LRU News

Annual “Christmas at Lenoir-Rhyne” Concert features A Cappella Choir and Youth Chorus

Thu Nov 15 2012

A Cappella Choir

HICKORY, N.C. — The Lenoir-Rhyne University A Cappella Choir will be joined by the Lenoir-Rhyne Youth Chorus to present this year’s “Christmas at L-R” concert on Monday and Tuesday, December 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Hickory.  Also appearing on the program will be the Lenoir-Rhyne University Brass Ensemble and Handbell Ensemble.

These concerts are open to the public. Admission is free, but an offering will be taken to defray costs. Due to the popularity of these programs, those wishing to attend are encouraged to arrive early.

Dr. Paul Weber, director of the A Cappella Choir and College Singers, is organizer of the “Christmas at Lenoir-Rhyne” concerts.  This year’s theme will be “Let There Be Light” and will highlight the light of creation and new creation in the birth of the child of Bethlehem.  Accompanists for the choir will be Jeana Neal Borman, collaborative artist at Lenoir-Rhyne, and Tim Warren, organist at Mt. Zion Lutheran Church and past accompanist of the choir.  The Lenoir-Rhyne Youth Chorus and Chamber Singers are conducted by Prof. Florence Jowers and accompanied by Freda Herrell.

The program will include diverse music including seasonal carols. The Handbell Ensemble directed by Cory Westby will open the concert with “A Bach Pastorale” and a setting of “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen” by McChesney.

The Brass Ensemble conducted by Timothy Phillips will follow with Vivaldi’s Allegro from “Concerto for Two Trumpets” and Mr. Phillips’ arrangement of “The Christmas Song” by Mel Torme.

The Lenoir-Rhyne Youth Chorus Chamber Singers will perform Johann Michael Haydn’s delightful setting of an old liturgical text, “Puer natus in Bethlehem.

The College Singers will conclude the first part of the program with pieces that highlight this year’s theme of light:  “Hodie Christus natus est” by Francis Poulenc; “Das Wort ward Fleisch” by the early Lutheran baroque composer Andreas Hammerschmidt; Keith Hampton’s gospel piece, “True Light;” and the premiere of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” by Paul Weber.

On the second half of the program the Youth Chorus and A Cappella Choir will perform pieces separately and together.  To highlight the light of creation the A Cappella Choir will sing two movements from Haydn’s The Creation, “In the beginning” and “The Heavens are Telling.”  The Youth Chorus will counter with the ethereal work, “In the Beginning,” by Canadian Latvian composer Imant Raminsch.  Lifting up the light that gives hope to people in distress, the A Cappella Choir will perform Weber’s “Arise, Shine!” and the Youth Chorus will sing Herbert Sumsion’s soaring “Nunc dimittis.”

To underscore the new dawn brought by the birth of the Christ Child, the choirs will join forces in Michael Praetorius’ seven-part, “Sing with Joy, Glad Voices Lift,” and Sir David Willcocks’ arrangement of “See Amid the Winter’s Snow.”

The climax to this year’s program will be the candle lighting ceremony.  As the church is wrapped in candlelight by one hundred singers, the audience will hear the music of Gustav Holst’s “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence,” Hal Hopson’s “Silent Night,” and “Beautiful Savior” by F. Melius Christiansen. Seniors from the A Cappella Choir will read segments of the Christmas story between these pieces.  The program will end with all joining in the favorite carol, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

Founded during the 1935-36 academic year by Kenneth Lee, the A Cappella Choir has sung at the installation service of two national Lutheran bishops, at the 2009 Lutheran Reformation Service in the National Cathedral, and for the 200th anniversary of the North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.   This fall and spring the Choir is touring throughout North Carolina.  Its Home Concert will be held on Monday, March 4, 7:30 p.m., at Viewmont Baptist Church.  An additional spring choral concert featuring Carl Orff’s famous Carmina Burana will be held at the Hickory Arts Center at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 13.  Tickets will be available for this program in advance and at the door.

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