Liberty’s School of Music gears up for annual “Christmas on the Boulevard” performances
Some people think that November is too early to listen to Christmas music, but the School of Music students have been singing Christmas music since September in preparation for Liberty’s annual “Christmas on the Boulevard.”
“This is the ‘last and biggest hurrah of the semester for (the School of Music),’” Associate Dean of the School of Music Dr. Stephen Muller said.
Featuring four nights of concerts beginning Tuesday, Dec. 3, the Christmas season will start off with a presentation of music, videos and visuals presented by ensembles in The School of Music.
“(‘Christmas on the Boulevard’ is) the School of Music’s gift to Liberty University and the greater Lynchburg community,” Muller said. “It’s our Christmas present . . . it’s like wrapping up the fall semester and putting a bow on it.”
Each night of the event is titled based on the music that will be featured – Handel’s “Messiah” (December 3), “Christmas Ornaments (December 5),” “The President’s Encore Performance” (December 6) and “Amahl and the Night Visitors (December 8).”
Tuesday, Dec. 3, starts the week with Handel’s “Messiah.” This night will present the Christmas portions of the “Messiah” and will be featuring faculty soloists Dr. Wayne Kompelien, Adelaide Trombetta, Dr. Samantha Miller and Dr. John Hugo.
Thursday, Dec. 5’s performance is titled “Christmas Ornaments” and will be a collection of Christmas carols featuring various ensembles from the School of Music. Several of the songs performed are original arrangements written by faculty members, as well as a composition by senior film scoring student Joshua Tomes, titled “Emmanuel Shall Come.”
Friday, Dec. 6, is “The President’s Encore Performance.” Designed with the Falwell family in mind, this concert will highlight the week’s events, including pieces from “Messiah,” “Christmas Ornaments” and a few scenes from “Amahl and the Night Visitors.”
Sunday, Dec. 8, will close out the week of Christmas concerts downtown at the Academy Center for the Arts. In partnership with Opera on the James, the School of Music will present “Amahl and the Night Visitors” at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. The Opera on the James website says this is a “retelling of the story of the Three Kings – Melchior, Balthasar, and Gaspar – who visited the infant Christ while he lay in a manger in Bethlehem. The hero of the opera, Amahl, is a disabled boy who, through his meeting with the Three Kings, discovers the meaning of generosity and grace.”
Emily Pettit is a senior in the School of Music. This is Pettit’s fourth year involved with “Christmas on the Boulevard,” and out of the four nights, Pettit said she is most excited about “The President’s Encore
“That performance has pieces from all of the concerts combined from the week,” Pettit said. “The audience will hear a variety of music ranging from spiritual songs from the classics era all the way to new Christmas songs written by our own School of Music students.”
Pettit encouraged people to attend the concerts.
“There will be some of the greatest worship celebrations of the year celebrating Jesus’ birth,” Pettit said. “It is incredible worshipping alongside 300 students in the choir as well as seeing the audience engage with the music.”
Muller echoed Pettit’s enthusiasm.
“Bring your friends and family,” Muller said. “It is a wonderful experience celebrating the birth of Christ through music.”
Tickets are available for “Christmas on the Boulevard” at tickets.liberty.edu and for “Amahl and the Night Visitors” at academycenter.org.