Holiday choral concert features classic carols, piano duet, spirituals, mock Bach

GREEN BAY – The UW-Green Bay Chorale and Concert Choir will perform in concert at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8, in the Cofrin Family Hall at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts, located on the campus at 2420 Nicolet Drive.

Under the direction of Music Profs. Randall Meder and Sarah Meredith Livingston, student choral groups will offer a program heavy with Christmas carols both classical and modern from the European and American traditions, including African-American spirituals, capped by a fun take on traditional holiday songs by parody composer PDQ Bach. Also enlivening the evening will be a musical interlude from Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” as performed by the professional piano duo of Michael Rector and Sylvia Hong.

The concert begins with the 44-voice Concert Choir under the direction of Meredith Livingston and accompanied by pianist Mary Slavek. Their program opens with “Joy in the Morning” by 20th century composer Natalie Sleeth, followed by the selection “Happy We” from the early 18th century opera Acis and Galatea by George Frederick Handel. Folk carols and spirituals follow, with the women of the choir performing “I Wonder as I Wander,” an Appalachian-inspired song by John Jacob Niles, the men performing the spiritual “Mary had a Baby,” and the full choir singing “Go Tell it on the Mountain.”  A selection of international carols then begins with the 14th century work ‘In dulci jubilo,” followed by German, French and English carols with “O Tannenbaum,” “Il est ne” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” Closing the first half of the concert will be a performance of the Franz Gruber work “Silent Night,” accompanied by an interpretive dance by UW-Green Bay student Vanessa Jordan, as choreographed by Denise Carlson-Gardener of the Theatre and Dance faculty.

Following intermission, Rector and Hong — the husband-and-wife, two-piano duo — will play three selections from The Nutcracker:  the “March,” “Russian Dance” and “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.” The couple has received top prize in the Ellis Duo Piano Competition and performed extensively in both the U.S. and abroad. Hong is artist-in-residence at Belhaven (Miss.) University; Rector is an assistant professor of music at UW-Green Bay.

Closing the concert will be the 37 members of the select UW-Green Bay Chorale under the direction of Meder.  They will take the stage with the 16th century sacred work “O Quam Gloriosum,” by Tomas Luis de Victoria, the 19th century composition “There Shall a Star Come Out of Jaco,” by Felix Mendelssohn, and the 20th century pieces “A Spotless Rose” by Herbert Howells, and “Hodie Christus Natus Est,” by Francis Poulenc. The Chorale will conclude with “From Beneath the Storm, Father, Bring Me Home,” by Nicholas Schommer, and a trio of carol parodies by satirist P.D.Q. Bach including “Throw the Yule Log On, Uncle John,” “O Little Town of Hackensack” and “Good King Kong Looked Out.”

Tickets for the Chorale & Concert Choir are $10 for adult and $5 for students and seniors. Call (920) 465-2400 or visit UW-Green Bay is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Music. For more information, visit


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