College, community choirs sing in the holiday season

By Jennifer Stogsdill

"O Come All Ye Faithful" to the Laramie County Community College Christmas Choral Festival Sunday, Dec. 11.

"The Christmas Choral Festival is a musical gift to the community," Nancy Cornish, LCCC choir director, said. "The LCCC Collegiate Chorale, the LCCC Kantorei Singers, the Capital Chorale and a group called 'Just Friends' have been working on sacred Christmas music to perform for the community."

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. at St. Mary's Cathedral.

The LCCC Kantorei Singers will perform "Carol of the Bells" by M. Leontovich, arranged by Peter J. Wilhousky and "Bogoroditse Devo" from "All-Night Vigil" by Sergei Rachmaninoff.

The LCCC Collegiate Chorale will perform "Magnificat -The Canticle of the Blessed Virgin" by Jean Berger, and the choirs combined will perform "Choral Fanfare for Christmas" by Ron Nelson; "Ding Dong Merrily On High," a traditional English carol, arranged by Howard Cable; "Candlelight Carol" with lyrics and music by John Rutter, and "Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burnin'," a spiritual, arranged by André Thomas.

"The audience will hear college and community choirs singing some well-known and also some new Christmas music," Cornish said.

The audience will also have the opportunity to sing "O Come All Ye Faithful" by J. F. Wade; "Silent Night" by Franz Gruber, and "Joy to the World" by G. F. Handel along with the choirs while John Hillabolt, the new piano and organ instructor, plays St. Mary's organ.

Cornish said, "I've wanted to have our choirs sing Jean Berger's 'Magnificat' for eight years, and finally the time seems right. Sheila Green, conductor of the Capital Chorale, and I sat down and chose some of our favorite Christmas carols from the LCCC choral library, the Capital Chorale choral library, and the Christmas Choral Festival's choral library downtown. We chose the pieces we will sing together."

Cornish is especially interested in Berger because he was born in Hamm, Germany, studied musicology at the universities of Heidelberg and Vienna and then worked as a composer, pianist and accompanist in Paris. He toured South America and conducted an orchestra in Brazil. Eventually, Berger moved to the United States in 1941, was drafted and became a citizen in 1943.

In later years of his life, he was a teacher of music composition at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

"His music is full of fun rhythms, beautiful melodies and jazzy chords," Cornish said.

Another composer she is particularly interested in is Andre Thomas. He was raised in Kansas, where he studied piano and music composition. He currently teaches choirs and choral conducting in Texas and travels all over the world as a choral clinician. Thomas has even worked with the All-State Choir of Wyoming.

Cornish said, "Thomas specializes in composing spirituals, and we will sing his 'Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burnin'."

This concert is free to the public, but a ticket is required. You can obtain a ticket at Niemann & Sons Music or Yocum Music starting Dec. 5.