Fairfield University Glee Club to present its Christmas concert at the Quick Center


The Fairfield University Glee Club will present its annual Christmas concert, "Wondrous Love," on Friday, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The concert will be a mix of early works and holiday favorites, including a performance of "Wondrous Love" by Connecticut composer Paul Halley.

Fairfield University Director of Choral and Liturgical Music Carol Ann Maxwell will direct the acclaimed Glee Club. Galen Tate, organist and director of music at St. Thomas More Church in Darien, and the Festival Brass Orchestra will accompany.

The Glee Club will celebrate the season by combining pure voices with the majesty of a brass choir and emphasizing composing styles of the 16th and 17th centuries, when works for double chorus were numerous.

The evening begins with Jacobus Gallus Handl's "Haec est Dies" sung in Latin. The works of Handl and Johann Pachelbel, which will be featured later in the concert, offer massive chordal harmonies inspired by the early Venetian composers. These choruses were often intermingled with instruments, particularly brass, and the music utilizes "cori spezzati," or divided choirs, which will be incorporated into this performance.

Another piece, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck's "Venite, Exultemus Domino," is one of 37 compositions from sacred text from this composer's 1619 "Cantiones Sacrae." Sweelinck is the last and most significant composer of the Netherlands school.

Pachelbel, though German, was a master of the styles and devices of the Venetian school of composition. His "Jauchtzet dem Herrn" will be sung in the original German. Rounding out the concert will be works by John Tavener, Bill Cutler, Richard Dirksen, Moses Hogan and others.

Amid a selection of carols and Christmas songs, the centerpiece of the concert will be an intriguing arrangement of Connecticut composer Paul Halley's "Wondrous Love."

The performance will also feature the Glee Club's four smaller choral ensembles: The Chamber Singers, Sweet Harmony, the Sine Nomine Singers and The Men's Ensemble. Sweet Harmony is directed by Melissa Heinhold and Erin Curtin with accompaniment by John Gallagher. Michael Ciavaglia and Michael Rubin direct the Men's Ensemble, which will be accompanied by John Primavera.

Now celebrating its 55th year, the Fairfield University Glee Club is a mixed chorus of more than 130 undergraduate and graduate singers. Under Ms. Maxwell's direction, the Glee Club has presented concerts in churches, schools and recital and concert halls throughout Europe. They have performed at a wide range of venues, including New York's Carnegie Hall, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., the Vatican, London's Westminster Cathedral and Disneyworld.

Ms. Maxwell has served as Director of Choral and Liturgical Music at Fairfield University since 1980. She is also artistic director and conductor of the Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut and is chorus master of the Yale Opera. Ms. Maxwell, who is completing her doctorate in Sacred Music at the Graduate Theological Foundation, has prepared and conducted choruses for the Prague Radio Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Connecticut Grand Opera, the Forth Worth Symphony and many others.

Ms. Maxwell has shared the concert stage with a stellar group of musicians and composers, including Dave Brubeck, Marilyn Horne, Tony Roberts, Stephen Sondheim, Sherrill Milnes and Renee Fleming. In 1992, Immaculata College presented her with its prestigious "Distinguished Music Alumna" award and the national honor society Phi Kappa Lambda honored her with membership, citing her outstanding contributions in the field of choral music.

Tickets for the glee club concert are $8, $6 for students and seniors. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit the website www.quickcenter.com. Media inquiries should be made to Dana Ambrosini, Fairfield University's assistant director of media relations, at (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on October 24, 2002

Vol. 35, No. 99