Hallelujah Chorus

Are you ready to testify?

Even if you aren't, the Joyous Voices Band and Choir are, and by the end of Oh Holy Night: A Gospel Christmas, chances are they'll have you up on your feet, clapping and singing along to "Go Tell It on the Mountain." That's just what happens when the Detroit-based group performs.

The 17 vocalists and five-piece band led by Rudolph V. Hawkins are bringing their brand of holy rolling-in-the-aisles gospel to the Scottsdale Center for the Arts for two performances this Sunday, November 25.

The two-hour-plus program begins with a piece of theater that travels back in time from the shop-'til-you-drop spirit of the present day to a reenactment of the first Christmas -- complete with exhortations from a preacher to remember the true meaning of the holiday -- and a piercing scream from Mary as she gives birth to Jesus.

That scream is just a warm-up for the praising, shouting and singing to come. The show is divided into two parts, and the music covers all the holiday bases, from the Appalachian carol "I Wonder As I Wander" to spirituals "Behold That Star" and "Mary, Mary" to such traditional hymns as "Silent Night" and "The First Noel." It closes with what one reviewer has described as the Joyous Voices' "breath-taking harmony" on "Let There Be Peace on Earth," and finally comes the opportunity for audience participation. But odds are you'll be singing along way before then.

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Laura Pimentel
Contact: Laura Pimentel