The Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce presents “A Fireside Christmas” with The Fireside Social Orchestra from 7-9:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 26, at Coaster Theatre Playhouse. Admission is $30.
In this concert, The Fireside Social Orchestra (FSO) will specialize in the music of the 19th century on period instruments and voices. The program will feature familiar Christmas carols in their original forms, including “Silent Night”(“Stille Nacht,” 1818), “Up On the Housetop” (“Santa Claus,” 1864) and Jingle Bells (“The One Horse Open Sleigh,” 1857), along with carols from the English, Scottish and French countryside and descriptive holiday pieces including “A Christmas Holiday” (1899) and “What Shall We Sing at Christmas?” (1899), as well as some surprises.
“Besides giving us Brahms, Mendelssohn, Verdi, and Wagner, many of the popular Christmas carols we sing today were written in the 19th century,” said Phil Neuman, director of the band, along with his wife Gayle. “It’s fun to hear the original versions of these carols, which, in some cases, have been changed and simplified in the intervening years.”
Phil said the 19th century was a period of great innovation in instrument design, giving us the modern flute, cornet, saxophone, tuba, autoharp, flat-back mandolin, and the modern banjo, all of which the band will be playing at the concert.
“We’re also using a wide variety of other lesser known period instruments, including: the walking stick recorder, flageolet, ophicleide, alto and tenor horns, ballad horn; along with instruments developed earlier, like: the violin, tenor viola, cello, piano, alphorn and recorder,” Phil said. “We’ll also be doing a lot of singing.”
The Fireside Social Orchestra consists of four to seven musicians, depending on the repertoire. The concert features Phil and Gayle Neuman and Cal Scott of The Trail Band with Ben Fitch, Laura Kuhlman, Cindy Markham of The Oregon Renaissance Band, and cellist Elizabeth O’Connor.
Although the group for this concert, The Fireside Orchestra, is new this year, some of the members play in the Oregon Renaissance Band, which started in 1991. Phil and Gayle have been its directors since opening.
“We’ve known Cal Scott from playing together with him in The Trail Band, which also started in 1991,” Phil said.
Fitch is a member of the Oregon Renaissance Band (ORB) as a recovering symphony oboist and works in the high-tech industry. Kuhlman, also a member of the ORB, teaches early music workshops, and has performed with various renaissance music ensembles in the U.S. and abroad. Markham also teaches early music classes at the Community Music Center in Portland and works as a licensed therapist when not performing in ORB.
Gayle and Phil Neuman are members of The Trail Band (TB) and direct the ORB. Along with Markham, they teach weekly renaissance music classes in recorder, voice and reed instruments at the Community Music Center in Portland, which costs around $149 per term.
“Gayle, Laura, and I teach early music workshops here in Oregon, as well as around the country and conducted a workshop in Switzerland earlier this year,” Phil said.
O’Connor is a member of the early music ensemble Cassis and plays in several string ensembles. Scott is the musical director of TB and is a singer-songwriter, the leader of several jazz and rock groups and composes music for television and film.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the concert starts at 7 p.m.
You can purchase tickets at https://cannonbeachchamber.eventsmart.com/events/haystack-holidays-winter-holiday-concert/.