CANTON, Mo. — Culver-Stockton College‘s Department of Music is continuing their tradition of sharing the music of yuletide this year. However, precautions surrounding COVID-19 is skewing some plans for the 2020 Christmas concert.
The concert, chamber, and collegiate choirs will sing age-old carols and chants. They will also offer modern expressions of joy to celebrate a season of peace and goodwill. The direction of the choirs will come from Dr. Scott Allison, assistant professor of music. Musical accompaniment will come from fellow assistant professor Dr. Dylan Marney.
Christmas concert will be online, not at Campbell Auditorium
Live performances on campus will not take place in the Campbell Auditorium this year. However, the musical selections for the concert will instead be available online via YouTube. They were previously recorded and released to a playlist on Nov. 17.
Division of choirs to honor physical distancing requirements
Members of the Collegiate Choir were divided into treble, bass, and mixed choirs to honor physical distancing requirements. Choir members also had to meet rehearsal safety guidelines.
The Treble Choir explores an ancient English chant, brought to harmony in the “1514 Sarum Primer.” It was set to the tonalities of today in Dan Forrest’s arrangement of the “Sussex Carol.”
The choir continues with scriptural words of hope from Psalm 23 in an arrangement by Randall Stroope.
The Bass Choir will follow with a setting of Isaac Watts’ “Cradle Hymn” by contemporary Norwegian composer Kim André Arnesen.
Two mixed choir groupings perform
Both choirs would rehearse as two mixed voice choirs for the concert.
The first group will remind us of the joy of the season in Craig Courtney’s English setting of the German carol “How Great Our Joy.”
The second group will seek to “illumine through sound” as composer Morten Lauridsen describes his blend of 13th-century apocryphal accounts of animals at the crèche with references to the liturgical Gregorian Christmas matins chant.
The Chamber Choir’s Christmas setlist
The Chamber Choir will present one of their most rhythmically delightful sets in Robert Shaw and Alice Parker’s arrangement of the Catalan carol “Fum, Fum, Fum.” The 16th century-dated carol recalls a widespread European tradition of the procession to the church on Christmas Eve and the post-Mass feast.
The choir will then reimagine a similar 14th-century carol “Lully, Lulla, Lullay,” composed by English cathedral composer Philip W.J. Stopford. Among the solo quartet are:
- Soprano: Brianna Holder, Sr., Music Education; Moberly, Mo.
- Alto: Jay Bettis, Jr., English; Hermann, Mo.
- Tenor: Isaac Reinwald, Fr., History Education; Hannibal, Mo.
- Baritone: Samuel Morgan, Fr., Music Technology; Columbia, Ill.
The choir will bring a jazz standard to Russ Robinson’s arrangement of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The Christmas hit was written in 1943 in the dark days of World War II for the movie “Meet Me in St. Louis.” The song reminds us that someday “we all will be together, if the fates allow.” It also offers some hope that next year, C-SC Music will continue making music in the new year.
The Concert Choir’s Christmas setlist
The Concert Choir will relate a tale of the Nativity in “Spotless Rose.” The tale is foretold in the Book of Isaiah and imagined in a 16th-century poetic text. The text recites, “From the root of Jesse shall spring forth a flower to show God’s love for all humanity.”
The setting of the medieval carol is an Ola Gjeilo composition that works equally well in English and Norwegian.
Two soloists will be on a feature in this piece:
- Anna Gabel, So., Art Education; Quincy
- Jordan Scurlock, Sr., Criminal Justice; St. Louis
The choir will then weave beautiful harmonies around Arvo Pärt’s setting of the scriptural antiphon “Magnificat.” The antiphon is Mary’s song of exultation at bearing God’s son. It resounds with a bell-like effect through a compositional technique called tintinnabuli.
Additionally, the beautiful harmonies in this set focuses on the fixed tone of a soprano chant. The chant is sung by professor emerita of music Dr. Carol Mathieson.
Often a highlight in past concerts for several years, Fred Bock’s “Peace, Peace” intertwines the German carol “Silent Night” with his own expression. The expression in particular: the yearning for the season for peace on earth.
With a soprano saxophone obbligato from associate professor of music Dr. Trent Hollinger, the Concert Choir crescendos gradually to the finale.
In the finale, all choirs will join in with the beloved carol.
The full concert is now on YouTube and is also available for viewing below.
Culver-Stockton College is a four-year residential institution under affiliation with the Disciples of Christ Christian Church, located in the city of Canton, Mo. The college would open in 1853 atop the hill that overlooks the rest of Canton and the Mississippi River. Additionally, the campus spans 140 acres, serving as home to over 1,000 students seeking degrees in over 80 programs.
Culver-Stockton is the premier experiential learning college in the Midwestern United States. It is also only one of two colleges offering a 12+3 semester calendar, dividing the standard 15-week semester in two parts. Culver-Stockton’s semester setup involves a 12-week consecutive term with a separate three-week term.
Culver-Stockton is an athletic member of the Heart of America Athletic Conference. It also has an affiliation with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
For more Missouri news, follow Jake Leonard @JakeLeonardWPMD, and Heartland Newsfeed @HLNF_Bulletin on Twitter.
Additionally, you can follow Heartland Newsfeed on Facebook and Reddit among other platforms. You can now follow our news updates on Telegram, Flote and MeWe.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.