Alcorn to perform annual concert Sunday at St. Mary

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 4, 2009

NATCHEZ — Every corner of St. Mary Basilica will be filled with joyful noises come Sunday night.

Three choirs from Alcorn State University will perform their annual Christmas concert at 7 p.m. Sunday at St. Mary Basilica in Natchez.

The musical extravaganza has become a Christmas tradition for many who attend, said Donna Schaffer, director of choral activities at Alcorn State University.

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“This event is a combination of the community coming together and the sounds of Christmas,” Schaffer said. “It’s an inspiring event that is sure to stir up many great Christmas memories.”

Three different choirs — the Men’s Chorale, the Women’s Choir and the Concert Choir — will perform. Schaffer directs the Women’s Choir and the Concert Choir while the Men’s Chorale is under the direction of Charles Wesley.

The groups will be accompanied by a piano, organ and a full orchestra under the direction of Natchezian Louis DeVries.

Admission is free though a good will offering will be received.

The groups began working on music for the performance in September, but Schaffer said the excitement about the Christmas program was evident in the very first rehearsal.

“We meet every day and have been working for months on this particular concert,” Schaffer said. “We were all looking forward to it right from the beginning.”

The audience is in for a special treat as the choir will do the world premier performance of a song named “Joy”

“I have been involved in a world premier as a soloist, but never as a group,” Schaffer said. “It is something we are all excited about. It is awesome to perform music that people have never performed. It is making history.”

In addition to “Joy” the choruses will perform “traditional carols with interesting arrangements” including a rendition of “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

Schaffer joined the ASU choral department in January and is looking forward to her first Christmas concert. She said there is a little nervousness but mostly she’s just anxious to get the show started.

“We are really prepared so I think that takes away some of the anxiety and nervousness,” Schaffer said.

And if the performance is anything like the rehearsals have been, Schaffer said the Sunday night concert is one everyone should attend.

“You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket,” Schaffer said. “And after you leave, you will feel like you won the lottery.”