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School of Music Celebrates Holiday Tradition

It's a treasured Carnegie Mellon tradition. A time to enjoy life, said Robert Page.

"The Annual Holiday Concert is just that - a celebration of the holidays, including Christmas and Chanukah, as well as the season itself," said Page, the Paul Mellon University Professor of Music and director of choral studies. "It's a time to leave academia for a while and just enjoy life."

Under Page's direction, the School of Music will present two performances of its holiday tradition on Friday, Dec. 7. The first performance will be at noon in the University Center's Rangos Ballroom, and the second performance will be at 8 p.m. in the Great Hall of the College of Fine Arts.

Both performances are free and open to the public with first-come, first-served seating. These concerts will showcase the combined forces of the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, Concert Choir and Repertory Chorus.

This year's program will feature "Une Cantate de Noel (Christmas Cantata)" by Arthur Honegger. This masterpiece works together traditional carols sung in their native languages - French, German, English and Latin. Written in 1953, this is believed to be the last composition Honegger wrote before he died.

A variety of traditional carols will round out the concert, including: "Gloucestershire" and "Boar's Head Carol" for choirs and brass, which was commissioned and recorded by River City Brass with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh; The Biebl "Ave Maria," a poignant a cappella setting, a longtime favorite of choruses and a major bestseller by Chanticleer; and the late Marvin Hamlisch's popular "Chanukah Lights," a festive song celebrating the traditional Jewish holiday with a special dedication to Hamlisch, who was a cherished friend of the entire Pittsburgh community.

Graduate student Alysoun Kegel will share the conducting duties for the concerts and will conduct two of the dances from Tchaikovsky's ballet, "The Nutcracker." Michael Van Camp will direct the women of the chorus and the woodwinds of the orchestra in a Meredith Willson favorite, "It's Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas." Music icons such as Perry Como, The Fontane Sisters and Bing Crosby recorded Willson's popular holiday classic.

Concertgoers will leave the Great Hall on a high note with the exultant "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah.

For those who cannot attend in person, the noon performance will be broadcast live on WQED-FM 89.3. 

What: Annual Holiday Concert 
When/Where: Friday, Dec. 7, noon, University Center 8 p.m., Great Hall of the College of Fine Arts
By: Dana Casto, dcasto@cmu.edu

Categories: This Week In Music