Music Department gives “The Comfort and Tidings of Joy”
December 14, 2009
More than 2,000 audience members throughout the City of Salem heard “comfort and tidings of joy” through the Music Department’s December performances. The first three presentations continued Corban’s tradition of Christmas music on campus during the first weekend of December. The other performances were held the following week in such venues as the State Capitol rotunda, the Union Gospel Mission, First Baptist Church, Illahe Hills Country Club, and the Salem Center Mall.
Dan Shuholm, Music Department Chair, said this year’s theme arose from the traditional English “Somerset Carol,” although it was little-known to the groups prior to learning it this fall. Shuholm noted that at first look, the carol’s words seemed out of order, especially because a more popular carol uses the words in a different order. “But upon reflecting on the words in the order they are in,” said Shuholm, “a new truth came to light for us: There is comfort in celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ year after year. It’s not just good news.”
Corban’s choirs, bands and orchestra collaborated for the weekend performances. The theme from “Somerset Carol” was woven throughout each concert chorally and instrumentally. Selections from Tchaikovsky’s suite, The Nutcracker, were also featured. The finale of the concerts at Corban included an audience sing-a-long of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus,” followed by “Worthy Is the Lamb” and “Amen,” also from Handel’s Messiah.
Three vans full of members from Evangelical Bible Church in Dallas, Ore., enjoyed the Christmas music selections repeated at Corban’s chapel service on Monday, December 7. Marilyn Goin, a member of this seniors’ group, loved the choral medley from White Christmas, which was accompanied by the Jazz Band. She said, “They had such enthusiasm; such syncopation, and freedom to move along with the music. It’s a different generation than the one I grew up in. It was all sparkle!”
Photo by Hal Washburn
Another crowd-pleaser was Concert Choir’s interpretation of the Nigerian carol, “Betelehemu.” Dr. Matthew Strauser, Director of Choral Activities, employed a ten-person percussion section which included congas, a rain stick, a rain angle, and large tone tubes.
At the Oregon State Capitol rotunda on Monday, the choirs, orchestra, and select members of the jazz band performed in the “Holidays at the Capitol” lunchtime programming.
The voices of Concert Choir singing from the Messiah made a supreme acoustical impression. The Capitol’s audience also appreciated the guest conducting of the Orchestra in “Little Drummer Boy.” The guest conductor was none other than Mr. Manny Bartsch, the four-year-old grandson of Corban’s orchestral leader, John T. Bartsch. His debut as director demonstrated actual skill along with plenty of promise.
For other city-wide performances, the Music Department’s groups shared the Christmas message separately. Chamber Choir sang for the Women’s Military League Luncheon at Illahe on Tuesday. Later that evening the choir inspired 74 guests at a banquet for seniors of First Baptist Church. The Orchestra performed at the Union Gospel Mission on Monday, as well as at the downtown mall, before playing a concert in Director John Bartsch’s home for a group of neighbors.
Shuholm said, “We’ve been reminding people all over the city that Christmas is almost here — and that’s a great thing!”
By Jenny Hirschfelder, Staff Writer, Office of Marketing & Communications
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