Northern Lights Choir hosts holiday concert Friday

The Northern Lights Choir rehearses Monday night at St. Bernard’s Church in Saranac Lake. The groups annual winter concert is this Friday night at the church. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

SARANAC LAKE — Northern Lights Choir Director Helen Demong said she likes to have a diverse group of people singing a diverse set of music.

“It’s a combination of opera buffa, Americana, Christmas and Hanukkah music, which creates a very eclectic mix,” she said. “Some groups strictly do holiday or strictly do sacred music. I like to think of our group as a food menu that has different styles to help balance everything out. We’re catering to a whole community.”

The Northern Lights Choir will host it’s annual winter concert Friday at 8 p.m. at St. Bernard’s Church.

Demong said one of the things that makes the Northern Lights Choir so special is that it brings together people from all over the area. Since the groups creation in 2013, she said there has been a growing “espirite de corps.” That’s a French phrase, meaning a sense of loyalty and connection among a group.

“We have 73 voices,” she said, “and they come from places like Keene, Keene Valley, Tupper Lake, Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, Saranac — all over. They’re different ages and come from different backgrounds, too. Some are doctors or teachers while others work blue collar jobs; some are college and high school students.”

Northern Lights Choir Director Helen Demong, left, conducts the group during a rehearsal for its winter concert Friday, Dec. 7 at St. Bernard’s Church in Saranac Lake. (Enterprise photo — Griffin Kelly)

Every year, Demong said her goal is to showcase the impressive talent of the Northern Lights Choir’s singers.

“I always have a piece just for the women, and I always have a piece just for the men,” she said.

The Northern Lights Choir’s Women’s Choir will present a haunting, new composition called “The Rising,” followed by the Men’s Choir singing a Christmas plainsong “O Come O Come, Emmanuel.” The rest of the show will feature pieces such as “Have yourself a merry little Christmas,” songs from the new musical “The Greatest Showman,” and duet from Kimberly Weems and Christopher Gould of “Con Te Partiro” (Time to say goodbye). There will also be an opera buffa piece, which is the comic relief music in an opera.

“Opera isn’t always serious,” Demong said. “Humans need that comedy, so we invite them to laugh during the singing.”

To close the concert NLC has invited the audience to lift their voices with the choir and sing “Angels we have heard on high.”

If you go…

What: Northern Lights Choir Winter Concert

When: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7

Where: St. Bernard’s Church, 27 St. Bernard St., Saranac Lake

How much: Donations of $10 at the door. Advanced tickets at Ampersound Music in Saranac Lake

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