Celebrate a Feast of Carols Sunday Afternoon

Students and faculty from the Arkansas Tech University choral program will perform the 14th annual Feast of Carols concert on Sunday, Dec. 6, at First United Methodist Church of Russellville.

The concert will begin at 2:30 p.m. Admission is free, but those attending are asked to bring canned goods and other non-perishable food items for distribution to those in need.

Performance groups will include the Concert Chorale and Chamber Choir from Arkansas Tech, both of which are directed by Gary Morris. Brian Conatser will provide accompaniment on piano, while Mary Lou Douglas will accompany on organ.

Included in the program will be the premiere of a piece written by Arkansas Tech alumnus and Russellville native Kane Bradley. It is entitled “The First Nowell.”

“Kane took the familiar carol, ‘The First Noel,’ and used that material as well as material from a famous band piece named ‘Chaconne,’ and he molded it all together with brass, organ and choir,” said Morris. “It’s turned out to be a fine composition, and I think you’ll hear good things from him in the future.”

Morris said he is also excited about a performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Magnificat,” which will feature soloists Dr. Jon F. Clements, associate professor of music at Arkansas Tech; Holly Ruth Gale, associate professor of music at Arkansas Tech; Dr. Barbara Clements, assistant professor of music at Arkansas Tech; Emily Guadagnini, Arkansas Tech alumna and choir teacher at Chaffin Junior High School in Fort Smith; and Matthew Newman, guest soloist.

“I was visiting with a colleague in another town, and he told me they were doing the Bach ‘Magnificat’ in concert,” said Morris. “It hit me that our group could do that. It is a monumental work and a choral classic to be sure. I knew it would be very challenging for the singers…probably one of the most challenging things we’ve ever done. It’s a very enjoyable work that will be in the middle of the Feast of Carols and surrounded by more familiar carols that people will know. We’ll also have our traditional works and audience participation on several pieces.”

For a third consecutive year, the Arkansas Tech choral program will honor an individual of significance to the university as part of the Feast of Carols concert. The individual selected for recognition this year is Dr. Gary Barrow, professor of music at Arkansas Tech.

Barrow recently announced that he will retire from the Tech faculty at the end of the 2015-16 academic year. He has taught at Arkansas Tech since 1981.

For more information about public performances hosted by the Arkansas Tech Department of Music, call (479) 968-0368 or visit www.atu.edu/music.