The Bach Choir of Bethlehem has released a new Christmas CD—and its first that has young listeners in mind.
A Child’s Christmas in Bethlehem is the Bach Choir’s fourth recording for Analekta, Canada’s premiere classical music label. The CD combines music and spoken word from across the centuries and around the world.
“’Tis the night before Christmas and all through the world people gather to share stories, poems and music of this wondrous night.” Thus Greg Funfgeld, the narrator of A Child’s Christmas in Bethlehem, draws us into a beautiful recording that includes carols spanning seven centuries and five languages as well as poems and stories that take us from Bethlehem in the Holy Land, where we are present at the birth of Jesus as seen through a child’s eyes, to diverse Christmas traditions of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in the present day.
The music for A Child’s Christmas in Bethlehem was chosen by Funfgeld, the choir’s conductor and artistic director. The Bach Choir is joined by The Bel Canto Children’s Chorus, which is comprised of auditioned treble singers from five counties in southeastern Pennsylvania.
The spoken word was compiled by Bridget George, The Bach Choir’s executive director, who says that the vision was to “create a recording for families to treasure in the belief that it is never too early - or too late - to instill the love of great music and literature and lift our spirits with this beautiful meditation on the meaning of Christmas. We wanted it to be pure delight for the ears and heart.”
The voices of adults and children, directed by Touchstone Theatre’s Bill George, bring us poems from Robert Herrick, William Blake, G.K. Chesterton, Anne Porter, and student poets from Freemansburg Elementary School. Stories include excerpts from The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder; Snow Over Bethlehem by Katherine Mihous, based on the early history of the Bethlehem Moravians; and The Night We Almost Saw The Three Kings by Zaida Padilla.
The CDs may also be purchased on-line at The Bach Choir’s website, bach.org and locally at the Moravian Bookstore.