Singing Creates Community and Harmony in Philadelphia

noncomMUSIC AllianceClassical, Community, Jazz

Silent Night Sing In 2018/Lisa Schaffer @LisaSchafferPhotography

WRTI and John Conahan prepare for their second annual community-wide, interactive holiday performance.

In 2018, Philadelphia-based composer and conductor John Conahan wrote a new arrangement of “Silent Night” in honor of the 200th anniversary of the beloved Christmas carol. The twist? Instead of enlisting a professional choir to sing it, he partnered with WRTI, Philadelphia’s classical music and jazz public radio music station, to produce and promote the Silent Night Sing-In, a community event at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts where the new arrangement would be premiered and performed by all who enjoy singing.

“We wanted anyone who likes to sing – professional or not – to come together and enjoy the special experience of creating music together,” explains Conahan.

And come together they did. More than 1,200 community members with varying faiths, cultures, and singing abilities joined together for the performance, including professional and community choirs, school groups and families.

WRTI Classical Host Gregg Whiteside emceed the event. After brief opening remarks, the group had a quick rehearsal and a chance to ask questions before performing the arrangement.

Join the Chorus: Silent Night Sing-In 2019

This year, the Silent Night Sing-In is happening again at the Kimmel Center, in the heart of Philadelphia’s Center City, on Monday, December 16th. Attendees are encouraged to register online where they can also download sheet music and voice-part learning files.

The event is free and everyone is encouraged to attend, regardless of age or singing ability. The group will gather at 6 p.m. for rehearsal with the performance starting at 7 p.m.

“The Silent Night Sing-In is about community and people finding joy in singing together,” says Bill Johnson, WRTI General Manager and noncomMUSIC Alliance Advisory Council member. “It’s one way that we are furthering WRTI’s mission of championing music as a vital cultural resource.”

In addition to last year’s “Silent Night,” Conahan has composed a new arrangement of “O Come All Ye Faithful.”