Etherea Vocal Ensemble Grace Cloutier (harp), Alan Murchie (organ)
“Trebles in Paradise”
And vocal paradise is just where the sublime singing of Etherea Vocal Ensemble will take their listeners with their new holiday album, Ceremony of Carols. Etherea, founded in 2008, is a unique group consisting of seven distinguished women’s voices plus the alto-range singing of founder/director Derek Greten-Harrison – who happens to be a vocal switch-hitter, performing as both a countertenor and a baritone! Together, they achieve music of rare technical craftsmanship, vocal precision and exquisite nuance – plus stunning purity and sweetness of sound. Add the scintillating harp wizardry of Grace Cloutier and subtle organ support from Alan Murchie. The end result is a sure-fire collection of seasonal classics that listeners won’t want to put away even after their family Christmas trees are taken down.
Framing a central cluster of individual holiday favorites are two beloved carol cycles with harp: Benjamin Britten’s evergreen A Ceremony of Carols and John Rutter’s Dancing Day – both heard here in definitive and enchanting performances. And we guarantee that nobody (except perhaps for those who have experienced Etherea in concert) has ever heard a performance of “Good King Wenceslas” (one of the central songs) like the one heard here, in which director Greten-Harrison sings both as a choral alto and solo baritone!