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The Lafayette choirs will give their annual Winter Concert and Carol-Sing 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Williams Center for the Arts.

Nina Gilbert, director of choral activities, will lead the 50-voice Concert Choir, 18-voice Madrigal Singers, and Faculty-Staff Vocal Chamber Ensemble. Stephani Bell will direct the orchestra.

The concert, which is sponsored by the music department, is free and open to the public.

“Every year I listen to the voices we have and try to find music that highlights our sound and our performing forces,” Gilbert says.

One such piece is a Christmas lullaby entitled “Balulalow,” which was originally for women’s voices and harp, but Gilbert believes the harp imitates a guitar, so the choirs will perform the piece with guitar accompaniment by George Torres, associate professor of music.

The concert will include many spiritual pieces this year, including “By an’ By,” by Alice Parker; “My Lord, What a Mornin’,” by Harry Burleigh; “Steal Away,” arranged for men’s voices by Brazeal Dennard; and “There is a Balm in Gilead,” arranged for women’s voices by William Dawson.

Two spirituals on the program are “Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow,” for string orchestra, choir, soloists, and the audience; and “Wade in the Water,” for men’s voices with tuba accompaniment.

“Our audiences enjoy sing-along opportunities, so I have arranged a Christmas spiritual that includes two lines for the audience,” Gilbert says. “Their lines are especially fun to sing because the orchestra accompanies them by imitating bagpipes. We also have our traditional carol-sing at the end of the concert.”

Other pieces by various performers include “Ave Maria,” by Gustav Holst and sung by the ten women of the Madrigal Singers; “Flight of the Bumble Bee,” in vocal jazz style; and two barbershop songs, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” sung by the Faculty-Staff Choir and “While Strolling Through the Park One Day,” sung by the men of the Madrigal Singers.

“We are also singing some extremely beautiful, well-loved miniature masterpieces,” Gilbert says. “James Erb’s Lush 971 arrangement of ‘Shenandoah,’ which I consider the best arrangement of any folk song by anyone, ever, and Rachmaninoff’s gorgeous ‘Bogoroditse Devo,’ the Ave Maria in Slavonic—our choir seems to have a real gift for Russian music. Gustav Holst’s setting of ‘I Love My Love’ is a beautiful English ballad that tells a sweet story, and there will be two European madrigals sung by the Madrigal Singers: ‘Il bianco e dolce cigno,’ The sweet white swan dies singing, by Jacques Arcadelt and ‘Revecy venir du printans,’ Behold again the springtime, by Claude Le Jeune.

The candlelight processional will feature “Cantate Domino,” a nine-part round written by Mozart at the age of 14.

Sixteen members of the Concert Choir first sang a portion of the program in Washington, D.C. over fall break. They performed at the Masonic headquarters and at St. John Evangelical Luther Church (Riverdale, Md.), which is led by interim pastor Rev. M.Gregory Shannon ’62.

“I thought the whole program went well and they were well received by the congregation,” Shannon says.

Gilbert says she views the winter concert as an annual gift to the community as a way to begin the holiday season.

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