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BYU choirs, Philharmonic plan "Celebration of Christmas" Dec. 4-5

Brigham Young University’s School of Music will present its popular “Celebration of Christmas” on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 4- 5, in the de Jong Concert Hall.

There will be nightly showings at 7:30 p.m. and a Saturday matinee at 3 p.m. Tickets, costing $16, are available through the Fine Arts Ticket Office or at byuarts.com. BYU ID holders can get $5 off.

“Celebration of Christmas” is an annual concert that features the BYU Singers, Concert Choir, Men’s Chorus, Women’s Chorus and Philharmonic Orchestra.

“This is probably the favorite concert of the year for all 600-plus of us involved,” said Ronald Staheli, conductor of the BYU Singers. “Besides the joy of singing and playing music celebrating Christ’s birth, the concert gives each of the groups a short solo spot on the program as well as the opportunity to unite and perform several powerful pieces together.”

The BYU Singers will begin the evening by performing “O Sing a Song of Bethlehem” by David Zabriskie and “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” arranged by BYU’s own Matthew Nielsen. Rosalind Hall will then lead the Concert Choir in two pieces, “Make We Merry” and “What Child is This?” BYU’s Women’s Chorus will then perform “Sunny Bank” and “Jesus, Jesus Rest Your Head” under the direction of Jean Applonie.

“The goal is to keep Christ foremost in our celebration,” said Applonie. “We’re striving to capture the awe that exists in these carols.”

The Men’s Chorus will sing “Once in Royal David’s City” by Henry J. Gauntlett and “I Saw Three Ships.” Then the combined choirs will sing “Crown Him Our Lord and King.”

After an intermission, the Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Kory Katseanes, will play “Sleigh Ride” by Leroy Anderson and “Adoration of the Magi” by Ottorino Respighi.

To finish, all groups will combine to perform some classic carols, including Handel’s “Joy to the World,” Franz Gruber’s “Silent Night,” a Christmas carol medley and a Sussex Carol by Mozart.

“Audiences have told us they love the traditional carols, so that’s what we’re giving them — old favorites in fresh, new arrangements,” said Hall. “We hope to convey the real spirit of Christmas with the music that means so much to so many people.”

For more information, contact Ken Crossley at (801) 422-9348.

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