The Catholic University of America and the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music will celebrate the annual Christmas Concert for Charity on Friday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Great Upper Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Admission is free though a freewill offering will be taken; early seating is recommended.
Sponsored jointly by the University and the Basilica, the first portion of the concert features the Choir of the Basilica, conducted by Peter Latona, director of music; performing in the second half are The Catholic University of America Chamber Choir, University Singers, University Chorus, and the CUA Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leo Nestor, Justine Bayard Ward Professor and director of the Institute of Sacred Music.
As in the past 12 years, the concert will feature the premiere of a new work by a CUA student or faculty member. This year features the premiere of “Lux refulget,” by Joseph Santo, assistant dean of academics and graduate studies.
Other works will include Gibbons’ “This Is The Record of John” with tenor Alexander Wolniak; Martin Dalby’s “Mater salutaris;” Colin Mawby’s “Ave verum corpus;” David Willcocks’ setting of “Masters in This Hall;” Leo Nestor’s “Sing Lullaby” with Rick Christman, clinical assistant professor, tenor; Praetorius’ “Psallite Unigenito” in a setting by Helmut Kickton; Randall Thompson’s “The Carol of the Rose” from The Place of the Blest; and Joseph Eybler’s “Reges Tharsis et insulae.”
During the concert, the audience will be invited to join the chorus, orchestra, and the great organs of the Basilica in singing the traditional carols “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” The concert concludes with “Hallelujah” from Handel’s “Messiah” in Mozart’s orchestration.
Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Frontline Faith Project to assist with the distribution of MP3 players — which are preloaded with seven hours of spiritual content — to Catholic and Protestant men and women of the Armed Forces.
The Archdiocese for the Military Services ministers to military personnel and families, patients in Veterans Administration hospitals, and federal employees serving outside the country. The Archdiocese receives no funding from the U.S. government.
“I thought that by designating the Archdiocese for the Military Services and Frontline Faith as the beneficiary of this year’s charity, we would all have the opportunity to support the ministry of the chaplains as well as contribute to the spiritual welfare of our men and women in the armed services,” said Monsignor Walter Rossi, rector of the Basilica.
The concert will air on EWTN on Sunday, Dec. 23, at 4 p.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 25, at 11 p.m.; and Monday, Dec. 31, at 11 p.m., Eastern time.