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November  05, 2008

Augustana College hosts Celebration of Christmas

Augustana College will display the talent of musicians and vocalists in the music department during a month-long series, a Celebration of Christmas. The newly expanded series from November 21 to December 18 builds on the annual performance of Handel's Messiah

The public concerts will offer a variety of events encompassing opera, traditional Christmas music, brass, string ensembles and chorale. "I think we have something that will appeal to many different tastes," says Dr. Jon Hurty, music department co-chair. "We decided it was important to let people know about all the activities in the department during the Christmas season."

The Christmas celebration also provides Augustana music students an opportunity to contribute their talent as an outreach to the music community of the Quad Cities and surrounding areas. Melissa Flowers, a senior communication studies and English major, says she will not stop sharing her love for music with others beyond graduation. "I think that singing Christmas songs is always something I will do, whether it's with a community group or a choir. Music is very important to me, and what better way to use my voice but to celebrate and share that gift with the community."

Hurty says the community outreach is an important teaching tool. "Augustana has a very strong music program. As the department has developed through the years, an outlet was needed for students to perform, and this has been the impetus for the development of our Christmas concerts."

The foundation of the celebration, Messiah, has a history at the college dating back to 1879. Augustana theology professor Olof Olsson, who would later serve as the college’s third president, attended a performance of Messiah in London. Inspired by George Frederic Handel’s masterwork, Olsson established the Handel Oratorio Society upon his return to Rock Island. The Society's first performance, a production of Messiah, was held April 12, 1881, at the First Congregational Church of Moline. In 1916, the Society began presenting Messiah each December, making it the oldest Christmas performance tradition in our region.

Celebration of Christmas Schedule for 2008

Opera at Augustana

Amahl and the Night Visitors; Gian Carlo Menotti

The Wise Women; Conrad Susa

Friday, November 21 at 7 p.m.

Saturday, November 22 at 7 p.m.

Sunday, November 23 at 7 p.m.

Location: Wallenberg Hall (3520 7th Avenue)

Tickets: $10, $8

Dr. John Pfautz, director

Christmas at Augustana

Friday, December 5 at 8 p.m.

Location: Centennial Hall (3703 7th Avenue)

Tickets: $16,$8

Featuring the Augustana Symphony Orchestra, Augustana Brass Ensemble, Augustana Choir, Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble, Collegiate Chorale and Augustana Women's Ensemble

Presenting a new Christmas tradition at Augustana College- join us as we celebrate the season with Hymns, Carols and songs of Christmas. This festive concert will feature choirs, brass, orchestra and organ.

Handel Oratorio Society

Messiah; George Frederic Handel

Saturday, December 13 at 8 p.m.

Sunday, December 14 at 2 p.m.

Location: Centennial Hall (3703 7th Avenue)

Tickets: $16,$8

Handel Oratorio Society and Symphony Orchestra

Jon Hurty, conductor

A venerable tradition at Augustana College continues with the 128th anniversary season of the Handel Oratorio Society. Professional soloists and the 225-voice Oratorio Society join in performance of this great masterwork.


Michelle Areyzaga, soprano

Stacy Eckert, mezzo-soprano

Brad Diamond, tenor

Phillip Kraus, baritone

Crèche exhibit

An exhibit of more than 100 crèche provided by local congregations will be displayed.

Saturday, December 13; Noon - 8 p.m.

Sunday, December 14; 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Location: Black Box Theatre, Bergendoff Hall of Fine Arts (3701 7th Avenue)

Free and open to the public

Lessons and Carols

Thursday, December 18 at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Location: Ascension Chapel (820 38th Street)

Augustana Chamber Singers

Free and open to the public

A beautiful, spiritual and contemplative presentation with lessons and carols of the season. The Augustana Chamber Singers and Office of Campus Ministries present the story of Christ's birth in readings and song.

For a complete listing of music events at Augustana College during the holiday season and throughout the year, please visit us at

Sam Schlouch
Senior Communication Director
(309) 794-7833