The Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Chorale and Madrigals will present their annual Christmas Concert on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, and this year, they will welcome some special guests - the Terre Haute Children's Choir.
The concert, which is free and open to the public, will feature several Christmas songs performed by the SMWC Chorale and Madrigals, including "Gloria Alleluia," "Not That Far From Bethlehem," "O Holy Night" and "Breath of Heaven." The Children's Choir will also perform a variety of Christmas songs, and they will join the Chorale and Madrigals for "Welcome One and Welcome All" and "Sleep in Heavenly Peace."
"The Chorale and Madrigals are very excited about singing with the children, and, in fact, the Chorale Board is preparing a surprise for them, which they will present at the concert," said Sue Pietrus, SP, director of the chorale and madrigals. "This should be a really beautiful concert."
But the choral music will not be the only form of artistic talent featured at the concert. The ensembles will be accompanied by piano, flutes, violin and trumpet, and there will be eight dancers, including two Sisters of Providence and six students. Carolyn Sur, campus minister at SMWC and a member of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, knows from experience that movement enhances the interpretation of sacred music. Sur herself has danced in multiple Advent and Lenten concerts, and she has choreographed much of the liturgical dance for her congregation.
"As a theologian, I challenge the Catechist's answer to 'What is prayer?' Prayer is not only 'the lifting of the mind and the heart to God,' it is lifting up the entire person," Sur said. "Sometimes (prayer) is blood, sweat and tears on a mission trip in Louisiana or in Mexico. Sometimes it is a dance in a sacred space."
Another special aspect of this year's Christmas Concert is that it is actually part of a year-long celebration marking 100th anniversary of Church of the Immaculate Conception. The cornerstone of the Church of the Immaculate Conception was laid in 1886 and the rest of the church was completed as funds became available. Some of the noteworthy features of the church are white Carrara marble, handmade stained-glasswindows, the Stations of the Cross plaques that were installed in 1891, deep red Numidian marble from Africa, marble from the Greek island of Skyros, marble from the state of Georgia in the United States, and a Casavant organ and the interim shrine for Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, foundress of the Sisters of Providence and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.
The year-long celebration marking the 100th anniversary of Church of the Immaculate Conception will continue into 2008. Events planned during the celebration include a SMWC performance of The Quilters and a quilt display, Feb. 22-24; SMWC Chorale and Madrigals Spring Concert, April 20; on-campus art exhibits April 20-May 18; Family Day and choral performances by area choirs, June 22; and Closing Eucharistic Liturgy, Oct. 19.
The Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Christmas Concert, featuring the SMWC Chorale and Madrigals, Terre Haute Children's Choir, and special guests, will take place on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. The concert is free and open to the public, and, following the concert, the Sisters of Providence will host a special reception in the Providence dining room for all in attendance. For more information, contact Sue Pietrus, SP, at 812-535-5237 or firstname.lastname@example.org.