Lehigh University Choral Arts will present a “magical present for the whole community” when it performs its annual candlelit Christmas Vespers concerts on Sunday, Dec. 12, in picturesque Packer Memorial Church.
The ensemble of 200-plus singers will give two free concerts, at 4 p.m. and again at 8 p.m., in Packer Church. No tickets are required, but seating is limited and people are urged to arrive early.
“As part of our traditional holiday present to the Lehigh Valley community, we are presenting works from Russian, British, and Spanish traditions, as well as the stirring final chorus from Honegger King David,” says Steven P. Sametz, Ronald J. Ulrich Professor of Music and director of Lehigh University Choral Arts. “Two hundred voices combine with brass, harp and organ by candlelight in Lehigh’s historic Packer Memorial Church to create a magical present for the whole community at Christmas.”
The Vespers program features readings and music to celebrate the season. Each year for over two decades, Sametz—an award-winning composer and conductor who also serves as artistic director for the Princeton Singers, an elite a cappella ensemble—has created a new arrangement of the 16th-century carol, Lo How A Rose E'er Blooming as part of the Vespers tradition. This year’s Lo How A Rose E'er Blooming incorporates themes of Honegger’s King David.
Choral Arts consists of two mixed choirs. The University Choir, open by audition, has 60 members and draws students from all majors. The choir has toured China, Germany, and the Czech Republic, as well as Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Berlin; California; the Virgin Islands; Austria and Hungary; France; and East Asia. The choir has also been featured on National Public Radio.
Students from the University Choir also participate in the Men’s Glee Club and Dolce—the University Women’s Ensemble, under the direction of Debra Field.
The Choral Union counts students, faculty, staff and community residents among its 150 members. It performs three times a year with internationally renowned soloists and symphonic orchestra, and its recent repertoire includes Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Mahler's Second Symphony and the Brahms’ Requiem.
For more information, contact the Lehigh University Music Department at (610) 758-3835 or visit www.zoellnerartscenter.org.