God Bless Us Everyone: 3pm and 7:30pm
“God Bless Us Everyone” centered around a 'story theater' production of Charles Dickens’ immortal A Christmas Carol. The short story was presented in an adapted format: Charles Dickens was present to narrate his tale, and was accompanied by a group of actor-readers representing Bob Cratchit; Tiny Tim; the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Future; and, of course, the irascible Ebenezer Scrooge.
Throughout the reading of the story, the hustle and bustle of Christmas was provided by the Chamber Singers and a full orchestra who offered a wide variety of popular carols, arranged or penned by the renowned group of composers associated with the remarkable Choir of King’s College, Cambridge: John Rutter, David Willcocks, and Bob Chilcott. The Chamber Singers was joined by the Seymour High School Chorale under the direction of Kyle Karum, a member of the Chamber Singers himself.
Designed for the entire family, the production included a sing-along, captivating projections and illustrations, and lively banter by the actors. The concert was a new lighter offering by the Chamber Singers, widely recognized as one of the finest choruses in the region, whose core repertoire includes major oratorios and choral music from the Renaissance to the present day. The fifty-voice mixed chorus is directed by Gerald Sousa, now in his 26th year as Music Director.
Our program booklet is here.
Here is the review of our concert in the Bloomington Herald-Times:
Review: Holiday music performances convey spirit, skill
By Peter Jacobi | H-T Reviewer | email@example.com | Dec 5, 2016
Rather than its annual “Messiah Sing-Along,” the Bloomington Chamber Singers twice on Saturday in the Buskirk-Chumley Theater presented “God Bless Us, Every One,” Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” in narration and action, all enriched by music carefully chosen by the choir’s artistic director, Gerald Sousa. The script was developed and then directed by Tom Shafer who, for 25 years, served as dramaturg at IU’s Department of Theater, Drama, and Contemporary Dance.
The event seemed to work, drawing ever-increasing bouts of applause. And why shouldn’t it? Dickens’s tale remains a favorite. Shafer’s script, with deft additions and subtractions from the original, captured the flavor of Victorian England, even without sets. Bloomington North senior Adrian Cox Thurmond, sitting at front stage center, read the story to “His Brother,” Callum Miles, who deserves approval for sitting cross-legged next to reader Thurmond and listening. Thurmond did his storytelling most effectively.
Shafer, using his own script, portrayed Ebenezer Scrooge with needed vitality and a touch of humor. His colleagues as the Ghosts of Christmas were Charles Macklin (Past), Lisa Kurz (Present), and Tyler Halliwell (Yet to Come). They and the remainder of actors got into the heart of things, selling the spirit of Christmas.
The pick-up orchestra watched conductor Sousa carefully and played well. The choral aspects, as one expected, were winning, thanks to Sousa’s Bloomington Chamber Singers and Kyle Karum’s invited Seymour High School Chorale and Chamber Choir. The choristers sang an abundance of music that carried the story and celebrated the holiday.
“God Bless Us, Every One” is a promising concept that might spread.