The Greenwich Choral Society's holiday concert, a perennial favorite, trimmed with hand bells and candlelight, is being offered two times on Saturday, Dec. 4, at 2 and 4:30 p.m., as well as one time on Sunday, Dec.5, at 4:30 p.m., at Christ Church Greenwich. The highlight of the performance will be the Missa (the Kyrie and Gloria) from J. S. Bach's own masterwork, the Mass in B Minor. Traditional carols and lullabies from Germany will round out the musical festivities.

"It has been a joy to plan this concert around the many familiar tunes and carols associated with Weihnachten -- the traditional German Christmas celebration," Music Director Paul F. Mueller said. "The unity of a German theme and the variety of music from the Renaissance, Baroque and beyond will certainly blend for an exceptional musical celebration. Our rehearsals have filled us all with the wonder of J.S. Bach's genius as we prepare the Missa from the monumental B Minor Mass."

Among the soloists joining GCS in performance bass-baritone John Maynard Burton specializes interpreting great choral works including Mendelssohn's Elijah and Mozart's Requiem as well as Bach's "Mass in B Minor." He also has extensive opera experience in his native California, and after completing his studies at the New England Conservatory, in 2009 he was a finalist in the New England Region of the Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions.

Tenor David Adams, is also experienced with the B Minor Mass as well as with Bach's St. Matthew Passion, St. John's Passion, and the Magnificat. Other oratorio credits include Orff's "Carmina Burana," Mendelssohn's "Elijah" and "Saint Paul," Haydn's "Creation" and "Lord Nelson Mass," Beethoven's "Mass in C," Handel's "Messiah" "Esther and Saul" and the "Verdi Requiem." Adams has performed with opera companies throughout the United States and Europe, including the Metropolitan Opera.

Mezzo-soprano Teresa Buchholz's oratorio repertoire includes Bach's "B Minor Mass" and "Magnificat," Haydn's "Mass in Time of War" and "Lord Nelson Mass," Durufle's "Requiem," Handel's "Messiah" and "Israel in Egypt" and Mozart's "Requiem." She has performed with both with the Chorus and Orchestra of St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church of New York City, and the New York Collegiate Chorale. A graduate of the Yale Opera program, she recently made her Lincoln Center debut.

Soprano Kathryn Lewek, who has sung with Greenwich Choral Society before, made her solo debut at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center this year with Musica Sacra directed by Kent Tritle. She performs throughout the United States and Europe in operatic and oratorio roles including Handel's "Messiah," Verdi's "Falstaff," Donizetti's "Don Pasquale" and Thomas' "Mignon." Last season, she won the Bel Canto Vocal Scholarship, was a finalist in the Joy in Singing Vocal Competition, and received awards at the Marilyn Horne Foundation Vocal Competition and the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, Lewek lives in Stratford and continues her studies with Marilyn Horne and Diana Soviero.

In addition to a new performance schedule, GCS is making concert-going more convenient by making tickets available online at their website for the first time.

Additional GCS performances this season are Haydn's Mass in Time of War on Saturday, March 5, 2011 and Dvorak's Stabat Mater on Saturday, May 21, 2011 in collaboration with the Westchester Choral Society, which is under the musical direction of Frank Nemhauser.

A cornerstone of the Fairfield County music scene, the Greenwich Choral Society acknowledges support for the 2010-2011 season from the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism and Connecticut Arts Endowment Fund.

For additional information regarding concerts, tickets, subscriptions and auditions, call 203-622-5136 or e-mail greenwich.choral@verizon.net.