College launches season with choir concert and tree lighting

November 29, 2011

McDaniel’s holiday choir concert, “The Long Road,” featuring works that involve journeys, followed by the college’s 55th annual tree lighting, will begin at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 in Baker Memorial Chapel. The concert and tree lighting are free and open to the public.

Jim Lightner, professor of Mathematics Emeritus and college trustee, will present the history of the tree lighting and then Karen Violanti, dean of the first year program, will pull the switch to illuminate the 14-foot “live” balled Canaan fir with energy-efficient LED lights in front of Baker Memorial Chapel after the concert. The tree will be moved to a spot in front of Hoover Library after the tree-lighting ceremony, and later planted on the golf course.

The choir, under the direction of Music professor Margaret Boudreaux, will process with voices and percussion on “Shosholoza,” a South African song depicting a train, but symbolizing the long struggle for freedom. Next is “The Long Road,” by Erik Esenvalds, a love song in which the road is long, but the time nevertheless too short. The choir then goes to sea with “Skye Boat Song,” arranged by Scottish composer Ken Johnson, followed by “Put Vejini,” a Latvian folk song describing a little boat carrying the traveler to shore.

“We next turn to allegorical ‘journeys’ as we describe the mystical power of Ezekiel's vision in the spiritual ‘Ezekiel Saw De Wheel,’ arranged by Moses Hogan, followed by the wonder of the miracle celebrated at Hannukah, depicted by the spinning dreidel in ‘S'vivon,’” Boudreaux says. “As we approach the end of our journey we take sleigh rides, first in Estonia with ‘Ule Lume Lagedale,’ and then more familiarly with ‘Jingle Bells.’”

The concert will also feature performances by the McDaniel College Madrigal Singers. They will be performing two pieces that fit the theme. The first, “Never Weather Beaten Sail,” by Thomas Campion, is another "boat" song; a metaphor as one approaches the end of life's road and starts to see the promising shore beyond. They will then sing "It Was a Lover and His Lass" by Matthew Harris, which is a modern setting of the timeless Shakespeare text, describing love's journey.

To recognize the grandeur of the College’s newly renovated organ, the Choir will be joined by Masterworks Chorale of Carroll County on “Lobet den Herrn” by Michael Praetorius, which is a new edition by Boudreaux, prepared specifically for this concert. The evening will conclude in its traditional way, inviting choir alumni up to the stage to join in on “Still, Still, Still,” and then surrounding the audience for “Silent Night.”