CLU’s annual Christmas concerts usher in the season

Preparing to spread some Christmas joy: The CLU choir, conducted by Wyant Morton, sing during a rehearsal for the upcoming Christmas Festival Concerts.
Photo by Alli Westerhoff – Staff Photographer

The CLU Christmas Festival Concerts are a long-standing tradition that never goes unnoticed by the Thousand Oaks community.

The California Lutheran University Choir Ensembles, in partnership with the University Symphony, will bring the Christmas spirit to life once again during their annual Christmas Festival Concerts, starting on Nov. 30 in Samuelson Chapel.

The Christmas concerts, created by founder of the CLU music department, C. Robert Zimmerman, in the early 1960’s, is an annual event that has run every year since the beginning of the institution. The festival is one of the oldest musical Christmas celebrations in the Conejo Valley.

“The Christmas concerts are a gift to the Thousand Oaks community from CLU. Many consider these concerts, performed on the first weekend in December, as the semi-official beginning of the Christmas season,” said professor Daniel Geeting, who will conduct the University Symphony during the concerts.

The concert features more than 100 students who are a part of the CLU Choir and CLU Women’s Chorale as well as the University Symphony.

Music department chair, Wyant Morton, will conduct both choral ensembles.

“The Christmas concerts entail a lot of hard work on the part of CLU students, faculty and staff.  It is a true campus-wide, artistic collaboration,” said Morton.
Senior Megan Everett is a member of the CLU Choir and Women’s Quartet.

“This is the only concert series where these three groups are combined, so it’s a really unique experience for both the students and the community. We get quite the turnout every year, and we turn away hundreds in the process, so it’s quite a big deal,” said Everett.

The concerts will feature a variety of traditional Christmas carols, as well as a few modern pieces and compositions by Ralph Vaughan Williams and J.S. Bach.

“This year’s repertoire is very unique and interesting and definitely unlike any of the CLU Christmas concerts in the past few years,” said Everett. “Each of the pieces are a very different color from one another, so I’m guessing that the audience will not be expecting this kind of variety of styles. Nonetheless, I really believe that we’ll receive a positive reaction from them, as we do every year.”

Senior Susie Ruth, president of the CLU Choir, will play a major role in this year’s Christmas Festival Concerts.

Ruth will have a solo role in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Magnificat” piece as she sings the part of Mary, while the rest of the women in choir will accompany as the Angels.
“This concert brings a new Christmas sound to people,” said Ruth. “I hope people will keep an open mind to the different types of music.”

As some of the students are seniors, they are preparing for their last weekend of Christmas concerts and strive to make them memorable.

“I know a bunch of us seniors want to go out with a bang, so we’ll definitely be giving these performances our all,” said Everett.

The Christmas concerts will be held on three separate days and are free of charge.

The concerts will take place on Friday, Nov. 30, at 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 1, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2, at 4 p.m.

They are one of the most popular events on campus, so seating and parking are limited.

It is advised to come early to reserve seats.

 

Kristin Cameron
Staff Writer
Published Nov. 28, 2012