newVoices Celebrates Christmas with sacred program

Posted on Nov 21, 2016 by

This holiday season, newVoices will take its popular Christmas concert on the road. Since 2012, the choir has presented a program of completely sacred music and this year, the choir is adding a concert in Green Bay. “Christmas at the Cathedral” will be at the St. Francis Xavier Cathedral near downtown Green Bay on Friday, December 16 at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, December 17, newVoices will present “Christmas at the Chapel” in two performances at the Lawrence Memorial Chapel in Appleton at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

The concert is one of the few completely sacred celebrations at Christmas and, since adopting this format, audiences have continued to grow. “It’s clear to us that our audience wants a program focused on the real reason for the season,” said Executive Director Kristopher Ulrich. “The strong demand for our Appleton concerts prompted us to offer this more spiritual celebration to the residents of Green Bay.”

The choir’s Artistic Director, Dr. Phillip Swan, created a program that presents a mix of music genres to appeal to a range of audience members. Many selections are classical in nature and many are the works of famous choral composers such as John Rutter. Many selections are familiar: “Angels we have Heard on High,” “Still, Still, Still,” “Carol of the Drum,” “Glory to God in the Highest,” “Silent Night,” and many more. Choral singing is perhaps most popular around Christmas—mostly because so many people grow up knowing and loving the traditional carols. For that reason, newVoices will include audience sing-alongs throughout the program so everyone can lift their voice in praise together.

“Our society has become so politically correct in public settings that we’ve isolated our shared tradition of the season,” Swan said. “Our programming is an opportunity to return to our common roots and celebrate our mutual experience at this time of year.”

Concerts will feature a “mini masterwork” as a centerpiece of the performance—“Canite Tuba” by Donald McCullough. This powerful, festive work is based on three texts that come from the liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. The three movements express the birth of Christ in chant-like vocal lines, vocal fanfares, and rich fugue sections. “It’s a contemporary sound, but an accessible sound,” Swan said. “The music has an ancient flavor and is very celebratory,” he added.

The Appleton concerts will feature The Lawrence University Academy of Music Young Men’s Chorus joining newVoices on a few selections. This is a new ensemble specifically for teens whose voices have changed and keeps young men connected with choral music. At concerts in both Green Bay and Appleton, Kathrine Handford will be the featured organist. Handford is an organ instructor at Lawrence University and in Appleton will be playing the magnificent 33-foot-tall Brombaugh Organ that is the centerpiece of the Lawrence Memorial Chapel stage.

Other selections on the program include:
How Far is it to Bethlehem, James McCullough
Adeste, Fidelis, Alice Parker
What Sweeter Music, John Rutter
Ave Maria, Franz Biebl
All Praise to Thee, Elaine Hagenberg
Breath of Heaven, Chris Eaton & Amy Grant

For all concerts, tickets may be purchased online at www.newvoiceschoir.org, by calling the choir office at 920-832-9700 or at the door. Concert organizers recommend purchasing tickets in advance as all performances will be very close to sold out.

Christmas at the Cathedral
St. Francis Xavier Cathedral
140 South Monroe Ave, Green Bay
Fri., Dec.16, 2016, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $20 adults, $10 students
Special guest artist: Kathrine Handford, Organist
Purchase tickets online here

Christmas at the Chapel
Lawrence Memorial Chapel, Appleton
Sat., Dec.17, 2015, 2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $25 adults, students $10
Special guest artist: Kathrine Handford, Organist and the Lawrence Academy of Music Young Men’s Chorus
Purchase tickets online here

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