WHEN STARS SHONE DOWN: Vicksburg Chamber Choir presents Christmas concert

Published 4:00 am Sunday, November 20, 2022

Traditional and contemporary Christmas carols will fill the Church of the Holy Trinity when the Vicksburg Chamber Choir, under the direction of Christie Beasley, presents its annual holiday concert on Dec. 6 at 7 p.m.

The church is located at 900 South St. The program is free but donations are encouraged.

The concert’s title is “When Stars Shone Down,” based on a contemporary composition of the same name by Steven Aldredge. The piece, which was published in 2020, is a contemporary lullaby for baby Jesus from the perspective of the Heavenly Host.

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“We’re doing 10 or 12 songs; some of them are traditional,” said publicity co-chairperson Beth Palmer. “‘When Stars Shone Down’ is fairly new.”

Among the traditional carols are “Jesus, Jesus Rest Your Head,” a Kentucky folk carol; “Still, Still, Still,” a traditional Austrian carol that will be sung in German; “I Saw Three Ships,” a traditional English carol; and “Noel Nouvelet,” or “Sing We Now of Christmas,” a French carol that will be sung in English.

Also, the men will sing a Liberian folk song entitled, “African Noel,” and the women will sing a piece entitled “This Endris Night,” a 15th-century English Christmas carol adapted by modern composer Sarah Quartel for a commission from Women of Note, a women’s choral group in Florida, for the group’s 25th-anniversary celebration.

“We’re ending with ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ which of course has words and music attributed to Robert Burns,” Palmer said. “We will be doing that at the conclusion of the concert. We will be doing this A Capella and we’re going to spread out through the church to sing that.”

According to the website German-way.com, the melody for “Still, still, still” is a traditional folk tune from the Austrian state of Salzburg. The carol appeared for the first time in 1865 in a folksong collection by Maria Vinzenz Süß, founder of the Salzburg Museum.

The song’s words, which run between four and six verses in German, describe the peacefulness of the infant Jesus and his mother as the baby is sung to sleep.

According to the website ThoughtCo., Noel Nouvelet is a traditional French carol that dates from the late 15th century and the early 16th century.

The carol celebrates all of the figures in the crèche, the handmade nativity scenes found throughout France, where they are part of the Christmas celebration in homes and in town squares and would be sung by families at home and at community gatherings.

Steven Aldredge, the composer of “When Stars Shone Down,” is a member of the music and performance faculty in the School of Fine and Performing Arts at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano performance from Florida State University. Other choral works include “Night of Tears, Night of Grace,” “Reign” and “The Lord is My Shepherd (Psalm 23).”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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