Holiday concert a blend of tradition and international music


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (December 9, 2013) – In grand musical fashion, the Tuskegee University community marked the start of the holiday season Sunday in the University Chapel. The Tuskegee University Golden Voices Concert Choir treated the audience to a blend of old and new for their Annual Christmas Concert and Tree Lighting Ceremony. The choir gave soaring performances of several traditional holiday pieces such as “Do You Hear What I Hear” and “Hallelujah Chorus” from George F. Handel’s “Messiah”. The Golden Voices also paid tribute to Tuskegee’s musical legacy with two arrangements from William L. Dawson, “Mary Had a Baby” and “Li’l’ Boy Chile’ ”. 

Patricia Anderson, guest harpist.

Donations presented to the choir and marching band.
This year, the featured major work was “A Ceremony of Carols” by Benjamin Britten. Wayne A. Barr, choir director, said Britten is Britain’s best know 20th Century composer and this year marks the centennial of his birth. Accompanied by guest harpist, Patricia Anderson, the choir performed the pieces in Middle English, the English that was spoken between the late 12th and the late 15th Centuries. 

“Britten completed this collection of Christmas carols in April 1942 on a homeward voyage aboard the MS Axel Johnson, after a visit to the United States. Most of the poems are from “The English Galaxy of Shorter Poems,” Barr said. 

One of the most thrilling performances of the night was “Oba Ti De”, a Christmas folk song from Nigeria. Complete with African drums and dance movements, the piece was sung in Yoruba and Egbo. 

After an invocation by Rev. Gregory S. Gray, Tuskegee University Acting President Dr. Matthew Jenkins lit the Christmas trees that stand inside and outside of the chapel. During his welcome remarks, Jenkins called for more financial support of the university and the choir. Elaine Harrington, third vice president of the Tuskegee National Alumni Association, donated $500 to the choir and challenged others to leave donations as well. The choir and marching band also received donations on behalf of Rep. Pebblin Warren, an alumna and member of the Tuskegee University Board of Trustees. 

“The choir is the university’s most positive ambassador in this nation,” Harrington said. “This is our way of saying we appreciate you and what you do in the spirit of the university.”

© 2013 Tuskegee University

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