22nd Annual “Christmas at the Cathedral”


November 29th, 2017

Photo courtesy of the Omaha Symphonic Chorus

Omaha, NE—This weekend, The Omaha Symphonic Chorus will perform their 22nd annual Christmas at the Cathedral concert at the St. Cecilia Cathedral. This time the Chorus is partnering with the Nebraska Wesleyan University Concert Choir, making an ensemble of around 150 voices.  With accompaniment from members of Omaha Symphony, the Chorus will perform holiday classics by Vivaldi, Rachmaninoff and Bach along with some more contemporary pieces.

Conductor of the Omaha Symphonic Chorus Greg Zielke cited French composer Francis Poulenc as the inspiration for next week’s lineup.

“The concert began with the selection of the Poulenc ‘Gloria,’ which is an extended work,” Zielke said, “and it has wonderful features of modern sounds and orchestration and a beautiful soprano solo, and of course, the text is one of the most well-known and appreciated and loved texts of Christmas–the ‘Gloria’ text– and then paired together with three other pieces that highlight that text as well. So the first part of the concert is the ‘Gloria.’ We have a piece by Mack Wilberg, we have the opening chorus from the Vivaldi ‘Gloria,’ and then we have the short doxology from the Rachmaninoff ‘All-night Vigil.’ All those paired together I think make a wonderfully complete statement of the Gloria text and how it’s been presented over many many years.”

The lineup will also feature contemporary pieces, including the work of Jackson Berkey and a new commissioned piece from the composer.

“The second half of the concert is a look at some of the most beloved carols and Christmas texts throughout many many centuries, and so we have of course ‘Away in a Manger,’ ‘Silent Night,’ ‘Oh Holy Night,’ this setting of ‘O Magnum Mysterium,’ a setting of ‘The Magnificat,’ or we might say, ‘The Song of Mary.’”

Zielke believes that for this concert, the pairing between the song selection and venue is ideal.

“One of the things that I’m most excited about is doing this wonderful piece by Poulenc, the “Gloria,” because it is so fresh and new even yet many years after he composed the piece. And I think that it’s spacious enough in terms of the orchestration and the chorus for it to work really well in the very ambient and acoustics at the cathedral.”

The Omaha Symphonic Chorus’ 22nd Christmas at the Cathedral with Nebraska Wesleyan University and Omaha Symphony is next Friday, December 1st at 8:00pm and Sunday the 3nd at 2:00pm at St. Cecelia Cathedral . For more information or tickets, visit omahasymphicchorus.org.

The Omaha Symphonic Chorus’s 22nd Christmas at the Cathedral at St. Cecilia is next Friday, December 1st at 8:00pm, and the 2nd at 2:00pm.


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