Bernstein Highlights Christmas at the Cathedral
December 3rd, 2014
Omaha, NE — An Omaha holiday tradition returns once again.[audio:https://kvnonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/cath-web.mp3]
This weekend the Omaha Symphonic Chorus presents its annual Christmas at the Cathedral concerts. For these performances the Chorus will be joined by the Nebraska Wesleyan Choir, the Omaha Archdiocesan Youth Choir, and members of the Omaha Symphony. Chorus Director Dr. Greg Zielke says performing in St. Ceciliaâ€™s Cathedral presents opportunities to do things a little differently.
â€œWe love singing in the space of the Cathedral,â€ he said. â€œNot only is it just so beautiful in terms of the setting, but using that space so people can hear music coming from all directions.â€
The highlight of this yearâ€™s performance is a contemporary take on several very old texts:
â€œThe centerpiece of the concert is the â€˜Chichester Psalmsâ€™ by Leonard Bernstein,â€ Zielke said. â€œThis piece I think is very appropriate for this period of Advent. The texts really begin to share with the audience this deep desire for reconciliation and peace.â€
Despite the ancient origins of the text, Dr. Zielke says the music is distinctly modern.
â€œThey pursued Bernstein with the idea of him intentionally giving some flavor of his â€˜West Side Storyâ€™ music,â€ he said.
Other works on the program also look to music of the past.
â€œThe â€˜Gloria tibi dominaeâ€™ is a medieval tune that is set by Mack Wilberg, and it is extremely energetic and joyful, but it has a very unique, kind of a medieval melody because it is set in a modal harmony,â€ he said.
The second half of the program includes many audience favorites.
â€œTunes like â€˜Silent Night,â€™ â€˜The First Noel,â€™ â€˜What Child is This,â€™ â€˜We Wish You A Merry Christmas,â€™ â€˜Ding-Dong Merrily on Highâ€™ – songs that people just love at Christmastime and we enjoy preparing,â€ said Zielke.
Performances of this yearâ€™s Christmas at the Cathedral are Friday, December 5 at 8 pm and Sunday, December 7 at 2 pm at Omahaâ€™s St. Cecilia Cathedral. For tickets and more information, visit online www.omahasymphonicchorus.org.
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