Holiday concerts put neighborhood voices in spotlight

From classical to Christmas to Kwanzaa, Dorchester and its neighbors are finishing up the year with a wealth of concerts.

Ashmont Hill Chamber Music

Ashmont Hill Chamber Music (AHCM), led by Artistic Director and pianist Rachel Goodwin, opens their 27th season with a Winter Concert that features Beethoven’s superb classic for piano trio, Op. 70 #1 “the Ghost” as well as selections by Erwin Schulhoff, Robert Schumann and Jean Sibelius. As a performer, teacher, and resident of Ashmont Hill, Goodwin is committed to the neighborhood’s cultural growth and to giving all Dorchester residents the opportunity to experience classical music in Peabody Hall at Ashmont’s historic All Saints Church.

The Winter Concert, which will feature three instruments in different combinations for each work, takes place on Sun., Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. in Peabody Hall. Instrumentalists include violinist Gabriela Diaz, cellist Jan Müller-Szeraws, and Artistic Director and pianist Rachel Goodwin.

Admission is free thanks to generous funding from Free for All Concert Funds and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Boston City Singers

The Ashmont-based Boston City Singers (BCS) founded in 1995 by Jane Money, Artistic and Education Director, will give two performances on its home turf: a “Dorchester Winter Stars Concert,” Sun., Dec. 16th at 3 p.m. at Holy Family Parish, 24 Hartford St. in Uphams Corner, and “A Dorchester Christmas” at 7 p.m. on Sun., Dec. 18 at All Saints together with the church’s renowned Choir of Men and Boys.
The repertoire will include seasonal spirituals, popular carols, and other holiday tunes such as the theme songs from “The Snowman” and “Home Alone.” The Music on Wednesdays children will give the world premiere performance of “My Sister Thinks She’s Santa Claus,” which was written during a “Meet the Composer” visit in March by New Zealand composer David Hamilton.

The concert will conclude with a few Jamaican carols with the World Rhythm Ensemble and a community carol sing-along. The event is free, but donations gladly accepted.

Over 50 percent of the hundreds of youngsters that BCS has trained live in Dorchester and Mattapan. Of her experience, Dot resident Annika Neilsen, BCS Class of 2011, who is now at Harvard, says, “BCS has given me the confidence to get up on stage and sing, regardless of a thousand people or just on the periphery of some holiday party.”

“A Kwanzaa Song”

From Sat., Dec. 29 – Mon., Dec. 31, Hibernian Hall and Mixed Magic Theatre invite the public to the first Boston performance of the 14th annual production of “A Kwanzaa Song.”  Mixed Magic Theatre, a Rhode Island theatre company, is the 2013 Ensemble in Residence at Hibernian Hall. 

“A Kwanzaa Song” is the story of Azu, a young African Spirit, who must make a choice between staying to help and serve the people of Africa or accompany the continent’s stolen children to the New World where they will be in bondage.  The production combines storytelling with dance, movement, and 12 original songs that range in style from Afrocentric to gospel. Performances are at 3p.m. at Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley St. in Roxbury. Adult tickets are $15, children under 12, $5. A First Night Button gets anyone in for free. Details at hibernianhall.org. hibernianhall.org.