Christmas is less than four weeks away, and Monmouth College has the perfect gift to put area residents in the holiday spirit.
The music department’s annual “Christmas at Monmouth” concert will be at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Kasch Performance Hall of Dahl Chapel and Auditorium. The event is open to the public, with a suggested donation of $5 at the door.
“This is one of the highlights of the year for us,” said professor Tim Pahel, who directs the Chorale and the Chamber Choir. “It’s always our best-attended concert of the whole year.”
Also singing will be the Concert Choir, directed by Tom Clark. On the instrumental side, the Wind Ensemble and the Monmouth Civic Orchestra will be featured, directed by Justin Swearinger and Rich Cangro, respectively. The Percussion Ensemble will also perform an arrangement of “Christmastime Is Here.” All the instrumental and vocal ensembles will come together at the end.
“Between the Wind Ensemble and the orchestra, we’ll have about 65 players and almost the same number of singers,” said Pahel. “So we’re going to have a really big bang of a finale,” with more than 100 musicians on stage, closing the concert with a candlelit version of “Silent Night.”
‘An eclectic mix’
“For the choirs, we do a pretty eclectic mix of genres, so it’s not just all traditional carols,” said Pahel. “Chorale is doing ‘A Haitian Noel’ in Haitian French, and we will do a Renaissance piece by Tomas Luis de Victoria, which talks about Mary. The Chamber Choir is doing a beautiful arrangement of ‘Lo! How a Rose E’er Blooming.'”
Pahel said the mix gives his students “an educational experience where they’re learning different styles and learning about different languages and cultures as much as possible.”
“The Wind Ensemble is doing a beautiful piece that includes ‘Greensleeves,’ but it also has various other melodies in it,” said Pahel. “The Civic Orchestra is doing a fun arrangement of ‘Sleigh Ride.’ … It’s a mix of beautiful and expressive, fast and fun, recognizable and a little bit unfamiliar.”
With three months of practicing under their belts, Pahel said the ensembles and, particularly, his singers, are hitting their stride after incorporating new members.
“We’ve been synching up together more and more throughout the fall semester, and it’s by this time in the semester that we really start clicking and singing really well together,” he said.
***Courtesy of Barry McNamara, Monmouth College***