Sunday, December 13, 2009

25GoC: Sara Bennett Wealer

My Favorite Choral Christmas Pieces

By: Sara Bennett Wealer

Some of my best memories are of singing in choir—especially at Christmas, when there’s so much beautiful music to be performed and enjoyed. Those memories are a big reason why I put my debut novel, RIVAL (HarperTeen, Winter 2011), in a choral setting. My main characters, Brooke and Kathryn, are enemies and opposites, but they share a love of music. I’d like to share that love with you, along with some of my favorite choral Christmas pieces.  Maybe you’ll find some new favorites for your holiday playlist.

1. In The Bleak Midwinter

This song just seems to capture the mystery, simplicity and even the melancholy of Christmas. I especially love this particular arrangement.

2. Biebl’s Ave Maria

I don’t think a more beautiful piece of music exists, and this version gives a nice feel for the way the two choirs answer each other. There’s a lot of repetition, so if you’re in a hurry listen to  1:35 and then skip to 4:39. As a soprano, I can tell you there’s nothing more glorious than singing that final “Amen.”

3. The Wassail Song

It’s a classic, and this arrangement is a blast to sing. Here, it’s done by an all-male group. So much fun--and you’ve got to love the “Glee”-esque show choir!

4. What Sweeter Music?

I had this song performed at my December wedding. I just love the melody and what it has to say about the true meaning of Christmas. 

5. For Unto Us a Child is Born

Of course, I had to include Handel’s Messiah! You’ve probably heard this song all over the place, but I’m a purist—must have the real deal. And it’s so much fun singing those long vocal runs!

6. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

OK, so it’s not a choral piece, but this rendition by Tori Amos is just amazing, and it sums up my wish for all of you. Have yourself a merry, happy holiday, however you celebrate it!


Sara Bennett Wealer grew up in Manhattan, Kansas (the “Little Apple”), where she sang with the show choir and wrote for her high school newspaper. She majored in voice at the University of Kansas before deciding she had no business trying to make a career as an opera singer and transferred to journalism school.

Sara now lives in Cincinnati with her husband and two daughters. She still sings when her schedule allows—most recently with the official chorus of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Her debut novel, RIVAL, will be released by HarperTeen in 2011.

1 comment:

Sara said...

Hey, Jill - Thank you soooo much for inviting me to be part of this. It's been so much fun reading everybody else's entries!

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays!