The Union College Division of Fine Arts will present their annual Christmas concert on Friday, December 9, featuring all the Union ensemble vocal and instrumental groups and individual performers—and an appearance from Union’s Hubbard harpsichord for the first time in more than 15 years.
A piano-like instrument played by a keyboard—the harpsichord became very popular in European music around 400 years ago. Union’s instrument was built in 1980 by Robert Murray, a professor of music at the time, and David Nelson. Long-time art professor Jim McClelland added decorative painting to the sound board. The instrument was recently repaired and tuned by Richard Lorenzen.
The harpsichord will play with the orchestra and be featured in three pieces—a Vivaldi Concerto, an arrangement of God Rest You Merry Gentlemen and a new arrangement of O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
The concert will also feature performances by the Union College band, Chamber Orchestra, Concert Winds, guitar ensemble, handbell choir, Unionaires, Union College Singers, organist Brent Shaw and two smaller student groups that will perform arrangements by students Aria and Isabella Bodden, with Deneil Clarke, worship pastor for the College View Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Dr. Ricky Little, professor of music and the director of the Unionaires and Union College Singers, has a few hints about what the audience can expect to see—including choral arrangements of “Mary Did You Know,” “Pat Ta Pan,” and “Go Where I Send Thee.”
“‘Pat Ta Pan’ is a French carol arranged for women’s chorus, and will be accompanied by percussion instruments,” Dr. Little said. “The voices mimic the sounds of the flute and drums within the song. And the version of ‘Go Where I Send Thee’ is a gospel arrangement of a Negro spiritual, which comes from the African-American folk tradition.”
The Unionaires will be performing “The First Noel” and “Gloria,” an exciting work Latin work accompanied by the Union College Orchestra, organist Brent Shaw, and pianist Isabella Bodden.
“I like all the pieces,” Dr. Little said. “There is a good bit of variety and difficulty. I’m excited to work with such a diverse group of students who are multi-talented on so many levels, and nice as well! It is the highlight of my day when we get together and make music.”
The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary of the College View Seventh-day Adventist Church and is free and open to the public. The church is located at the corner of 48th and Prescott on the campus of Union College.
By Kaylin Thurber, student writer