Las Vegas, N.M. – The Highlands University Concert Choir presents a Christmas Favorites concert Nov. 20 at 3 p.m. in the university’s historic Ilfeld Auditorium at 900 University Ave.
Some of the selections include traditional arrangements of Silver Bells, Sleigh Ride, Silent Night, and Oh Holy Night.
“Another highlight of this concert will be modern-day British composer Bob Chilcott’s contemporary arrangements of Christmas music incorporating jazz elements,” said Andre García-Nuthmann, director of Highlands’ choral and vocal program. “What’s unique about Chilcott’s eight choral pieces are that he takes a familiar Christmas carol – like Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming – and superimposes his own melody. The result is very fresh, clever and unexpected.”
García-Nuthmann, who will direct the Christmas Favorites concert, said it grew out of community requests for the Concert Choir to perform some beloved Christmas favorites, which it hadn’t done for a number of years.
“The concert will feature some of the most beautiful and inspiring Christmas music ever written,” García-Nuthmann said.
Linda King, concert pianist and music faculty member, is the accompanist. Michael Campbell is the guest percussionist.
Highlands University music senior Kevin Baca of Pecos, New Mexico, is the piano accompanist for Silent Night. He is one of King’s piano students and earned first place Nov. 12 in the highly competitive College Honors Auditions the New Mexico branch of the Music Teachers National Association sponsors.
“Kevin came to Highlands with no piano experience and has progressed in leaps and bounds on this instrument,” King said. “He has developed very strong piano techniques and is becoming an expressive and accomplished player. Kevin also plays guitar for the Highlands Jazz Ensemble and composes his own music. I’m very proud of him.”
Vocal soloists for the concert include soprano Jane Chavez, a Highlands University vocal performance junior, as well as community members Joe Cooney, a baritone, and Mary Petrak, a mezzo soprano.
The Highlands University Concert Choir is composed of Highlands University faculty, students, and staff, as well as community members.
“Our concert choir is a top notch group of excellent musicians,” García-Nuthmann said. “Franz Vote, the esteemed guest conductor for our Bach Fest 2014 and Mozart Fest 2016, said the choir is very impressive in its professionalism.”
Tickets for the Christmas Favorites concert are $5. The concert is free for students with valid IDs.