Christmas Concert delights at Smithfield Church
A variety of holiday musical favorites and new compositions, performed by the 14-member Smithfield Chamber Orchestra, welcomed the season at The Smithfield Church on Saturday, Dec. 2. The occasion was the 18th annual Christmas Concert and Tea. 
Photo by Leila Hawken

Christmas Concert delights at Smithfield Church

Now celebrating its 18th consecutive year of holiday music, the Smithfield Church’s annual Christmas Concert and Tea packed every pew and left more standing.

The traditional event was begun by local realtor, the late Katharine Dunlop, and now continues as a part of the Bang Family Concert Series.

A variety of holiday pieces, some old favorites and some new compositions, were performed by an assemblage of 14 gifted regional musicians comprising the popular Smithfield Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Matt Finley.

The concert, held in the festively decorated historic sanctuary, opened with a poem, “It’s All in the Music,” composed and read by Kevin T. McEneaney, poet laureate of Smithfield Valley, followed by a new arrangement of “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

There were the sprightly notes of “The Nutcracker” played by the ensemble; “White Christmas,” was performed as a clarinet solo by Norman Baker.

Finley welcomed the audience, noting their importance to the occasion.

“Were it not for the audience,” Finley said, “these musicians would just be here as if for a practice session.” He noted that some of the performers have been at each of the 18 preceding years, and that trombonist Steve Hubbert was new this year.

Contemporary pieces and Brazilian jazz interpretations were also performed.

“If there is something that you don’t like, just wait a couple of minutes and we’ll be on to something else,” Finley quipped.

The concert concluded with Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus. Finley had told everyone at the onset that it would not be necessary to stand, as King John was assuredly not present.

They stood anyway at the end, and were rewarded with an encore of “Sleigh Bells.”

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