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Vespers brings joyous celebration to community

Christmas Vespers, Lehigh University Choral Arts’ annual holiday gift to the community, will be held on Sunday, Dec. 11, in Packer Memorial Church.

There will be two performances, at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. The performances are free, and no tickets are required. Seating fills quickly for this seasonal treat, so early arrival is recommended.

Each year, Vespers brings in the holiday season with Christmas carols and readings.  It is a celebration for the whole family filled with tradition, candlelight, and joy.

Steven P. Sametz, the Ronald J. Ulrich Professor of Music and director of Lehigh University Choral Arts, will be conducting the group of more than 200 singers, along with associate director and professor of practice in music Debra Field.

Comprised of the Lehigh University Choir and the Lehigh University Choral Union, the vocalists fill Packer Memorial Church with dulcet melodies and an outstanding repertoire of holiday classics, rearrangements of old favorites, and songs new to many listeners.

The Choir blends 60 students of various majors and vocal backgrounds who must audition in the fall for a spot in the group. They have toured many countries over the years, including China, the Czech Republic, Moscow, and East Asia.

Founded by Sametz, the Choral Union consists of community members from the Lehigh Valley alongside Lehigh faculty, staff, and students. A community outreach program with no audition required, they have toured in China and Portugal with Choral Arts and have performed such pieces as Verdi Requiem, Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem, and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.

Also performing will be Lehigh’s Glee Club and Dolce. The all-men Glee Club was re-formed in 2005 after it had been dissolved due to the introduction of females to Lehigh in 1971. Dolce is a choral group of female singers directed by Field that was founded in 2007.

 “As part of our traditional holiday present to the Lehigh Valley community, each year for many years, Choral Arts have premiered a new arrangement of Praetorius’ Christmas carol, Lo How A Rose E’er Blooming,” says Sametz.  “This year’s arrangement incorporates themes of Honegger’s Le mort David and is by Casey Rule, ’11. There’s something for everyone to celebrate.”

For more information, contact the Lehigh University Music Department at (610) 758-3835 or visit

Caitlin Prozonic ‘11
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