Sacred Works Resound at A Cathedral Christmas: Songs of the Manger

LEXINGTON, KY – The Lexington Philharmonic returns to the magnificent Cathedral of Christ the King to present an evening of sacred music dedicated to the Christmas season and the nativity at A Cathedral Christmas: Songs of the Manger on Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 8:00 PM. LexPhil will present a diverse selection of sacred works for voice and orchestra, including selections by Gustav Holst, Ottorino Respighi, Max Reger, and Howard Blake, with talent from the Lexington Chamber Chorale and Ecco Chamber Choir, as well as Sarah Shafer, soprano, and Jamie Van Eyck,  mezzo-soprano. Following the concert, the audience is invited to join LexPhil and guest artists in Hehman Hall for cookies and light refreshments.

“I personally always look forward to returning to the wonderful sanctuary of the Cathedral for this musical highlight of the Lexington holiday season,” says Music Director and Conductor, Scott Terrell. “It is a delight to once again partner with the choral forces of the Lexington Chamber Chorale and Ecco Choir, as well as our two magnificent soloists. The works selected this year embody the reverence and ecstatic joy of the birth of the Christ child, and there is no greater setting for these resplendent traditional and modern works than the Cathedral of Christ the King.” 

The combined voices of the Lexington Chamber Chorale led by Dr. Gary Anderson and Ecco Chamber Choir, led by Dr. Vicki Bell, will perform Ola Gjeilo’s Serenity, a stunning piece for choir and cello, Paulus’ Wonder Tidings from “Nativity Carols,” and traditional works Away in the Manger and The First Noel. Soprano Sarah Shafer, sought after for her “luminous voice” and “intensely expressive interpretations,” makes her return to the stage with the Lexington Philharmonic alongside “luminescent” and “touching” Jamie Van Eyck, mezzo-soprano. Highlighting the program, soloists Sarah Shafer, soprano, and Jamie Van Eyk, mezzo-soprano will fill the Cathedral with Respighi’s chamber cantata Lauda per la Natività del Signore and Howard Blake’s Christmas Lullaby. Ms. Shafer will also sing Reger’s Mariä Wiegenlied (Mary’s Lullaby), and Ms. Van Eyck will sing Holst’s classic Christmas Day. 

The Lexington Chamber Chorale, conducted by Dr. Gary Anderson, brings a rich and unique choral repertoire to Central Kentucky audiences. Since its humble beginning as the Sine Nomine Singers, the Chorale has enjoyed celebrating the art of choral singing through performing interesting and challenging pieces of music. Chamber Chorale concerts also enrich the Lexington cultural community through creative collaborations with guest artists and musicians. A passion for singing and the continued pursuit of musical excellence inspire the singers to present quality programs that touch both mind and spirit.

Ecco is a chamber choir based in Lexington, KY who specializes in performing sacred a cappella music. The choir, established in 2008, is comprised of 24 singers. While the focus of Ecco’s repertoire is the choral music of the Renaissance, sacred pieces of all periods are performed. Ecco performs regularly in concert and also sings choral preludes for evensong services. Ecco is under the musical direction of Dr. Vicki Bell. Dr. Bell teaches Music Theory at Asbury University in Wilmore, KY. She also conducts the University’s mixed-voice choir which completed a successful tour of Italy in 2007 and a cathedral residency in 2009 at Gloucester Cathedral in England.  

Named “a singer to watch” by Opera News, soprano Sarah Shafer is quickly emerging as a sought-after artist on both the operatic and concert stage. The 2017-2018 season sees Ms. Shafer’s Metropolitan Opera debut as Azema in the John Copley production of Semiramide. Concert work includes her debuts with Malmo Symphony Orchestra singing Barber’s Knoxville Summer of 1915 with John Wilson conducting, and with Utah Symphony Orchestra singing Mozart’s Mass in C Minor conducted by Markus Stenz. Recital work includes a return to the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago for their opening concert “Myths and Legends” and a salon concert with Myra Huang.

Hailed by Opera News for performances that are “luminescent” and “touching,” mezzo-soprano Jamie Van Eyck appeals to audiences and critics alike as a compelling artist in opera and concert. Recent career highlights include a New York Cityb solo recital debut, and recordings for Albany Records, Centaur Records, and Bridge Records. Jamie is a soloist on the American Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, and sings a leading role on the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s DVD release of Elliott Carter’s opera, What’s Next.

Tickets to A Cathedral Christmas range from $25-75 with $11 student tickets available the day before the concert and just before curtain, as available. Ample lot and street parking is available at the Cathedral of Christ the King. 

A Cathedral Christmas is made possible through the generous support of Individual Private Support and Tycho. B Shea. For more information or to purchase tickets to A Cathedral Christmas, please contact the Lexington Philharmonic box office at 859.233.4226, or visit online at www.lexphil.org.

The mission of the Lexington Philharmonic is to foster excellence and innovation in the performance and presentation of great music; to enrich the lives of our diverse citizenry; to educate current and future audiences and to bring distinction to our community through the orchestra’s presence and standing. Through LexPhil’s four core values of artistic excellence, innovation, collaboration and accessibility, LexPhil will continue to move forward, artistically and purposefully, providing world-class musical experiences and impactful educational opportunities for the Bluegrass Region and beyond. 

Now in his ninth season with the Lexington Philharmonic, Music Director and Conductor Scott Terrell has led the orchestra in a significant transformation to align with the organizational values of artistic excellence, collaboration, innovation and accessibility. Scott is passionate about engaging the broadest possible community in music as listeners, musicians, composers and advocates. Through LexPhil collaborations with high schools, colleges and youth performing arts groups, Scott dedicates time and energy to educating emerging musical artists. His programming has expanded the orchestra’s repertoire and enhanced the national reputation of the organization through commissioning of new music, multi-media and interdisciplinary projects and international guest conducting.

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All Lexington Philharmonic programs are made possible through the generous support of LexArts. In 2017-2018, the Lexington Philharmonic will receive a total of $170,000 in unrestricted support.       

LexPhil’s 2017-2018 Season is presented by the Dupree Initiative for Innovation, funded by the tremendous generosity of Thomas and Ann Todd Dupree.

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, provides operating support to the Lexington Philharmonic with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Saykaly Garbulinska Foundation, funder of the Saykaly Garbulinska Composer-in-Residence Program, generously brings renowned composer Chris Brubeck to work with the Lexington Philharmonic for the 2017-2018 season. 

Special thanks to the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government for its continued partnership in ensuring a flourishing future for the arts in Lexington and central Kentucky.