‘Joy and Wonder’ concert is Dec. 2

Washington University choirs celebrate the holidays

Ah, December: Days grow shorter, checkout lines longer and final exams closer.

Nicole Aldrich

But at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, audiences are invited to pause for an afternoon of “Joy and Wonder.” Presented by the Washington University Concert Choir and the Washington University Chamber Choir, the Graham Chapel concert will feature a range of holiday music.

Directed by Nicole Aldrich, the program will open with a setting of the “Magnificat” or the “Canticle of Mary,” by British composer Gerald Finzi. Written in 1952, the piece was originally intended for a Christmas Vespers’ service, rather than liturgical use, and is noted for Finzi’s characteristic use of contrapuntal writing.

Next will be two settings of “O magnum mysterium:” one by Renaissance master Tomás Luis de Victoria, composed in 1572, and one by Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Higdon, composed in 2002. Accompanying the latter will be flutists Jennifer Gartley and Claire Grooms. Percussion — consisting of chimes and two water-filled crystal glasses — will be performed by Sabrina Lessner.

The program will continue with two Christmas motets by Francis Poulenc. Faculty harpist Sue Taylor and tenor Anthony Heinemann, a 2012 alumnus, will then join the Chamber Choir for Benjamin Britten’s “Choral Dances” from “Gloriana” (1953).

Concluding the program will be “Jauchzet dem Herren” (“Make a Joyful Noise to the Lord”), a double choir motet by the 17th-century German composer Heinrich Schütz.

Sponsored by the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences, “Joy and Wonder” is free and open to the public. Graham Chapel is located immediately north of the Mallinckrodt Center, 6445 Forsyth Blvd. For more information, call (314) 935-5566 or email daniels@wustl.edu.