We have enjoyed two concerts by The Crossing, a professional chamber choir dedicated to new music, based in Philadelphia. Thus I thought it would be fun to hear their Christmas concert. It turned out that the day before their performance in Philadelphia, we were able to attend two additional vocal concerts in Washington, DC. The first concert was by The Washington National Cathedral children’s choirs. They sang ‘A Ceremony of Carols’ by Benjamin Britten in the St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill. Next up was a concert by The Thirteen. This is another professional chamber choir based in DC. This concert was held in the First Congregational United Church of Christ in DC. The program, Northern Lights, presented Christmas music by Scandinavian, Baltic, and Northern composers.
The next day we drove to Philadelphia to attend the concert by The Crossing. The concert was in the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill. Chestnut Hill is a neighborhood northwest of Philadelphia. There is a small shopping district with a cobblestone street. We were not surprised to learn later that the community is known for its high income, high real estate values, and private schools.
The variety of music in the three concerts was amazing–English-themed carols, a variety of new and old Scandinavian songs, and finally a concert featuring 12 current day composers. The singing was also amazing. Additionally, the ambiance within each of the churches certainly affected how you reacted to the music.
Ellen’s sister and husband were spending several days in Philadelphia so we took advantage of the opportunity to spend a couple of days visiting. On our previous trips to Philadelphia, we spent our time in the central part of the city. On this trip, we became familiar with the Penn’s Landing and Fishtown neighborhoods. As we have seen in areas around DC, these neighborhoods are gentrifying–fun restaurants, local shops, new buildings, and lots of yoga mats.
The weather was cold–high around 22 degrees. Woke up to snow which accumulated to a couple of inches. As we walked around we viewed several murals. The city has a very active mural program. We will return for a more thorough tour of the murals (when the weather is more conducive to walking and photography). The snow provided an interesting background for some the mural photos.