Christmas at Immaculate Conception: Carols of the Nativity

Louisville Chorus
Daniel Spurlock – Director
– with Juliana Horton, organ

The Louisville Chorus spread their wings this weekend to entertain the lovely citizens of Oldham County at Immaculate Conception in LaGrange for their Carols of the Nativity. They have been doing this for a number of years now as it is a tradition for many to attend. I am happy to have made the drive up I-71 for this special concert.

Immaculate Conception is a beautiful church: clean, cavernous and simple. I was happy to see a nice sized audience for the concert too. So, let’s talk about the performance.

Upon the beginning of Gloria in Excelsis Deo I was a little worried. Despite the modest size of the organ sitting just to the side, it creates a large sound and under the agile fingers of organist Julianna Horton, even more so. Because of the volume of the organ and the size of the chapel, it was very difficult to hear the Chorus. I am happy to say that I believe everybody started to realize the balance was a bit off and was corrected as best as it could have been. I still believe a little bit of amplification could have been of benefit though.

Throughout the afternoon there was a beautiful mix of a cappella and accompanied Christmastide music that included organ, flute/piccolo, cello and harp.

One of the highlights of the concert was Pytor Illyich Tchaikovsky’s A Legend. A fantastic job from the Chorus with this a cappella piece. Every note and emotion was met within this song.

Alfred Burt’s Carols Medley featured Tenor Ryan Ludwig who performed with finesse and had some of the most interesting moving musical lines within the alto section that kept my ears perked up. As is often a case in a cappella singing, by the end of Bright, Bright the Holly Berries, the whole of the chorus had gotten a little flat.

No matter, Mark Williams’ Sleep, Little Holy Child (based on Still, Still, Still) with flutist Melanie Pawful and harpist Luneita Cotton was lush and serene.

In the Catalonian Carol Fum Fum Fum, I was very impressed with the handling of the difficult piccolo line and it was obvious that the Chorus was having a good time singing this piece.

In the second half of the program we were lucky to hear some fantastic soloists, such as: Darlene Welch performing a tricky descant in Three Kings from Persian Lands Afar, and Sleep Holy Babe’s trio consisting of Lynn Carrie, Marilynn McCormick and Rose Pinotti Smith. In a Franz Gruber Silent Night there was a duet, but I am not sure who the lovely altos were, but it was beautiful.

As is the case of many choruses around the World there are usually a lot more women than men so they get the bulk of the work, but I wanted to say Bravo to the men’s section that had a chance to shine in Candlelight Carol…and shine they did. I will say that throughout the afternoon I was hoping that some tenors would come out of the woodwork and rescue the lone three that were performing (admirably I would add). It is a lot of work for three tenors to carry a whole choral section, but luckily there were some songs that some lower altos were able to pinch hit for.

Travis Carlisle’s cello work on the French Noël Nouvelet was charming as was the choral performance. Despite being a traditional French carol I was surprised that the arrangement that was performed had an Edwardian feel to it. I liked it very much.

As I Went to Bethlehem closed a warm and inviting Christmas concert by the Louisville Chorus. If you have a chance to see them, do so. They certainly have set the Christmastime mood.

Bravo Tutti.

Christmas at Immaculate Conception: Carols of the Nativity

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Christmas at St. Brigid: Carols of the Nativity
– with Juliana Horton, organ

Sunday, December 13 at 4:00pm

St. Brigid Catholic Church
1520 Hepburn Ave @ Baxter
Louisville, KY 40204

Tickets: $20 General, $15 Senior, $5 Student
Order online at
or call 502-968-6300