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64th annual Christmas Festival marks 21st year for Conductor Michael Bray


64th annual Christmas Festival marks 21st year for Conductor Michael Bray

GREENVILLE, Pa.—The Thiel College Department of Performing Arts will present its 64th annual Christmas Festival, “Go Tell it on the Mountain,” at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4 in the William A. Passavant Memorial Center.

Professor of Music Michael R. Bray, D.M.A., will conduct performances by the Thiel Choir, the Thiel College Chamber Singers and the Thiel College Handbell Ringers. Now in his 21st year, Bray joined Thiel College in 1996 as the Director of Choral Activities and became the fifth conductor in the history of the choir. His classroom responsibilities include private instruction in voice, world music, music history and conducting.

The Christmas Festival will feature performances by the Thiel College Wind Ensemble—conducted by Director of Bands and Instructor of Music/Performing Arts and Department Chair Andrew Erb—and an organ prelude by Adjunct Professor of Music Kathryn A. Gray. Those in attendance will hear renditions of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” “What Sweeter Music,” “Videntes Stellam,” “See Amid the Winter’s Snow” and “All That Hath Life and Breath Praise Ye the Lord,” among others.

“Each Christmas Festival is the result of hours of rehearsal and set preparation in the Passavant Center,” Bray said. “Faculty and community members who have attended the festival for many years consider it to be the beginning of their Christmas season and celebration. My fondest memories of 21 Christmas festivals are the nights students and I have spent decorating in Passavant, in hopes that Christmas might be just a little brighter and more joyous for those who attend.”

The festival is free and open to the public. A special offering will be held at the event to support the Thiel Choir’s nine-day, seven-concert tour to Maryland, North and South Carolina, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The tour departs March 3, 2017 and is part of Thiel’s 150th-anniversary celebration.

Since its founding in 1953 by Dr. Marlowe W. Johnson, the Thiel Choir has continued to train women and men in the Lutheran choral tradition. The choir is composed of approximately 40 students from all academic fields. Through the years the Thiel Choir has presented concerts in the midwestern, eastern and southern regions of the United States and Canada and has performed on nine European tours most recently to Sweden, Estonia, Russia and Finland in 2004 and to Austria and northern Italy in 2008. The choir recently completed a tour to Ireland May 9-21, 2016.

For more information, contact Bray at 724-589-2149.

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About Thiel College

Thiel College is an independent college founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 24 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. The College is also home to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program and graduate programs in, Business Administration, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Communication and Leadership, Physician Assistant and Speech-Language Pathology. All of Thiel College’s master’s degree programs offer innovative and accelerated five-year paths which allow students to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce outstanding graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College remains committed to diversity and inclusion. The College combines tradition with innovation as it honors its past and celebrates its future.

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