This December, discover the “entertainments” that evolved to define Christmastime for the Shakers at Canterbury, and sing along with the Canterbury Singers, in two free Bach’s Lunch programs at Concord Community Music School.
On Thursday at 12:10 p.m., Becky Soules, interpretation manager at Canterbury Shaker Village, presents a Bach’s Lunch Lecture entitled “Shaker Christmas Entertainments.” During the 200 years that Shakers lived at Canterbury Shaker Village, their Christmas traditions evolved and changed – from simple religious services in the 19th century to elaborate theatricals and musicals in the 20th century. Hear about these Christmas “entertainments” that were written, directed and performed by the women of the village between the 1880s and the 1930s, in order to sustain Shaker communal life and build ties of love and union.
The following Thursday, Dec. 12, at 12:10 p.m., the Canterbury Singers, with director Kathryn Southworth, present a Bach’s Lunch Concert, “Come, the Feast is Ready! A Shaker Christmas.” The Canterbury Singers originated at Canterbury Shaker Village more than 20 years ago, and are now a program of the Concord Community Music School in partnership with the village. The group has expanded into a musical community of devoted singers and admirers of the Shaker legacy. In addition to sharing traditional and Christmas-related tunes, hymns, and anthems of the Shakers, the Canterbury Singers will invite the audience to join them in traditional carols of the season.
Bach’s Lunch programs are free and open to the public, and take place from 12:10 p.m. to 12:50 p.m. on the first and second Thursdays of each month, November through May, in the Music School’s Recital Hall, 23 Wall St., downtown Concord.
The Bach’s Lunch Series is sponsored by The Timothy and Abigail B. Walker Lecture Fund.
For more information, please call 228-1196 or visit ccmusicschool.org.
About the artists
Becky Soules is the interpretation manager at Canterbury Shaker Village, where she manages the exhibits, tours and educational programs. Soules received her master’s degree in public humanities from Brown University, and was introduced to the Shakers a decade ago, when she spent two summers at Canterbury Shaker Village as a summer intern. From that experience, her interest in the Shakers blossomed, and she eventually wrote her thesis on the Canterbury Shakers in the early 20th century. She came back to the village as a full-time employee in 2016, and strives to use the village’s richly diverse collections – including 8,000-plus photographs and 100,000-plus artifacts – to share the history of the Shakers with the public.
The Canterbury Singers is a vocal ensemble for adults and teens, based at Concord Community Music School. This ensemble presents authentic Shaker music, arrangements of American folk songs, music of early America, and inspired arrangements by a variety of composers, often in partnership with Canterbury Shaker Village. One of the very few non-auditioned, high-quality, professionally directed choral experiences for mixed voices (men and women blended ensemble) in the Capital Area, the Canterbury Singers rehearse in Concord on Tuesday evenings and welcome new singers at any time of year. The director is Kathryn Southworth.
Liza Poinier Concord Community Music School