Children running around, excited and nervous. Violinists tuning their instruments, singers reviewing their lyrics. Girls in salmon dresses pinning their hair up. Boys in pressed white shirts. Black shirts and red ties for the men. Black outfits and turquoise scarves for the women. Concert master Reyna Somarriba sparkles in her red evening gown. All of this in preparation for an evening of holiday cheer and Christmas music! Before the evening is over, an orchestra of violins, violas, cellos, double basses and trumpets will have accompanied four different children and adult choirs from Casa Tres Mundos and Musica en los Barrios. It is the night of the annual Christmas concert at Casa Tres Mundos, a cultural center and music/art school in the heart of colonial Granada (Nicaragua). The entrance fee? A voluntary contribution or a toy for a disadvantaged child in the community.
The concert begins with an audience of eager siblings, thrilled parents and curious visitors. The auditorium is packed. It is standing room only! The musicians play more than twenty songs and singers perform a trilingual repertoire in Spanish, English and German. The choirs sing Christmas classics such as Silent Night, Joy to the World and Carol of the Bells. The adult choir performs the more challenging Hallelujah and Worthy is the Lamb from Frideric Handel’s Messiah (1741). Reflecting Nicaraguan culture, two songs from Carlos Mejia Godoy are interpreted: El Cristo de Palacagüina and Navidad en Libertad, a piece that celebrates a Christmas of “justice and freedom, without misery and oppression”.
Concert Master Reyna, the smiling queen of infinite patience, is like a master weaver, working with a complex tapestry of talents. She guides each young performer to the stage and places them in just the right spot, ensuring musical harmony with seventy singers and musicians of all ages. She directs with poise and confidence. Young boys and girls under her direction develop self-confidence by being on stage, experience the joy of performing and the satisfaction of singing and playing for family and friends.
The Christmas concert is an inspiring and beautiful event that showcases Christmas music that most of us know from our childhoods. Beyond that, it is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to connect with fellow humans from different parts of the world, across physical borders and times, hearing music from around the world from the present and from centuries past. The concert unites families and communities, Nicaraguans and foreigners alike, who come together at the Casa Tres Mundos to celebrate the joy of Christmas.
Odette Langlais and Joe O’Haver, volunteers, Friends of Casa Tres Mundos, December 2017
wordpress theme by initheme.com