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MSU Choir Holiday Concert

Choral graphic

Morehead State University students will combine with First Baptist Church and other Rowan County community singers to create a performance of Camille Saint-Saëns's "Christmas Oratorio" at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4. The performance will be held at First Baptist Church, 123 East Main Street in Morehead.

The pianist for the performance will be Tania Sempertegui, First Baptist Church pianist. Greg Detweiler, MSU Director of Choral Studies and First Baptist Church choir director, is the conductor.

The choir is comprised of community singers and MSU students. The soloists will include MSU Assistant Professor of Music in Voice Dr. Eric Brown; Janessa Broadhurst (Class of 2019), Boyd County Middle School music teacher and MSU alum; Janette Debellefeuille, a social worker at the Public Defender Office; Dr. David Gregory, MSU Dean of Library Sciences and Minister of Music at First Baptist Church; and Adrian Jacob, Kentucky lawyer and First Baptist organist. Morehead State University students performing solos are Jon Duncan, a sophomore from Rowan County; Summer Lighthall, a senior from Burlington; Emily McCreary, a junior from Catlettsburg; Samuel Smittle, a junior from Russell; Katie Webb, a senior from Mt. Sterling; and Sarah White-Jarman, a graduate student from Lexington.

The "Oratorio de Noël" was written in 1858 by Camille Saint-Saëns for the Christmas Eve worship service at the Church of Saint-Marie-Madeleine in Paris, where he was the organist. He was just 23 years old when he composed the piece in 10 days.

Saint-Saëns divided the work into 10 movements, a prelude followed by nine vocal numbers. The text recounts the traditional Christmas story with shepherds and reflects on the significance and meaning of the birth. While there are episodes of passionate solo writing and a furious chorus, much of the composition is lyrical in character. Saint-Saëns concludes the oratorio with a majestic hymn of praise.

The Sunday afternoon concert is sponsored by First Baptist Church and will be presented free of charge.