Songs for Thanksgiving Nov. 24

Washington University Choirs celebrate fall’s bounty

Nicole Aldrich will lead the Washington University Choirs Sunday, Nov. 24. (Credit: Whitney Curtis/WUSTL Photos)
The air chills, the leaves fall, the crops are collected and stored for winter. From India to Estonia, from Britain to West Africa, from Holi to Thanksgiving, virtually every culture celebrates the harvest.

At 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, the Washington University in St. Louis Concert Choir and Chamber Choir will honor fall’s bounty with Thanksgiving, a wide-ranging concert that stretches from Renaissance Italy to contemporary Senegal.

Directed by Nicole Aldrich, WUSTL director of choral activities, the program will open with “Barechu” (c. 1622), a setting of the traditional Hebrew prayer, by the Italian Jewish composer Salamone Rossi (1570-c. 1630).

Next comes “Blessed Be the Name of the Lord” by American composer Dale Grotenhuis (1931-2012), followed by “The King Shall Rejoice” (1727) by George Frideric Handel (1685-1759).

Other highlights include “Sharad” (1988), a harvest song, based on an Indian rāg, by “Bollywood” film composer Vanraj Bhatia; and “Sügismaastikud” (1964) by Estonian composer Veljo Tormis (b. 1930).

Mezzo-soprano Ellen Cleveland and bassist Paul Steinbeck will join the Concert Choir for “Harvest” (2007), an arrangement of a traditional spiritual by Rollo Dilworth (b. 1970).

Rounding out the program will be “Nun danket alle Gott” (1705) by Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706); “An American Thanksgiving: Three Hymns from ‘The Sacred Harp’” (2003) by Carol Barnett (b. 1949); and “Kaki Lambe” (2005), an arrangement of a traditional Senegalese piece by Brian Tate (b. 1954).

The pianist for Thanksgiving is Sandra Geary. The performance, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Department of Music in Arts & Sciences and takes place in the E. Desmond Lee Concert Hall of WUSTL’s 560 Music Center.

The 560 Music Center is located at 560 Trinity Ave., in University City. For more information, call (314) 935-5566 or email

The Washington University Choirs perform. (Credit: Whitney Curtis/WUSTL Photos)