Symphony Orchestra, Choir, Choral Union Presenting ‘Many Moods of Christmas’

symphonyCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Nov. 19, 2013 — The Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra will join forces with the Southeast Missouri State University Choir and Choral Union to present a festive holiday program, “Many Moods of Christmas,” Dec. 3 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at the River Campus.

This concert, scheduled for 7:30 p.m., will feature popular holiday tunes, carols and other seasonal compositions for choir and orchestra.

“This concert is something of a first for the Southeast Missouri Symphony, University Choir, and Choral Union,” said Sara Edgerton, conductor of the symphony orchestra. “For many years, these ensembles have joined together to perform a concert in December, and have often performed one or two works on the program in celebration of the season. This is the first year, however, in which we have programmed an entire evening of music that is inspired by the holiday season. From the first notes of the ‘Nutcracker Ballet,’ to the joyous melody, ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas,’ all of the music programmed on this concert will be truly in keeping with the upcoming holiday season. We encourage everyone to come and hear this wonderful concert with traditional holiday melodies, Christmas carols, and festive tunes. This is a great way to usher in the holiday season.”

More than 70 orchestral players and more than 100 choral members will join forces for this program.

The concert will open with selections from the “Nutcracker Ballet” by Russian composer Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky. This ballet tells the story of a young girl, Clara, who receives the gift of a wooden nutcracker on Christmas Eve. The nutcracker is eventually transformed into a Prince; Clara and the Prince travel to the Land of Sweets, where exotic and colorful dances are presented for their entertainment. For this concert, the symphony orchestra will perform several of the most memorable dances, including the “Dance of the Reed Pipes” and the “Waltz of the Flowers.”

The symphony orchestra also will present several orchestral arrangements of Christmas carols and other holiday tunes. Leroy Anderson’s “Christmas Festival,” composed in 1948 and first recorded by Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops in 1950, will be performed on the concert. This beautifully orchestrated work includes arrangements of well-known Christmas carols, including “Silent Night,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Good King Wenceslas,” “The First Nowell,” “Joy to the World” and “Jingle Bells.” Two popular holiday tunes, “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” and “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” will also be performed in orchestral arrangements by Robert Sheldon. The orchestra will conclude the first half of the concert with Leroy Anderson’s signature hit, “Sleigh Ride.”

On the second half of the concert, the University Choir and Choral Union will join the orchestra in a performance of Suites One and Three of the “Many Moods of Christmas” by Robert Russell Bennett and Robert Shaw. “I hope the audience will be delighted with the combined forces of the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra, University Choir and Choral Union. We will have over 100 singers on stage with the Symphony Orchestra for this performance. The repertoire for this concert features familiar and spirited works for the upcoming holiday season,” said Peter Durow, conductor of the University Choir and Choral Union. In the first suite, an orchestral introduction leads to two carols with German roots, “Good Christian Men Rejoice,” a song based on a medieval melody, and the 19th-century “Silent Night.” The set continues with the 18th-century noel “Patapan” and concludes with one of the most ancient musical celebrations of Christmas, “Adeste Fideles.” Bennett’s third suite includes arrangements of four very popular carols: “What Child Is This?”; “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”; “Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella”; and “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

The choir will also perform a beautiful a cappella work, “O Magnum Mysterium,” by Morten Lauridsen, as well as “This Christmastide” by Donald Fraser, with orchestral accompaniment. The concert will conclude with two popular seasonal melodies, “The Very Best Time of the Year” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” in arrangements for choir and orchestra by the celebrated British composer John Rutter.

Also notable with this concert will be a very large and colorful orchestra, with many percussion instruments and several unusual instruments, including saxophones and a guitar, adding instrumental texture to the work.

Tickets Now on Sale

Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (573) 651-2265 or by visiting www.RiverCampusEvents.com.