The holiday season is a moment of reflection for many. For tenor Nicholas Chalmers, it is no different. He led me through his first experiences with choral music, his love of Bach and the role of evangelist in Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, and his excitement at being able to perform the highly anticipated Christmas classic with the Bach Society of Minnesota once again.
Nicholas Chalmers was a traditional American youth, interested in a variety of sports, but joining the choir in high school grabbed his attention and kept it. He noted having a couple of dynamic teachers and the importance of showing respect to youth in their capability of understanding when something is beautiful, even if it’s complicated.
On the bus ride home from a high school choir concert Chalmers was filled with a feeling of warmth; the music he had just performed moved him. A friend on the bus handed him an iPod and he heard a choral piece being performed by the local choral group, Cantus. Hearing this music only emphasized the feelings he was already having and left him wondering if singing was something he should pursue.
Chalmers followed his sense of curiosity and completed his bachelor of music at Saint Olaf College. Although exposed to a variety of composers, Bach remained his favorite, stating that Bach was able to write highly complex and mathematical music nonetheless infused with expression and emotion.In the case of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, where Chalmers performs the part of evangelist, he notes that the music is naturally joyful and celebratory.He went on to say that diction is of the utmost importance while performing the role of evangelist in the Christmas Oratorio; a challenge he welcomes after spending a year without the annual performance.
Chalmers expressed the noticeable absence of the holiday favorite over the course of the pandemic; that he felt nostalgic about the Christmas Oratorio and performing with artistic director, Matthias Maute. Chalmers, like many others is excited to celebrate the holiday season this year and looks forward to sharing the familiar story of joy, hope, and peace; a story, he says, that is meant for everyone.
Nicholas Chalmers will also be performing in B Minor Mass this spring.