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Two church choirs join for cantata tonight at St. Bartholomew

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Bogdan Minut mentioned right upfront that working alongside his wife, Mirabella, for an upcoming concert is a blessing in more ways than one.

“We can rehearse right in the living room,” he said.

Of course, getting the rest of the ensemble into the house might be a tight fit, given that he and Mirabella will lead a 42-voice ensemble at 7 p.m. today in a free cantata performance of Joseph Martin’s “Ceremony of Candles,” focusing on Advent and Christmas.

The group consists of the St. Bartholomew Church Choir that Bogdan directs, and Mirabella’s Fairlawn Presbyterian Chancel Choir, combined into one. The pair have worked together as choir directors before elsewhere, and they have performed piano duets locally, but the choir collaboration marks a first for them here.

“Ceremony of Candles,” completed in 2006, is among the Minuts’ holiday favorites. It contains carols “Silent Night,” “What Child is This?” “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and others.

“It involves such a beautiful combination of very traditional Christmas music with wonderful, newer harmonies and tunes,” Mirabella said. “It’s just such a gorgeous set of carols.”

Among the classic tunes is the Christina Rossetti 19th-century work, “In the Bleak of Midwinter.”

“That’s an all-time favorite of mine,” Bogdan said. “It is just so well-built, and it definitely puts you in the holiday spirit.”

The choirs have rehearsed since late August for the performance. Bogdan said he hopes the groups can work together again.

“It has become a little joke that this is a family event,” Bogdan said.

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