Tabor College preparing three events for holiday season

Tabor College will present three Christmas concerts this holiday season.

The series will begin with Handel?s ?Messiah? at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, followed by the ?Christmas Festival,? at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, and ?The Marvel of This Night? at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15.

The concerts will be presented at Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church, 300 Prairie Pointe, and include the Concert Choir, Community Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Handbell Choir and the Tabor College Community Chorale.

Admission is free.

Handel?s ?Messiah?

Tabor has performed ?Messiah? for more than half of the college?s 100-year history.

According to the Center for Mennonite Brethren Studies, the earliest record of a performance was Dec. 2, 1951, with Herbert C. Richert as director.

?A lot of people say it?s not Christmas until Tabor performs ?Messiah,? so it?s always been our kickoff performance in the first weekend of December,? said Bradley Vogel, professor of choral music, who is marking ?Twelve Years of Christmas? as conductor of the Christmas Festival, and his 11th year as conductor of ?Messiah.?

According to Peggy Goertzen, CMBS director, through the late 1930s and the 1940s, ?The Holy City? and ?The Crucifixion? were traditionally sung at the college at Christmastime.

It?s possible that ?Messiah? also was sung before 1951.

?We do have the original 1951 program and newspaper article from the 1951 production,? she said. ?But the press release does not say anything about it being the first time ?Messiah? was being presented. It is possible that it was presented once 20 years earlier, but I have no documentation.?

To celebrate the rich musical history of the college in its centennial year, ?Messiah? solos will be sung by Tabor alums and vocalists affiliated with the school?s music department.

Soprano solos will be performed by Lisa (Loewen) Kroeker, Henderson, Neb., and Holly Swartzendruber, assistant professor of vocal music.

Alto solos will be performed by Jennifer (Hope) Chlumsky, Salina, tenor solos by Jay Kroeker, Henderson, Neb.; and bass solos by Glen Litke, Hillsboro.

?In addition to our principle soloists, we?ve invited a good number of alums to come back to sing in the choir because it?s the centennial year,? Vogel said. ?We expect to have between 70 and 80 voices.?

Christmas Festival

The second concert, the Christmas Festival, on Dec. 14, will include the Concert Choir, Symphonic Band and the Handbell Choir performing a variety of holiday music.

The Symphonic Band will play ?Assurance,? by John Ness Beck, ?Jingle Bells Forever,? by Pierpoint/Sousa, ?Variations on a Theme of Wondrous Love,? by Michael Cox; and ?A Christmas Festival,? by Leroy Anderson.

?We want to do things that are appealing and also, because of Tabor?s mission, we want it to be very Christ-centered,? Vogel said. ?Hence, the band opens with an arrangement of ?Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine,? and yet ?Jingle Bells Forever? has Sousa?s ?The Stars and Stripes Forever? blended in.?

With Richard Cantwell, professor of instrumental music, on sabbatical, the Symphonic Band will be conducted by Paul Epp, a Tabor alum and former band director at Hillsboro High School.

?There are students in the Symphonic Band whose parents Paul directed in his high school band,? Vogel said.

The Concert Choir will sing ?Veni Emmanuel,? arranged by Vogel; ?Bogoroditse Devo,? by Sergei Rachmaninoff; ?O Mag?num Mysterium,? by Tomas Luis de Victoria; ?Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day? by Dale Grotenhuis; ?What Is This Lovely Fragrance?? by Michael Larkin; and ?Good Christian Men, Rejoice,? arranged by Dan Forrest.

The Handbell Choir will play ?Carol of the Bells,? ?Coventry Carol,? and ?O Come, All Ye Faithful,? arranged by the choir?s director, Stephen Vincent.

?The Marvel of This Night?

The Tabor College Commun?ity Chorale will round out the series Dec. 15 with the concert, ?The Marvel of This Night.?

The chorale is comprised of singers from the Marion County area and music students from the college who rehearse 90 minutes per week.

The program will be accompanied by Tabor students playing a variety of instruments, and includes four distinct themes, Christmas Eve, Christ?mas Day, Quiet Contempla?tion and Hosanna in Excelsis!

The Christmas Eve segment includes ?Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day,? an English carol, arranged by Howard Helvey; ?Before the Marvel of this Night,? by Carl Schalk; and ?Still, Still, Still,? an Austrian carol, arranged by Norman Luboff.

The Christmas Day segment includes, ?He is Born,? a French Carol? arranged by Jack Schra?der; ?Noel Nouvelet,? a French Carol arranged by Donna Schultz; and ?Pat-a-pan,? a Burgundian Air arranged by Katherine Davis.

Quiet Contemplation includes, ?On This Still and Silent Night,? by James Koerts; ?A Cradle Carol,? by Dan Forrest; and ?In the Bleak Midwinter,? by Gustav Holst, arranged by Craig Courtney.

Hosanna in Excelsis includes ?Gloria in Excelsis Deo,? by Antonio Vivaldi, and ?Ding! Dong! Merrily on High,? a French Carol, arranged by Howard Helvey.

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