Las Vegas, N.M. – The Highlands University Department of Music presents two concerts in December featuring original music and the Christmas classic, Navidad Nuestra.

The Original Music Concert is Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. in the Student Union Building Ballroom, 800 National Ave.

The Madrigal Choir performs Navidad Nuestra, a folk music rendition of the Nativity scene by Argentine composer Ariel Ramírez along with other selections Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. The concert is in Ilfeld Auditorium, 900 University Ave.

Tickets for each concert is $5. Highlands University students and other students with valid IDs are free.

Highlands University music professor Edward Harrington directs the Original Music Concert.

“Three of the graduating seniors in music will be showcased in the original music concert including Elijah Thomas, Sebastian Jaramillo, and Daniel Sam,” Harrington said. “Elijah produces a range of styles from hard rock to alternative to bluegrass. Sebastian creates modern popular music that requires a great deal of production skill. Daniel produces hard rock music for his family band.”

Harrington said the music seniors created a sizable collection of works that demonstrate their knowledge and skills as songwriters, arrangers, producers, and musicians.

Other music students featured include Donaciano Vigil, Cassidy Kear, Reyes Montoya, Christopher Barela, Daniel Sharp, Alfredo Mondragon, and Nita Lujan.

“Donaciano has a strong background in hip-hop and uses a drum pad to compose his cutting-edge material. Cassidy sings soulful gospel vocals in popular styles. Christopher and Daniel Sharp write and produce rock/alternative tracks. Alfredo’s tracks are the heaviest of heavy metal, while Nita prefers bluesy and funky grooves that support her flawless gospel vocals,” Harrington said.

Highlands freshmen contributing to the original music program include Brandon Gourd-Gallegos, Derek Washington, Naeem Johnson, Diego Medina, Marlon Malave, Walter Lipnosky, and Jacobo Rael.

“In addition to performing, music majors will will set up and mix the sound for the concert. After their freshman year, music technology students have 24/7 access to the production facilities at Highlands including industry-standard audio recording hardware and software,” Harrington said.

Andre García-Nuthmann, director of the Highlands choral and vocal program, will conduct the Madrigal Choir. Linda King, concert pianist and music faculty member, is the accompanist.

Guest artists for the Madrigal Choir include Highlands music graduate Daniel Torres on guitar, Harrington on bass, and Michael Campbell on percussion.

Navidad Nuestra – Our Christmas Eve – is written in the classical musical style of four-part harmony and also incorporates folk and melodic rhythmic styles,” García-Nuthmann said. “It’s very beautiful, awe-inspiring and energetic music. Navidad Nuestra has become a Christmas standard in Las Vegas and the audience always loves it.”

The Madrigal Choir will perform Navidad Nuestra in Spanish. The first selection is “La Anunciación,” with vocal soloists Christopher Barela, a Highlands music major and tenor, and Joe Cooney, on bass from the community.

Next is the Navidad Nuestra piece “La Peregrinacion.” “El Nacieminot” follows, with the vocal soloists Elena Chavez, a Highlands music major and soprano, and John Loehr, a tenor from the community.

Vocal soloists for “Los Pastores” include Barela and Cooney.

The final two pieces for Navidad Nuestra include “Los Reyes Magos” and “La Huda.”

“The music student solo vocalists Elena and Christopher have lovely, lyrical voices. They are both very dedicated to developing their talent. The community soloists Joe and John are accomplished singers who are loyal, longtime and hardworking choir members,” García-Nuthmann said.

The Madrigal Choir will also perform British composer Bob Chilcott’s Nidaros Jazz Mass.

“Chilcott has a wonderful harmonic language that is modern as well as accessible to audiences. Nidaros Jazz Mass incorporates the five parts of the Latin mass,” García-Nuthmann said.

Rounding out the Madrigal Choir selections are Northern Lights by Ola Gjeilo, Lux Aurumque by Eric Whitacre, and Jingle Bells by Gordon Lanford.