Dr. Von Kampen directs the congregation during a hymn at Christmas at Concordia 2018. Photo by Kim Sleeper.
By Daniel Heitshusen
Christmas at Concordia, an annual concert put on by Concordia’s music department, ran from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 with people coming from all over to see it – even with inclement weather.
“This is one of my favorite weekends of the academic year, and I’m so glad that many, many people again this year will have an opportunity to celebrate and experience this mountaintop experience,” University President Brian Friedrich said.
The concert featured performances from the University Symphonic Band, conducted by Dr. Andrew Schultz; Cantamus Women’s Choir, conducted by Dr. Jeffrey Blersch; Concordia Handbell Choir, conducted by Professor Jessica Kite; University A Cappella Choir, conducted by Dr. Kurt von Kampen; Male Chorus, conducted by Paul Soulek; and the University Brass Ensemble, conducted by Dr. Wendy Schultz.
One piece that led to applause – even with the concert’s requested restriction on applause until the end – was “Rise Up, Shepherd and Follow,” performed by the A Cappella Choir and featured senior Austin Theriot on bass, freshman Zachary Mueller on percussion, and senior Nathan Patron with a solo. The concert ended with “Joy to the World” as the finale, featuring all the ensembles, as well as participation from the congregation.
“So far, I think it’s going really good; there’s a bunch of audience reception that I’ve been hearing about how they’ve really enjoyed the concert,” said junior Jacob Mikkelson, who plays horn in the University Brass Ensemble.
Von Kampen said he appreciated the audience turnout despite the winter weather.
“Students have performed at a consistently high level, and even with all the weather issues coming to town, the crowds are still great, and they want to be here, I think, so that’s good,” said von Kampen said.
Christmas at Concordia is considered unique in how it points to Jesus. Throughout the concert, transitions were filled with passages of Scripture concerning Jesus’ advent to the world.
“I believe that this is just a really good way to get the Scripture and the miracle that Jesus brought to us out to everybody, and I’m so glad that people from all over get to come, even though the weather is bad,” said sophomore Jenna Fredrickson, a member of Cantamus.