Dot fifth grader featured in 'Starry Night' choir concert

Dorchester's James Keogh, center, is shown in an earlier, pre-Covid performance with the boys choir at St. Paul's Choir School in Cambridge. Image courtesy St. Paul's Choir School

This Saturday (Dec. 19), Dorchester resident and fifth-grade student James Keough will feature in “Starry Night,” a filmed production of the annual Christmas Concert performed by the boys choir at St. Paul’s Choir School in Cambridge. 

Keough, 10, initially began singing in shows at Pope John Paul’s Neponset campus before joining the St. Paul’s choir a year and a half ago. He also studied drums and piano at Boston School of Music in Lower Mills for five years.

This year, the Harvard Square concert that normally draws around 800 people is instead switching to a livestream digital format so that music lovers can experience the concert from home. Keough said filming the live production was memorable but difficult given the struggle to get perfect takes of each song.

“It was very hard to do it because of Covid, we had to keep on doing cuts and the openings,” he explained. “It took two days to film it but in the end it was worth it.”

The performance takes its inspiration from Vincent Van Gogh’s painting masterpiece “Starry Night,” depicting the wonder found in the night sky and embracing the spirit of Christmas celebration. Fifteen musical selections include perennial Christmas favorites by Johann Sebastian Bach and modern-day compositions of John Rutter, as well as original arrangements by SPCS Music Director James Kennerley and Theodore Marier, SPCS founder.

Keough said his favorite piece to sing was “Personent Hodie,” an original piece written in Latin by Kennerley.

The event will be livestreamed at 7 p.m. and is available to access via christmasinharvardsquare.com or through the St. Paul’s Choir School You Tube channel.