What would Christmas be without the annual hospice concert? If we are lucky, we never will have to find out.
Once again Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Oak Bluffs was decked out profusely in candles and greens, setting the stage for a varied and moving concert on Dec. 19.
Judy Williamson and Terre Young offered brief introductions on the importance of hospice, which offers a support system to people at the end of life when they and their loved ones need it most.
Linda McGuire spoke eloquently on the power and wonder of hospice. “They brought us to the edge,” she said, and her husband continued on. The words of praise set the tone for the musical program.
Wesley Brown on organ set a tone of elegance for the 90-minute rendition of both classical and modern music, designed to enhance the season and emphasize the importance of Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard.
Judging by the applause from the full house, the Katama Trio of Matt Pelikan on recorder, Jan Hyer on cello and Joan Solomon on piano was outstanding in the Sonata in C major by Pepusch. The octet Novum (vocals) was well received by the audience, especially their Suo Gan, a Welsh lullaby which earned enthusiastic applause. Tenor Kevin Ryan and Soprano Shelley Brown dominated.
Not to be outdone, the sextet West Tisbury Congregational Church bell choir played selections with a meticulous attention to detail. They were impressive.
If there is a criticism to be offered, it was that the choir was invisible to the crowd, tucked away in the choir loft. Their voices carried magnificently throughout the church, but it would have been a treat to see their faces. They sounded grand.
Accompanists Peter Boak and Wesley Brown kept the music flowing. Tight choreography between sets indicated that the several groups had rehearsed rigorously.
As the congregation sang Silent Night, holding lighted candles, the sense of peace and holiness permeated the atmosphere of the little church. Once again hospice presented a glorious celebration of the holiday season, and all who attended showed their deep appreciation for this charitable institution.