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OCU Presents 40th Annual Christmas Vespers

Vespers concert promo photo

More than 250 instrumentalists and choral singers will join forces Dec. 7 and 8 for Oklahoma City University's Christmas Vespers at First Presbyterian Church, 1001 NW 25th St. The celebratory concerts feature organ, orchestra, Scripture readings, poetry, congregational singings of favorite carols and a candlelit finale.

“This is a chance for audiences to experience the power of majestic music from the Christian tradition, combined with an atmosphere of worship and reverence in the beautiful setting of First Presbyterian Church,” said Randi Von Ellefson, director of choral activities. “This year will blend the traditional and the new with a theme of the symbolic rose, referencing both Mary and Jesus.”

Concert highlights include arrangements of familiar carols for the choirs, orchestra, and organ music featuring selections from “The Many Moods of Christmas” by Robert Shaw and Richard Rodney Bennett.

Christmas Vespers will be presented in an evening version at 8 p.m. Dec. 7, and a 4 p.m. Dec. 8 matinee, both beneath the glow of the renowned stained glass windows of First Presbyterian Church. Both concerts will conclude with “Night of Silence,” the traditional candlelight recessional inspired by “Silent Night.”

Tickets ($15, open seating) are available online at okcu.edu/ticketsor by calling 405-208-5227.

Performers will include university organist Melissa Plamann and the OCU Vespers Orchestra, under the direction of Jeffrey Grogan. Lawton-born bass Bill Weger, who returned to Oklahoma after a three-decade career as an opera singer in Germany, will narrate the 40th annual event. The four choirs are under the direction of Ellefson and Tony Gonzalez.

A musical prelude will be held 30 minutes before each concert, featuring student organists and the OCU Flute Choir, under the direction of Parthena Owens.