In a city and region replete with good choruses, you might not believe there is room for one more. But such is the case for Gloriana, a group in its second year in Utah. The singers make an excellent impression in their Christmas program, highlighted by a first-rate performance of John Rutter's Magnificat.

This chorus sings with an identifiable individuality and style. It is obviously comprised of good individual voices, and these voices are not held in check but allowed to express themselves satisfyingly. There is good balance among voices, actually with a few more men than women. The sound is cultivated, the tonal concept is unanimous, and somehow the name Gloriana, suggesting ampleness and richness with a golden glow, well suits the quality of sound they produce.The Magnificat according the Rutter is beguiling music, with assertive rhythms that frequently come close to rock or jazz, and singable themes. Rutter's style makes friends with minimalism, in that he dwells on a melodic pattern, repeating it, modulating into another key, varying the rhythm - but never to the point of tedium. Some melodic lines are long and melismatic; others are short and simple, and he's fond of canonic devices. Above all, this music expresses the text of the Magnificat to comfortable, self-fulfilled effect.

The piece opens with a swingy Magnificat, whose principal theme recurs again and again, always with spirit and sometimes with force. There's some interesting polyphony and big crescendoing dynamics, with support and its own assertions from the good small orchestra that accompanies the piece, including solo instruments heard to good effect in obligato.

The second movement discourses in legato style on a Rose (Mary), with reflective melodies, set in English.

The Misericordia features a slow, rhythmic solo for soprano with chorus, cleanly and expressively sung by Marsha Stephens. In the Fecit potentiam, suggestions of rock rhythm are more pronounced, as the music depicts the qualities of pride and arrogance.

Esurientes is again a dialogue between soprano soloist and choir, and the Suscepit Israel slow and reflective, with interesting modulations. The company lets out to full bore in a splendid concluding Gloria and Amen, emphasizing the affirmative spirit and confident expression that make Rutter so popular with his own generation.

The program opens with many familiar carols in attractive arrangements, performed by the Intermountain Brass Quintet (Reed LeCheminant and Tony Brazelton trumpets, Linda Atkin French horn, Brian Priebe trombone and Jennifer Steed tuba).

In such appealing tunes as "The Holly and the Ivy," "He is born, the holy child," and "Joyeux Noels" incorporating mostly French carols, the group awakens the compatible resonances of the hall to bright, golden clarity.

Standing along the aisles, Gloriana opens with the ever-welcome medley, "Christmas Day," masterfully arranged by Gustav Holst. These carols never lose their appeal, especially when sung with such admirable blend and colorations, lively tempos, and clear diction.

Gene Pack adds expert narration, reading "The Journey of the Magi" by T.S. Eliot, "The Boy Who Laughed at Christmas" by Ogden Nash, and the scripture introducing the Magnificat. Guitarist Todd Woodbury opens the program with "Evergreen," by Daniel Pinkham.