The Northwestern College music department will present its annual Christmas Vespers service Saturday, Dec. 7, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m. in Christ Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.
This year’s theme, “Gloria,” focuses on the idea of giving “glory to God in the highest.” This theme is central in Benjamin Britten’s “Hodie” from “A Ceremony of Carols,” which will be performed by the sopranos and altos of the Women’s Choir and A cappella Choir at both the beginning and the end of the program.
“All of the instrumental and choral selections, as well as the readings, elaborate on the Gloria theme,” says Dr. Thomas Holm, professor of music. “The large work of the concert will be John Rutter’s festive ‘Gloria,’ which will be performed by the A cappella Choir, brass and percussion, organ, and three student soloists: Bretta Krieg, Laura Jonker and Jenna Ripke.”
The concert will include performances by the A cappella Choir, Women’s Choir, Chamber Orchestra, a double brass quintet and handbell choir, in addition to Scriptural readings by Northwestern faculty and students. Pieces to be performed represent a variety of traditions: the Chamber Orchestra will perform the Austrian Christmas carol “Still, Still”; the Women’s Choir will perform Stephen Hatfield’s arrangement of the traditional Trinidad carol “The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy”; and the audience will be invited to sing “Angels from the Realms of Glory,” a French carol melody.
“Following the tradition of Northwestern’s Vespers, audience members will have several opportunities to join in singing some of the great carols of Christmas,” says Holm. These carols will include “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” and “Joy to the World.”