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OCU Presents 33rd Christmas Vespers Dec. 9-10, performance added

Staff Report

More than 260 Oklahoma City University singers and orchestral musicians will celebrate “Songs of Comfort and Joy” at the 33rd annual Christmas Vespers Dec. 9-10 in the Bishop W. Angie Smith Chapel on the OCU campus.
“This program blends familiar carols for the audience with Scripture and poetry while presenting some of most powerful music written for the seasons of Advent and Christmas,” said Randi Von Ellefson, OCU’s director of choral activities.
“There are moments of grandeur and power as well as contemplative interludes of
sheer beauty and quiet.”

Tickets ($12) are available from or (405) 208-5227.
Following last year’s sold-out performances, OCU has scheduled an additional Vespers matinee. The three 2011 performances are 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, and 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. An instrumental prelude, spotlighting the OCU Symphony Orchestra, organ students and the Graduate Flute Quartet, begins 30 minutes before each performance.

Four OCU vocal ensembles will perform: the University Singers, Ad Astra Women’s Chorus, the University Men’s Chorus, and the Chamber Choir “The program is designed to inspire and comfort people during the Advent season and to allow a sense of wonder and joy to enter their lives,” said Judith Willoughby, associate director of choral activities and the Wanda L. Bass Choral Chair.

The concert will feature Melissa Plamann, university organist, as well as the OCU Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Benjamin Nilles.

“The orchestral prelude sets the mood for the event,” Nilles said. “The music is picturesque and evocative and establishes a tone of reverence and expectation.”

The orchestra will play the first movement of Ottorino Respighi’s “Church Windows” and selections of Edward Elgar.
The OCU Graduate Flute Quartet — Valerie Goforth, Laura Hanson, Grace Ho and Mallory Phillips – also will perform during the prelude. Pieces will include a selection from “The Nutcracker Suite” in addition to Christmas music from the Renaissance.

Dr. Lisa Wolfe, Dr. Sharon Betsworth and graduate student Andy Nelms, all from the Wimberly School of Religion, willserve as 2011 narrators.

For more information on upcoming events at the Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University, visit or

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