EVERETT — Saturday and Sunday mark Lee Mathews’ final Christmas concerts with the Everett Chorale. The longtime conductor-director is retiring in the spring.
Mathews has always prepared delightful holiday concerts, as this one will be as well.
“Our traditional program of Christmas favorites from the past 25 years will include sacred and secular songs by internationally renowned composer John Rutter,” said Mathews, who is a big fan of Rutter.
The soloist for the program is baritone Ryan Bede, who appeared with the chorale last season in its performance of John Rutter’s “Mass of the Children.” Bede returns to perform Ralph Vaughan William’s “Fantasia on Christmas Carols” and a suite of Christmas spirituals arranged by Robert DeCormier.
The concert also features a medley of Christmas classics by Irving Berlin including “White Christmas.” Audience requests — such as “Do You Hear What I Hear?” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” — from a survey taken earlier this year, also will be heard.
“To top it all off,” Mathews said, the chorale will sing the pop classics “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire).”
“It will be a wonderful way to start off your Christmas season as you reminisce along with us through the past performances of everyone’s favorite holiday songs,” Mathews said.
Bede, a Tacoma native, made his Seattle Opera debut in May during the production of “The Magic Flute.”
He also played Prince Yamadori in Seattle Opera’s “Madame Butterfly” and Fiorello in “The Barber of Seville.”
Bede has performed extensively throughout the Northwest and in Europe. He teaches voice at the University of Puget Sound. He studied at UPS and the University of Washington.
Everett Chorale’s Favorite Songs of Christmas
7 p.m. Dec. 2 and again at 3 p.m. Dec. 3, Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave.
Tickets — $20 general, $17 for students, seniors, military — are available by calling the box office at 425-257-8600 or online at www.everettchorale.org/buy_tickets.php. Season tickets, with discounts, also are available.
The Everett Chorale also is set to perform at the 17th Christmas Spectacular at 6 p.m. Dec. 6 at Everett Civic Auditorium. The Dorothy Jayne Foundation, which sponsors the program, plans to donate proceeds to the Make A Wish Foundation. More about the Spectacular at www.thechristmasspectacular.com.