Tucson Chamber Artists share Christmas traditions

TUCSON, Ariz. – Tucson Chamber Artists, under the direction of Eric Holtan, blend the traditions of a St. Olaf Festival and the Kings College Lessons into their very own “Lessons and Carols by Candlelight,” Friday through Sunday, Dec.7-9 this year.

Friday evening the performance will be in Green Valley. Saturday and Sunday the groups performs in Tucson.

Join the TCA as they offer songs both old and new. Very special this year is the premiere oftwo commissioned pieces by Gerald Near.

Near is a highly respected and internationally recognized composer of works for church and choir. The TCA performed a significant work of Near’s for the Dec. 2011 Lessons and Carols concerts.

Director Holtan shared that, “He was very enthusiastic about working with us in our preparation of the work; he attended and coached us for three rehearsals and came to both performances. His skill as a composer is widely known and acclaimed; last year we had a very fulfilling experience working with him on his music, and that led to the idea of commissioning him to write something new.”

Sharing at the holidays is a thread that ties many traditions together. Holtan discussed the “Lessons and Carols by Candlelight” format.

“The St. Olaf Christmas festival is one of America’s oldest and most revered; Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s College is popular throughout the world. They are similar in that they both incorporate carols, choral music and spoken word–most of it taken from the Biblical Christmas prophecy and story.

The St. Olaf festival is a concert; Nine Lessons and Carols is a church service. St. Olaf utilizes orchestra; Kings College, organ. St. Olaf’s takes place in a concert arena with full lighting; King’s in a church by candlelight. TCA fuses various elements from each for Tucson’s unique holiday program.”

Following the Season Nine theme of The Power of Two, Director Holtan pointed out that the TCA has many sets of two in their Dec. offering. There are, of course, the lessons and carols, the peace and joy of the season and the two new pieces of Gerald Near’s which will be premiered. The TCA has fully embraced The Power of Two this Holiday season.

The locations of the concerts will be Friday, Dec.7, 7 p.m. at the St. Francis in the Valley Episcopal Church (600 S. La Canada Dr. Green Valley, AZ, 85614) and Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 9 at 3:00 p.m. at St Philip’s In the Hills Church (4440 North Campbell Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85718).

Tickets are available online at TucsonChamberArtists.org or by calling 520-401-2651. Individual tickets start at $20 with premium tickets at $30. Student tickets are free with student ID.

Check out an interview with the composer here

To comment on this article and others  visit the Copper Area News Facebook or send us an email at CBNSun@MinerSunBasin.com

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