Tower Hill Botanic Garden will kick off its 2009 Holly Days “Celebrations Around the World” with a gala cocktail party on Friday, December 4, from 6 – 9 pm, in the Orangerie at 11 French Drive in Boylston. Enjoy hearty, ethnically inspired appetizers by Peppers Fine Foods Catering, and a huge selections of desserts from multiple cultures around the world.Â Cash bar. Joe Blanchard will perform on the Steinway Grand Piano as you stroll through the display of trees, and additional entertainment will be provided by the StÃ¤mbandet Scandinavian Vocal Ensemble.
Founded in 1978, StÃ¤mbandet is thirteen singers from Scandinavia with a reputation for excellence both as an a cappella ensemble and a World Music vocal group. Presenting songs rarely heard outside of Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, this captivating vocal band often breaks into six- and seven- part harmonies sung in six languages. Led by Allen LeVines, musical director since 1985, StÃ¤mbandet performs a wide range of a cappella folk traditions unique to Scandinavia, including “trall” – singers imitating fiddlers playing dance music – a practice that has been compared to scat singing.
StÃ¤mbandet’s cultural contributions have rarely been placed in perspective, for even within Scandinavia there are few vocal ensembles solely dedicated to the preservation and performance of traditional Nordic song. American-influenced “pop” styles have taken over and continue to dominate not just Scandinavia, but virtually the world. So it is especially significant that in the United States StÃ¤mbandet exists at all, where it is the only group of its kind — not only striving for performances of high artistic merit, but carefully researching the music’s origin and history, thereby introducing to the public many other facets of Scandinavian culture.
The long term commitment of the singers has helped ensure StÃ¤mbandet’s cohesiveness of sound and cultural identity. Almost all of the vocalists were born in Scandinavia.
$40 per person, or by a sponsor or patron at $75 or $125 if you’re feeling like Santa.Â To purchase tickets, log on to www.towerhillbg.org, or call 508-869-6111, x. 136.