The Candlelight Christmas Concerts are annual choir concerts that has become tradition for many in the community to attend. This year will be extra special for both the performers and the audience members because of the theme, "Love is All Around." 

The concerts will be held in Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center

Gonzaga’s Candlelight Christmas Concert will be held this weekend at the Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center with the central theme of “Love is All Around.”

on Saturday, December 7 at 7:30 pm and on Sunday, December 8 at 3:00 pm. Tickets in advance are only $5. 

The message that love can be found all around us in solidarity, inclusion, kindness and action will be expressed through music. The stories of Mary and Joseph, who were refugees in a foreign land, allows the audience to open their hearts in Christmas spirit and love to those around us. It will be more than just the traditional perspective but will encompass the goal that Christmas is full of diversity and love; the concert will include many cultural perspectives. 

“This performance seeks to portray the ways that Christmas shares these much-needed messages of love and acceptance and how we can lean into them,” said Karlee Ludwig, vocalist and Community Engagement Coordinator. 

The concert will feature compositions in six different languages: English, Latin, German, Russian, Spanish and Latvian. The choir often sings in English, Latin and German but the rest will be a welcome challenge. Ludwig said, “It gives us interesting insight. Each language has a unique technique to sing and how to know what emotions to convey.” 

We are dealing with real human struggles that will resonate with us today… Just by attending, people will feel heartened and warm but also feel solidarity,” Timothy Westerhaus, the director, said. 

Westerhaus’ vision for this concert is to weave love through stories of the past and present of diverse groups of people in the Christmas spirit and to show that love is all around. 

“When the Song of the Angel is Stilled” with text from Howard Thurman is one of the pieces that will be featured. Thurman was an African American theologian, author, civil rights leader and a mentor to Martin Luther King Jr. The following is a snippet of this piece: 

When the song of the angels is stilled, 

When the star in the sky is gone,  

When the kings and princes are home, 

When the shepherds are back with their flocks, 

The work of Christmas begins, 

To find the lost, 

To heal the broken, 

To feed the hungry, 

To release the prisoner,  

To rebuild the nations, 

To bring peace amongst brothers, 

To make music in the heart. 

The prominent social justice tones are in Christmas spirit and may inspire audience members to open their hearts to show love generously and to see that love is all around. 

“There will be a combination of songs that are cherished and people will be able to sing along to and music that speaks to us in new ways,” said Westerhaus. 

This will be the first year that this concert will be in the newly constructed Myrtle Woldson. In years past the concerts have taken place in St. Al’s. The change is welcome.

“We really appreciate having the space and we are all so grateful to Myrtle for the beautiful space and for showing love towards music and the arts,” Ludwig said. 

Shelby Walker is a contributor.

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