'Amahl' from DM, Morehouse/Spelman, & More

Dec 24, 2014

After wcfso's Messiah and the live Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, IPR Classical's Christmas Eve programming continues all day and evening with everything from Brubeck to Whitacre - including some outstanding Iowa events!


Eric Whitacre
Credit Christoph Müller-Girod / Chor.com via Flickr

11 am -12 noon: Light and Gold: The Music of Eric Whitacre  - He's America's most popular composer today, and his music is beloved by choirs and audiences throughout the world. During this program, he introduces the music with co-host Brian Newhouse and describes the often colorful backstory of how each piece came to be.


12 noon - 1 pm: Christmas at Luther: From Decorah, Christmas at Luther, now in its 33rd year, features performances by six choirs under  the direction of Allen Hightower, Andrew Last, Linda Martin, and Jennaya Robison; Luther Ringers, led by college organist Gregory Peterson; and the Luther Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Baldwin.

1 - 2 pm : Christmas with Morehouse and Spelman Glee Clubs -  

The Spelman and Morehouse College Glee Clubs at their annual Christmas concert

  One of America's great holiday traditions, the choirs of Morehouse and Spelman Colleges -- two of the most prestigious historically black institutions in the nation -- get together annually to present a spine-tingling concert. This encore presentation features the best works of the last several years. It's a joyous celebration of the schools' tradition of singing excellence, with their trademark mixture of  spirituals and carols. Korva Coleman hosts.

2 - 3 pm: Welcome Christmas! - A perennial favorite featuring the Minneapolis-based ensemble, VocalEssence. Recognized internationally as one of America's premier choral arts organizations, VocalEssence is led by the visionary Philip Brunelle. This year's show includes a tribute to the late Dave Brubeck with his classical Christmas cantata "La Fiesta de  la Posada." Plus, this year's winners of the annual carol contest with the American Composers Forum. John Birge hosts.

3 - 4 pm  : Des Moines Metro Opera Presents Amahl and the Night Visitors -  While giving shelter to the three Wise Men on their journey to find the Child, a poor mother and her son, Amahl, discover the healing power of love. American composer Gian Carlo Menotti’s opera has become a holiday classic for the whole family. Hoyt Sherman Place Theatre provided the historic backdrop for this beautiful Des Moines Metro Opera production. Originally composed for television in 1951, Amahl is a wonderful holiday tale and tradition not to be missed. This broadcast was recorded on December 6-7, 2013, with Pierce Mansfield as Amahl, Julie Makerov as Amahl’s mother, and Todd Thomas as King Melchior.

4 - 6 pm: Orchestra Iowa Holiday Spectacular:  Orchestra Iowa performs holiday favorites including Carol of the Bells, Leroy Anderson’s A Christmas Festival and Sleigh Ride, and carols like The First Noel, Angels We Have Heard on High, and Deck the Halls.  The program also showcases classical favorites like Massenet’s Médiation from Thaïs and Bach’s Violin Concerto in a minor, BWV 1041. Conducted by music director Tim Hankewich and featuring sing-alongs, narrations and choral accompaniment, this fun and festive concert will put you in just the right mood for the holiday season.

6 - 7 pm: A Chanticleer ChristmasA celebration of the season as told through the glorious voices of Chanticleer, the  12-voice San Francisco-based men's choir. The program spans the globe and the centuries - from England in the 1300s to new arrangements of classic and contemporary carols to Chanticleer's popular Gospel medley of Christmas tunes.

7-10 pm: IPR Presents Doug Brown's Reading of A Christmas Carol - Doug Brown, Iowa Public Radio’s beloved voice for 37 years, recorded a rendition of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. This classic holiday tale tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge and his journey through Christmas past, present, and future as he rediscovers the Christmas spirit in time to share it with family and friends.