Apollo’s Fire reminisces about Christmases of old in Appalachia-themed concert

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In its fifth appearance at the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State, Apollo’s Fire, The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, will present “Christmas on Sugarloaf Mountain: A Celtic-Appalachian Celebration.” The 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, program at Schwab Auditorium will feature musical holiday memories translated via the spiritual traditions of Appalachian music.

The ensemble, featuring 11 instrumentalists and 16 choristers, is conducted by harpsichordist and artistic director Jeannette Sorrell and will be accompanied by two vocal soloists — soprano Amanda Forsythe and tenor Ross Hauck.

On the 2015 recording “Sugarloaf Mountain: An Appalachian Gathering,” the “U.S.A.’s hottest baroque band” (Classical Music Magazine) revisited the roots of Appalachia for another Billboard-charting release. With this new program, the ensemble returns to the mix of fiddle tunes, British ballads, Irish carols, southern hymns and toe-tapping African spirituals for an evening of songs from Christmases past.

Gramophone praised the “Sugarloaf” collection as “beautiful and eloquent ... Sorrell’s magical, rapt harpsichord ... reveals how profoundly spontaneous this folk music is at its core.” ClevelandClassical.com called the “haunting melodies, foot-stomping jigs and reels, stories and a healthy dose of comedy ... an absolutely joyous achievement.”

Find more information about the performance.

Gay and James Dunne sponsor the performance. William E. McTurk Endowment provides support.

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Last Updated November 08, 2017