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Home for the Holidays: “A John Rutter Christmas”

By Kaiyah Clarke | Staff Writer
On January 2, 2018

Dr. Leslie Heffner conducting the Tallahassee Civic Chorale at a rehearsal
for the concert. Photo credit: Todd Hinkle 

To start off the holiday season, the Tallahassee Civic Chorale has plans to put the Tallahassee community in a familial frame of mind with “A John Rutter Christmas” concert.

The Tallahassee Civic Chorale is a non-profit municipal chorus that was established in 1986. The chorale follows a traditional soprano, alto, tenor, bass (SATB) style accompanied by 40 to 50 singers.

According to the chorale’s website, its vision embraces that “music benefits the world culture” and that “high-quality choral music, in particular, has great power to bring out the higher good in people.”

The Tallahassee Civic Chorale opens its 32 season with “A John Rutter Christmas” as its fall concert. The concert got its name from English composer and arranger, John Rutter. The pieces featured will be original to Rutter as well as the traditional carols that he will add a jovial spin on.

The Tallahassee Civic Chorale has been preparing for this concert since the last week of August.

Dr. Leslie Heffner, who is the artistic director of the Tallahassee Civic Chorale and conductor of “A John Rutter Christmas,” shared her remarkable experience of sharing her programming ideas for the upcoming concert.

“The audience will hear some traditional, well-known carols such as ‘Joy to the World, Go Tell It on the Mountain,’ and ‘Away in a Manger’ as well as some lesser known Christmas works that include ‘What Sweeter Music,’ ‘Carols of Magi and Dormi, Jesu,’” Heffner said. “The music describes the promise of a Savior, the birth of Jesus, the journey of the wise men to see the Savior, and the announcement of the Savior’s birth. The Chorale is also pleased to welcome a string quartet to this performance.”

The chorale has taken on true holiday spirit. Todd Hinkle, the Tallahassee Civic Chorale’s president, spoke on the chorale’s efforts of giving hope to those who may need it during the holiday season.

The Tallahassee Civic Chorale singing at a performance. 
Photo credit: Todd Hinkle 

“We also schedule several small performances (we call them sing-outs) in the week leading up to the concert at nursing homes, homeless shelters, places where we sing for folks who might not otherwise be able to attend a performance,” Hinkle said. “These sing-outs are one the most rewarding parts of the process everywhere we go, the audience is so appreciative and we get to ‘road test’ some of our songs before the big concert.”

Some of the singers have reported an overall good review of the non-audition chorale. The extracurricular has grown on Kelli Herm, mezzo (second soprano) singer and participant, who is excited about the performance.

“My experience with the chorale has been wonderful. I moved to Tallahassee from my home state of Michigan three years ago and I was blessed to discover this group soon after moving,” Herm said. “The Civic Chorale became one of my extended families away from home.”

“A John Rutter Christmas” will be shown at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 12, at TCC’s Turner Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased at or at the door the night of the performance.


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