Dancin’ around the Christmas tree in a new old-fashioned way is at the heart of Forte’s annual Christmas show, which is Dec. 5-6 in Richland.
Forte is a youth choir composed of students from seven different high schools in the Tri-City area. The teens are required to take both dance and vocal auditions for admission.
“We have an exciting mix of old and new Christmas songs from both jazz and pop genres,” said Heather Hull Hart, artistic director of the 23-voice ensemble. “Most of our songs mash up old and new together in each song. You’ll hear an old, but familiar carol rearranged to sound very modern, and a Christmas pop standard revamped to sound like a fresh new piece.”
“A New Old-Fashioned Christmas” is at Dec. 5-6 with an additional 2 p.m. matinee Dec. 6 in the auditorium at Chief Joseph Middle School in Richland. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors.
Some of those traditional songs include Jingle Bells sung in a Michael Bublé kind of way, and a jazzy version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Hart said. An added treat will be a 40-voice children’s choir formed specifically for the Forte Christmas concert. There also will be a nostalgic kick to “A New Old-Fashioned Christmas” as Forte rearranges songs from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.
Other songs taking on a more creative role in the show are tunes from contemporary Christian artists like Sidewalk Prophets, Francesca Battistelli, Jason Gray, For King and Country, Point of Grace and City on a Hill.
Tri-City dancer Marlie Buriak is the choreographer for the ensemble.
“The stage promises to look beautiful,” Hart said. “And our talented choreographer Marlie added some dazzling fun to the choreography.”
Angela Townsend, a 17-year-old Richland High student, joined Forte last year and says this year’s concert is packed with variety.
“I think the music this season has been unique in the way that it exposes Forte members to such a variety of styles,” Angela said. “The music provides every person with abundant opportunities to really dig in and get down to the nitty-gritty, so to speak. It’s been a challenge, but we’ve all grown as musicians throughout the season, and I truly believe that is what makes the music and our preparation for the show so remarkable.”