‘Behold a Star’ at MU Holiday Concert

While most people are thinking about their Thanksgiving Day menu, Peggy Dettwiler and the five vocal ensembles under her direction are putting final touches on their annual choral concert that ushers in the December holiday season. “Behold a Star” will be performed Saturday, December 4 and Sunday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. in Steadman Theatre.

“We’ve been doing a holiday concert for the 25 years I’ve been here,” Dettwiler said. “But it has grown in size and thematic focus.”

Dettwiler does a lot of research, collecting arrangements of both sacred and secular music. This year’s concert includes spirituals, psalms, and poetry by James Agee and Robert Frost. “I’ve been wanting to do a star theme for a while,” she said. “Stars inspire us in many ways because they’re constant.”

The program will be comprised of more than 200 vocalists and instrumentalists, including the Men’s Choir of 75 voices, the Women’s Choir of 90 voices, the Mansfieldians, an a cappella group of 12 voices, the 130 person Festival Chorus, and the award-winning Concert Choir with 59 voices.

The finale will follow the tradition of past years and be sung by the combined ensembles as they fill the hall on all sides and aisles. The program runs an hour and a half.

In between the ensembles, the audience joins in a carol sing-a-long for which words are provided. According to Dettwiler, “It’s a great way to kick off the season, and folks seem to love the participatory aspect of it.” Familiar carols and hymns for audience participation will add to the holiday spirit.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for students and children and are available online at www.music.mansfield.edu or by calling (570) 662-4710.

Due to the popularity of the holiday concert, patrons are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance and arrive 30 minutes before concert time.

The concert is supported in part by student activity fees.

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