42nd Candlelight Carol Service, Sunday Dec. 18th, 6 p.m.

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BROADWAY ACTOR ARBENDER ROBINSON 
TO READ “A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS” AT CCC’s 42nd ANNUAL CANDLELIGHT CAROL SERVICE 

The nondenominational Chelsea Community Church’s 42nd Annual Candlelight Carol Service, comprising Scripture lessons, a choir and congregational singing, will take place on Sunday, December 18, at 6 p.m. at its host church, the historic St. Peter’s Chelsea (346 West 20th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues).  The event is free; an offering will be accepted.

The choir, under the direction of Larry J. Long (see below), will present choral music from the ancient plainsong chant “Hodie Christus natus est” (Today, Christ is born) to John Rutter’s contemporary “Shepherd’s Pipe Carol” (UK). Other music includes Stephen Paulus’ “Halelu” (US), the early 17th century British composer Thomas Weelkes’ “Magnificat,” “Lo, how a rose e’er blooming” by Michael Praetorius (Germany), the opening movement of Antonio Vivaldi’s “Gloria in excelsis” (Italy) plus Jacques Berthier’s Taizé chant “Gloria in excelsis” (France). The choir will be accompanied by internationally recognized organist Christopher Houlihan (see below), along with harp and flute/piccolo.

ROBINSON Arbender8035Finished2 ca 190 x 160
Veteran Broadway singer/actor Arbender Robinson (right) will read Clement Clarke Moore’s famous poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”  St. Peter’s Church stands on land that was part of Moore’s estate. Mr. Robinson has appeared on Broadway in Hairspray, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Hair, Ragtime, The Book of Mormon, Beautiful, and Shuffle Along. He is also a teaching artist working with many organizations across the country, and is a huge advocate for autism awareness and research.


CCC’s 41st Annual Candlelight Carol Service, December 6, 6 p.m.

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I.WhitlockJr.

ACTOR ISIAH WHITLOCK JR. TO READ A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS AT
CHELSEA COMMUNITY CHURCH CANDLELIGHT CAROL SERVICE
featuring music from the 15th to the 21st centuries

Chelsea Community Church’s 41st Annual Candlelight Carol Service, comprising Scripture lessons, a choir and congregational singing, will take place on Sunday, December 13, at 6 p.m. at its host church, the historic St. Peter’s Chelsea (346 West 20th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues).  The event is free; an offering will be accepted.

The choir, under the direction of Larry J. Long, will present choral music ranging from the 15th century French carol “Saw you never, in the twilight” arranged by Robert J. Powell to Mr. Long’s own “Annunciation Carol,” premiered at the 2014 service. Other music includes J.S. Bach’s “Break forth, O beauteous, heavenly light”; Hans Leo Hassler’s “Dixit Maria”;  early American composer William Billings’ “Methinks I see an heavenly host”; Carl Schalk’s “Before the Marvel of This Night”, and a wonderfully fun arrangement of “Ding! Dong! Merrily on high” by Swedish composer Anders Öhrwall. The choir will be accompanied for the third year by internationally recognized organist Christopher Houlihan and a string quartet.

Film, stage and TV actor Isiah Whitlock Jr. will read Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”  St. Peter’s Church stands on land that was part of Moore’s estate. Mr. Whitlock has amassed a wide variety of powerful roles, from his portrayal of Senator Clay Davis on HBO’s popular series The Wire to playing a sympathetic doctor in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas and his captivating portrayal of Joe in Christopher Shinn’s renowned Off-Broadway play Four, for which he was nominated for a Lucille Lortelle Award as Outstanding Featured Actor.  He has had memorable guest appearances on Law and Order, along with noteworthy characters developed in Spike Lee’s 25th Hour and Peter Hedges’ film Pieces of April. (Mr. Whitlock’s photo by Leslie Hassler)


Thad M. McGar 1927-2013

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MCGAR THAD 4833853_4833853_AuthorPhotoThad Martin McGar died peacefully at home on December 30, 2013 at the age of 86.

A long-time resident of the Chelsea neighborhood, Thad was active in his block association and with Chelsea Community Church where he managed the Candlelight Carol Service Choir for 25 years in addition to serving as a Trustee and Chair of the Board.  He also revived and ran the Music in Chelsea concert series from 1991 to 2002. Proceeds from the series benefited the restoration fund of the host St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Chelsea.

He volunteered for many years at Brooklyn Botanical Garden, working in the Bonsai collection and serving as interim keeper of the collection when the Bonsai master died unexpectedly.  He was also active with the New York Community Chorus and the Hudson Guild writing class.

Thad self-published Florida’s Way (and other stories), a collection of short stories, in 2012.

Thad was born in 1927 in Houston, Texas to Mike Martin and Nettie Odessa (nee Hare) McGar and grew up in East Texas, England and Venezuela.  He served in the U. S. Army just after World War II and earned a BFA at the University of Texas in Austin on the GI Bill. 

He came to New York City in 1952 and trained in the then new technique of color transparency retouching under Estelle Friedman.  He became one of the top retouchers in the city and worked on the images of some of the most famous models of the ‘50’ s through ‘80’s. In the 1960’s, he introduced transparency-retouching technology first to London and then to Hamburg, Germany, creating Creative Colour companies in both cities with his associates from Creative Color in New York.  In the early 1970’s, he opened Welbeck Studio in New York with partner Shelly Clayman.  He retired in 1989.

He touched many people with his light.  He is survived by his husband, Paul Bodden, his mother-in-law and sisters-in-law, 5 nephews and 8 great-nieces and nephews.

A memorial service is scheduled for April 5 at Chelsea Community Church at 346 West  20th Street, New York, NY 10011 at 12 noon.  Donations may be made to Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Habitat for Humanity or to Chelsea Community Church at the address above.