CRESTVIEW — Every other year the community gets a double dose of pleasurable holiday spirits from the Crestview High School chorus, and 2013 was the year for us to be treated.
As if the previous weekend's Madrigal Dinner wasn't enough, the 120-voice chorus's always enjoyable Christmas concert was just icing on the gingerbread.
Under the able hand of choral music director Kevin Lusk, the kids took Thursday night's audience through a winter wonderland of song, including old favorites, new music, and favorites given a new twist.
As they've done in the recent past, the Destiny and Chanticleer show choirs alternated during the first set. A standout number for the former was "Mr. Santa," sung to the tune of the 1954 pop song "Mr. Sandman."
Chanticleer's doo-wop version of "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" rounded out the set as a toe-tapping follow-up to the ensemble's equally fun version of "Jingle Bells" that opened with a smooth solo by Paolo Hora.
The Men's Choir's version of "Winter Wonderland" was a pretty piece, though couldn't quite top the Women's Choir's stunning "Little Drummer Boy," which like Ravel's "Bolero," built and built to a joyous crescendo.
The women's rousing, perky sleigh ride song, "Jing-a-Ling, Jing-a-Ling," was likewise a delightful wintery romp that segued into Chorale's set of more stately music.
The elite choir's rendition of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" ratcheted my Christmas spirits into high gear, especially as it wasn't the version we normally hear.
Chorale's performance of the Caribbean carol, "The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy," featured a piano duet between accompanist Leon Curenton and special guest Pam Myers that beautifully enhanced the spiritual.
Rounding out the evening, the entire chorus was augmented by more than 25 chorus alumni in the traditional performance of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" from "The Messiah."
The rousing piece always draws the audience to its feet, not just out of respectful tradition but in enthusiastic appreciation for another enjoyable concert that never fails to be a precious Christmas gift.
If I may offer one criticism, it would be that we had trouble hearing the soft but lovely voices of the Destiny girls, especially when they'd be executing choreography that resounded on the wooden stage and platforms, nearly drowning out the singers.
My only other lament is that 8-year-old Waylon Hopwood, a Bob Sikes Elementary School student, won the Oreo cheesecake door prize and I didn't. But 'tis the season to be generous, so I won't begrudge my loss. Merry Christmas, Waylon.