A Holiday Toast

Two Hungarian Carols | arr. Marshall Fine

O Gyönyorü (O Beautiful)

Karacsonyi Bölesödal (Christmas Cradle Song)

Christmas Concerto Op. 6 No. 8 | Arcangelo Corelli (1653—1713)

I. Vivace — Grave

II. Allegro

III. Adagio — Allegro — Adagio

IV. Vivace

V. Allegro

VI. Largo — Pastorale ad libitum


Shchedryk (Carol of the Bells) | arr. Mykola Leontovych

Variation V | Kevin Day (b. 1996)

Fayer | Osvaldo Golijov (b. 1960)

Last Year's Snow was Falling | Gennady Gladkov (b. 1935), arr. Alexei Talanov

Watchnight Gospel Medley | arr. Megumi Stohs Lewis and Jesse Lewis

Hold to God's Unchanging Hand, Jennie Wilson and F. L. Eiland
Close to Thee , Fanny Jane Crosby
Take My Hand, Precious Lord , Thomas Dorsey
We've Come This Far by Faith, Albert Goodson

Selections from Wood Works | arr. Danish String Quartet

Five Sheep, Four Goats

Old Reinlender from Sønndala


Sasha Callahan, violin

Megumi Stohs Lewis, violin

Alexander Vavilov, viola

Leo Eguchi, cello​


A joyous program spanning the centuries, A Holiday Toast offers peaceful moments of contemplation as well as celebratory numbers sure to get your toes tapping. Alongside seasonal favorites and lesser known gems, each of the players has selected music that expresses part of their heritage to share their own unique perspective on the holidays.

We open with two Hungarian carols from Sasha, followed by Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, which includes one of the most gorgeous Pastorale movements, perfectly capturing the timely spirit of comfort and peace. Next, Alex and Leo bring us the Ukrainian New Year’s Song Shchedryk, which you may find familiar...

Kevin Day’s Variation V will get your toes tapping and maybe even raise your heartbeat just a bit with its exuberant finish. This single movement string quartet is a quick romp full of bright dancing energy paired with a singing melody that passes from one player to the next. Be sure to join us in early 2022 when we premiere a brand-new string quartet by Kevin, written especially for Sheffield Chamber Players to launch our ongoing commissioning project.

Following Kevin’s piece, Leo gives a nod to his and Sasha’s Jewish heritage with Fayer, an arrangement by Osvaldo Golijov of the Yiddish folk tune Arum dem Fayer. Returning with Alex to Ukraine, we hear Last Year's Snow was Falling, from a beloved 1983 claymation New Year cartoon. Then, Megumi shares a medley of Gospel tunes from the traditional Watchnight service, a late-night Christian church service celebrated on New Year’s Eve, also the seventh day of Christmastide.

We conclude the program with a selection of Scandinavian folk melodies as arranged by the brilliant Danish String Quartet. If Variation V didn’t get your toes tapping, these imaginative, colorful settings surely will. These pieces convey the infectious, universal joy that music brings cultures all around the world.