For many, the beginning of the holiday season is marked by attending the annual Concordia Christmas Concert. This year's concert includes some audience favorites along with some changes.
Now in its 87th year, the Concordia Christmas Concert is symbolic of the season filled with glad tidings and good cheer.
The approximately 450 people involved with this year’s concerts have been busily preparing and working on a few unanticipated challenges.
Memorial Auditorium, where the past 60 concerts have been held, is undergoing a structural analysis, moving the Moorhead concerts across the river to the Fargo (N.D.) Civic Center.
The location change means the rehearsals are substantially different from how they would have been in Memorial Auditorium.
“We don’t get the comfort or the knowledge of what the space is with all of the various elements in place before we perform,” says Gordon Moe, associate director of music organizations and managing producer of the Christmas Concert.
Colin Sullivan '14, Brainerd, Minn., is vice president of The Concordia Choir. Sullivan says the musical and artistic preparation has intensified.
“In an unknown venue, each performer is making sure they are equipped to bring a unique and inspiring message to these audiences,” Sullivan says.
The choirs and orchestra will get one shortened rehearsal in the Civic Center before performing six concerts in two cities in four days.
Many of the audience’s favorite elements will still be in play, along with a few bonuses.
- Mural artist Paul Johnson reconfigured the mural design to fit the smaller Civic Center stage.
- The mural and choir will still be bathed in a light show designed by Bryan Duncan, director of campus lights.
- The seating configuration at the Civic Center allows for the audience to be much closer to the performers than ever before.
- The music will continue to take center stage: All five choirs and a symphony orchestra will come together to create a beautiful collection of Christmas music.
The opening sequence to the concert will premiere an original composition by Dr. René Clausen, with text by President William Craft.
“I noticed what a beautifully constructed and powerful text it was,” Clausen says. “I thought it would make a really beautiful opening to the concert. I wrote some new music for full choir and orchestra and set the text to it.”
This piece, called “Carol of the Word,” is Sullivan’s favorite part of the concert.
“The text is absolutely stunning, and it is incredible to see the work of two brilliant Concordia men come alive with more than 400 Concordia performers,” Sullivan says. “It’s masterful.”
Share your Concordia Christmas Concert experience on social media. Whether you’re performing, attending or remembering a past experience, share your thoughts using #cordmn and you might make it into the Christmas Concert Storify.