Bill Davis was gripped by the spirit of Christmas Past on Monday, during the Villages Pop Chorus’ annual holiday concert.
Davis, director of the 100-plus member Chorus, was in a nostalgic mood for two-sold out concerts at the North Lake Presbyterian Church.
“I remember when this Bing Crosby song came out,” Davis said during an introduction to “Do You Hear What I Hear,” from the 1960s.
“I was still in high school,” Davis told the audience. “I was in the choir and we were going to sing that song. I thought it was really cool we were going to sing a song that was still on the radio.”
Davis offered more memories while introducing such classics as “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Silver Bells” and “Frosty the Snow Man.”
“I used to listen to those songs on CDs, and I still have a 5-disc CD player at home,” he said, showing a fondness for dated technology and music. “I won’t trade in my car because it has a CD player. You can’t get those in cars anymore.”
The concert was labeled “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and a highlight came with a tribute to Irving Berlin. It featured his song and movie, “White Christmas.”
“When I first came to The Villages 10 years ago, Sue Schuler was directing the play, ‘White Christmas,’” Davis said. “She asked me to be in it, and it was just wonderful.”
Davis then introduced Schuler, who was part of a tribute to the 1954 film, featuring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Rosemary Clooney.
Schuler started the medley by singing a tender version of “Count Your Blessings.” Other songs included were: “Snow,” “Sisters” and “Blue Skies.”
The set concluded with Villages Pops Chorus in all its glory with “White Christmas,” done elegantly enough to transform any Scrooge. As it was performed, a video screen showed the final scenes from the movie, which added to the holiday mood.
The same could be said for Sandy Hanselman, who delivered an emotional version of the Carpenters’ classic, “Merry Christmas Darling.”
Liz Dorsett was straight out of Mariah Carey with a stirring introduction to the rocking “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”
Sue Davis and Luma Green added some comedic punch to the Chorus’ up-tempo version of “Frosty the Snow Man.”
The mood changed to a reflective one with a vocal solo by Debbie Chambers – with help from Sallie Matteson on flute – on “The Peace Carol.”
The Pops Chorus Folk Quartet likes to have fun and had a blast on “The Marvelous Toy,” a folk song by Tom Paxon. Steve Rubin, Don Hainlen and Dennis St. Germain supplied the toy sounds and movements with holiday gusto.
Another Chorus group –A Cappella Gold—performed some mischievous cell-phone exercises with “Text Me Merry Christmas.”
Bonnie Williams did justice to Barbra Streisand’s speed-dial version of “Jingle Bells.” “There aren’t many singers who would even try that song,” Davis said.
Ray Rothermel brought a smile by singing “Thank God for Kids.
The Chorus closed the concert with the real spirit of the season, singing “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” Davis noted that the Chorus raised over $17,000 for charity with the two concerts. That pushed their total charity donations to over $200,000.
Tony Violanti covers arts and music for Villages-News.com. He was inducted into the Buffalo NY Music Hall of Fame as a music journalist.