Celebrate an Early American Christmas with THE ROSE ENSEMBLE, Sunday December 15

Houston Early Music’s annual celebration of the season. 

And Glory Shone Around: An Early American Christmas

Carols, Country Dances, Hymns and Spiritual Songs

SUNDAY, DEC. 15, 2013, 5:00 PM
Christ Church Cathedral
1117 Texas Avenue Houston, Texas 77002

Pre-concert talk by ensemble members at 4:15pm

Rose Ensemble 2011_outdooradj

An Early American Christmas: Carols, Country Dances, Hymns and Spiritual Songs

Like Saint Nicholas, The Rose Ensemble returns to Houston for a joyful evening of glad tidings and good cheer.  From Shaker hymns and Colonial anthems to ballads, country dances and shape-note hymns, this extraordinary performance highlights the early forms that will later give birth to bluegrass and old-time music.  Journey through the dance halls of Boston to the hills of Appalachia, as the singers and instrumentalists explore the harmonies of early American Christmastide music.

The Yuletide celebration will start at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 15, 2013 at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Ave., Houston 77002. A pre-concert talk with ensemble members begins at 4:15 p.m 

  • There is free parking in the Cathedral Parking Garage on San Jacinto between Texas and Prairie. There is also on-street parking around the Cathedral; it is not necessary to pay the parking meters on Sundays. Cathedral’s directions and parking page 

The acclaimed chamber vocal group The Rose Ensemble (our featured performers for December 15) presents a backstage look at concerts, workshops, and educational outreach.

 “This is a beautiful and, dare I say, fun program,” said Jordan Sramek, The Rose Ensemble’s founder and director. “We’ve been performing it all over the U.S. and audiences are having a ball with it.”

Featuring 17th century pieces — demonstrating that “music was a vital part of myriad aspects of Colonial life” — and 19th century Shaker hymns, the program presents selections from “The Southern Harmony, and Musical Companion” shape-note songbook and John Playford’s “The English Dancing Master” as well as Acadian dance tunes.

Sramek calls the program “a wonderful exploration of North American history” that highlights “the fact that early music can be defined in a number of ways.”

Among the earliest productions featured in the program are dances from Playford’s “The English Dancing Master,” published in London in 1651. Tunes such as “Drive the Cold Winter Away” and “Juice of Barley,” serve as a reminder of the Colonialists’ love of country dancing.

“The Southern Harmony” shape-note songbook lends the program such favorites as “Star in the East.” Shaker hymns include “Christmas Eve” and “Peace and Joy,” and lively Acadian dances like “La Bastringue” and “A San Malo a Bord de Mer” are bound to raise spirits and get toes tapping.

For its Houston performance, the ensemble will feature nine vocalists, including tenor Sramek, along with three instrumentalists playing a variety of plucked and bowed-string instruments that include a gourd banjo, guitar, mandolin, harp, fiddle and double bass. The group, whose members are renowned for their solo abilities as well as their ensemble skills, has released nine critically acclaimed recordings.