be trumpeter Nat Boyd, a frequent guest soloist for the Commonwealth Chorale whose virtuosity never fails to dazzle. Longtime audience members will remember Boyd’s soaring trumpet solos in the Chorale’s Messiah performances. Educated at Goucher College and the University of Richmond, Boyd has been Director of Instrumental Music— AP Music Theory for the Richmond Public Schools since 2000. He has played trumpet with the Petersburg Symphony Orchestra for the past 18 years, and formerly directed the Virginia Union University Pep and Jazz Band.

Alyssa McKeithen, Adjunct Instructor of Oboe and Music History at Virginia Commonwealth University since 2015, will play oboe accompaniment. McKeithen received musical training and degrees from the Eastman School of Music, The University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, The University of Florida and privately. Prior to coming to VCU, she taught at University of Florida, Eastman School of Music, and Texan Lutheran University. In addition to her academic pursuits, she has been an active freelance performer, playing oboe, English horn, and bassoon with various symphony orchestras in Florida and Virginia, including The Roanoke Symphony and The Richmond Symphony. Since 2007, she has owned and operated an online business providing handmade reeds and processed cane for oboe and English horn enthusiasts.

The Commonwealth Chorale is pleased to bring Bach’s glorious music, accompanied by these fine instrumentalists, to our community as its fall concert season offering.