A Duo of Performances Kicks Off Christmas SeasonDecember 1, 2014

Rockhurst University will ring in the Christmas season with a duo of musical events this weekend.

At 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5 in St. Francis Xavier Church at 52nd Street and Troost Avenue west of Rockhurst University, Rockhurst University’s Musica Sacra Chorus and Orchestra will present an regional premiere of Leonardo Leo’s Magnificat as part of its annual Christmas concert.

The program will also include Church Sonatas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Music Director Timothy McDonald will present live program notes at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $18; $12 for students and seniors and are available through the Central Ticket Office, 816-235-6222, or at www.rockhurst.edu/mstickets.

The University will continue its celebration with the annual Ceremony of Lessons and Carols at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6, in St. Francis Xavier Church, 52nd and Troost Avenue.

Rockhurst’s 35-voice student choruses, the University Chorus and Chamber Singers, will perform the 24th annual holiday concert.

Rockhurst University’s Ceremony of Lessons and Carols is a part of a rich history that began in 1918 at Christmas Eve services held in King’s College Chapel at the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England. Eric Milner-White, the newly appointed Dean of the King’s College, devised the Ceremony of Nine Lessons and Carols after his experience as an army chaplain convinced him that the Church of England needed more “imaginative worship.”

Musical selections chosen to complement the biblical readings will include movements from “A Ceremony of Carols” by English composer Benjamin Britten (1913-1976).

In addition, the ensemble will perform an audience favorite—a setting of “O Holy Night” by Wichita composer John Leavitt.

A wealth of Christmas carols and songs from other countries will also be featured, including the Polish carol “Lullaby, Jesu” and a medley of two popular American spirituals, “Rise Up, Shepherd’” and “Behold That Star.”

Timothy L. McDonald, Ph.D., will direct the choruses and an instrumental ensemble of strings, winds, and piano.

Admission to the concert is free, but a donation of a nonperishable food, a child’s toy or a grooming product is requested. Last year, hundreds of neighborhood families benefited from these contributions.

A candlelight procession will lead audience members from the church and across the street to a complimentary post-concert reception in the Greenlease Library on the Rockhurst University campus.

Free parking is available at St. Francis Xavier Church or in the north parking garage on Rockhurst’s campus.  Please register your attendance by calling 816-501-4828.

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