The Free Press, Mankato, MN


December 1, 2013

Christmas at Bethany: Annual holiday concerts a tradition dating back to WWII

Holiday concerts at college date back to WWII


Marzolf said organizing the concerts has always been the bailiwick of the Bethany choir director. So, many years ago he inherited the long-standing duty, which comes with an enormous amount of work. More than 100 students perform each year, and pieces have to be selected and practiced for months leading up to the performances.

Marzolf directs and chooses music for the Handbell Choir, Men's Choir and Concert Choir. Fredrickson directs and selects pieces for the Mary Martha Singers. And Music Professor Adrian Lo chooses the music to lead his String Band.

“We all kind of go our own way with our group,” Marzolf said. “And then at the very end of October, I put the program together based on them.”

Marzolf said the concerts never have themes or “catchphrases” from carols. Instead, it's a “Christmas buffet,” he said, with the Christmas story at the heart of the program. Bible readings sprinkled throughout the program reflect that.

Marzolf noted "Gloria in Excelsis Deo" as a challenging piece that will be a highlight of this year's program.

Lo said the String Band's main piece will be Mannheim Steamroller's “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”

As always, Fredrickson said her selections will be varied and from different eras. “I try to include something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” she said.

Two highlight pieces will include the carol "Now Sing We, Now Rejoice" and a new composition of the old text for "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night.”

“It's stunningly beautiful,” Fredrickson said.

If you go What Christmas at Bethany concerts When 4-6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, Dec. 4-8, in Trinity Chapel, Bethany Lutheran College Admission Tickets are free but reservations are encouraged by calling 345-7365.

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