Nov 23rd, 2011 @ 3:33 pm | Author: Fine Arts Dept.
Valley City's annual Christmas at St. Catherine's concert will feature the musical skills and students of two VCSU music department alumni. The annual concert, to be held this year on Thursday, December 1 at 7:30 pm at St. Catherine's Church, highlights the Christmas season through the choral music of the vocal ensembles at Valley City State University. This year two VCSU alumni, Brad Lambrecht of Alexandria, MN and Casey Behm of Wyndmere, ND will join the program. Lambrecht is the orchestral director at Jefferson High School in Alexandria where he has helped develop the orchestral program community-wide. The Rainbow Strings ensemble, which Lambrecht conducts, will accompany VCSU's Concert Choir on Sancta Maria mater Dei by W.A. Mozart at the concert. Also accompanying the Mozart selection will be Casey Behm on organ. Behm is now the instructor of music at Wyndmere School District and was a piano major at VCSU. Behm's keyboard skills will be highlighted on another selection, Cantique de Jean Racine to be performed by the Concert Choir. In addition to these selections, the Concert Choir will perform three selections by regional composers: Stars I Shall Find on a moving poem by Sara Teasdale set by David Dickau, choral conductor and composer at Minnesota State University, Mankato; I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, by Minneapolis composer and publisher, J. David Moore; and O Little Town of Bethlehem by Minneapolis composer and choral director, Matthew Culloton.

The VCSU choral ensembles have made a point, over the last ten years, to give voice to choral literature composed by the current generation of American composers. This year's St. Catherine's concert will highlight those composers with ties to the upper mid-west. The VCSU Singers are slated to perform an intense setting of the text, O Magnum Mysterium by Twin-Cities composer Robert Sieving as well as a beautiful setting of the Sara Teasdale poem, The Stars Stand up in the Air by Eric William Barnum. Barnum began his instruction and career in music at Bemidji State University. The VCSU Valkyries, a select women's ensemble, will highlight two other selections by regional composers. Let Us Sing! a Christmas song composed by Linda Tutas-Haugen of the Twin-Cities area that will be accompanied by William Sieling of Alexandria, MN on viola and VCSU music education major, Katelin Wadeson on mallet percussion. Joshua Shank, who just moved to Texas from the Minneapolis area, is the composer of another selection to be performed by the Valkyries, Three Night Songs.The three poems of this set were written by Hilda Conkling at the age of six.

Christmas at St. Catherine's is directed by Dr. Leesa Levy and accompanied by Professor Jaime Namminga. The concert is free and open to the public. There will be a reception following the concert in the church basement for the members of the choirs, concert patrons, and the composers of the literature featured in the concert who are in attendance. A good-will offering will be accepted and applied to scholarship funds for students participating in the music ensembles at VCSU.