Arts & Culture

Illumni Men’s Chorale offers holiday music in four octaves at PLU

One of Seattle’s newest choirs returns to Tacoma this weekend for its 5th anniversary Holiday Concert: the 24-member Illumni Men’s Chorale.

The concert, which is free under the choir’s “Christmas Should be Free” campaign, compiles favorites from the choir’s past five years, including plenty of traditional Christmas songs like “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” “Ave Maria,” “In the Bleak Midwinter,” and “Carol of the Bells.” But there’s also a brand-new carol: “Hark! What Mean Those Holy Voices,” commissioned by the choir and written by Canadian composer Andrew Hawryluk. The concert will also include works by four local composers: Sean Haley, Chris McCafferty (who is in the chorale), Mark Riese and Diane Loomer, along with a holiday sing-a-long and appearances by the Jet Cities Chorus and Santa.

As a bonus, the chorale will be selling copies of their newly minted CD “Music of Russia,” recorded live at two previous concerts. In addition to folk music, the CD features the stunningly low, closely harmonized choral music that is the hallmark of the Russian Orthodox church and that asks the basses to reach a low G ( two and a half octaves below middle C). Composers include Goncharov, Gretchaninov and Mantulin; basso profundo Glenn Miller sings solo. One of the CD’s works will be in the Holiday Concert: Pavel Chesnokov’s “Spasenje.” The CD ($15) can also be ordered from the choir’s website,