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Home Arts & Culture Christmas at Concordia Combines Old and New Traditions

by Ryan Trueblood


Concordia’s student musicians came together on Dec. 4-6 for the fourth annual Christmas at Concordia at St. John Lutheran Church. It was presented as a seamless concert of scripture readings and musical performances with both traditional Christmas favorites as well as newer additions to the program.

Tickets for this year’s show sold out quickly after their release to the public.

Music groups featured in the concert were the Handbell Choir, Women’s Chorale, Male Chorus, Brass Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, A Cappella Choir and Symphonic Band.

The ensembles were directed by Dr. Jeffrey Blersch, Jessica Kite, Andrew Schultz, Dr. Wendy Schultz and Dr. Kurt von Kampen.

“The shows were very successful, and each group performed beautifully. It is exhausting but a good feeling,” Andrew Schultz said.

Months of practices and rehearsals helped students hone their vocal and instrumental prowess.

“There was a feeling of excitement and a nervousness before. It is a big show,” Andrew Schultz said.

While most students performed in just one of the selected choruses or bands, many students participated in several and showcased their versatility. Even Wendy Schultz jumped in to play trombone during the Brass Ensemble’s rendition of “Little Drummer Boy.” Several arrangements featured solos that highlighted the talents of the performing group ranging from four-part trumpet introductions to descants led by soloists.

Traditional melodies like “Pat-a-Pan” and “Angels We Have Heard on High” contrasted with new additions to the program such as “See Amid the Winter’s Snow” and “Stars.” “Stars” featured dimmed lights and projected stars shining on the ceiling while images flashed on the front wall of the sanctuary.

“Every effect was used to enhance or highlight the song. [“Stars”] was Dr. von Kampen’s brainchild,” Andrew Schultz said.

Audience participation was built into the performance. The congregation sang the final hymn “O Come, All Ye Faithful” while the bands played and the choirs harmonized.

Rather than clapping between each song, applause was held until the end, when the audience showed their appreciation with a standing ovation.

The congregation included Concordia students and faculty, alumni, community members and the family of students who were performing.

“There is a lot of buildup in the campus and Seward community and for the region. I know people drive in from other parts of Nebraska, and there are parents that drive hundreds of miles,” said Andrew Schultz.

Donations from the show support Concordia’s music program.


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