Holiday Concert Brings Community Together

Organist David Rothe and conductor Brian Wells examine
a musical score in front of the Centennial Pipe
Organ, the first pipe organ built on site since the
Middle Ages. (photo BA)
'Tis the season for harmony, the coming together of family, friends, and community. Faculty, students, and community members from teens to elders will do just that next weekend in Harlen Adams Theatre as the University Chorus, conducted by Brian Wells and accompanied by David Rothe on the Centennial Pipe Organ, presents the Holiday Concert.

The first pipe organ built on site since the Middle Ages, the Centennial Pipe Organ reflects the cooperative work of individuals, the City of Chico, lumber companies, and local and student labor. Many people consider the resulting world class baroque organ to be "the best example in the United States of this style of building" according to Rothe.

During the construction of the organ, Rothe learned that the City of Chico had stored wood from the recently fallen historical Hooker Oak, but had no plans for its use. The city donated enough wood to the project to create the bench and the pedal board. A local craftsperson created and donated the walnut music stand, and the University Farm donated the shin bones of cows for the keyboard. Tin and lead were melted down and fashioned into the organ's 2,200 pipes in the Department of Art's sculpture lab. Local lumber companies donated the wood for the interior and exterior of the organ.

This year's Holiday Concert features two twentieth-century choral works, holiday favorite sing-alongs, and the organ. The choral works were written within one year of each other—Francis Poulenc's Gloria in France and Daniel Pinkham's Christmas Contata in America. Wells thinks of musical programs as pieces that "talk to each other." These two pieces talk to each other in their similarity of influences on the composers, their musical languages and some of their texts. Each piece is enriched by the other when performed together.

Wells noted, "Musical organizations can provide centers for the community to come together." Join the community on December 12 at 7:30 p.m., or December 13 at 2 p.m. in Harlen Adams Theatre. Advance tickets are $12 general, $10 seniors, students, children, $2 more at the door. They are available at the University Box Office, Diamond W Western Wear, Terrace Pharmacy, Java Joe, Chico Mall Information Booth, Art Etc., Creative Apple, House of Color. BA

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