By Catherine Van
SPOKANE, Wash. – Nothing at Gonzaga University marks the approaching holiday season and recognizes Christ’s birth quite like the Candlelight Christmas Concert held each year in the stately and elegant St. Aloysius Church located on campus.
The Christmas Concert this year will be presented at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9 and at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10. Timothy Westerhaus, Gonzaga’s director of choral activities, will direct. General admission tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door; $8 for seniors or $10 at the door; students’ tickets are $5 in advance or $10 at the door.
Click the video below for a sneak preview of a rehearsal for the Gonzaga Candlelight Christmas Concert.
The concert is titled “In Sweet Joy,” and the 105 singers from Gonzaga’s four choirs capture the awe, sweet beauty and unabashed joy of the Christmastide season. Music includes English, French, and German carols as well as unique works from South Africa and Christmas Gospel. The Gonzaga Brass Quintet, a professional ensemble, will join in accompanying the audience and choirs in singing festive carols.
The University takes pride in its nearly five-centuries-old Jesuit educational traditions and its choirs never fail to strike the appropriate accompanying tone, which at this time of the year is both reverential and celebratory. Dating back to 1889, Gonzaga has a long and truly outstanding tradition in the formal study of music.
Gonzaga sophomore Chance Pierson says the concert is more than a musical celebration.
“It’s a great experience for everyone because you can connect on a Christmas level but you also connect on a spiritual level,” Pierson said. “Even if you’re not spiritual or into the Christmas season, you can still connect to the music.”
That connection is evident to anyone who steps foot inside St. Gregory Choral Hall to get an earful of the students rehearsing. As a third-year member of the Choir, junior Madelyn Smith describes what makes this year’s celebration unique.
“Unlike years in the past, this year’s music is accessible to everyone,” Smith said. “We have different backgrounds, different religions, different everything come together to this one special holiday concert.”
As the event’s name suggests, there will be candles aplenty. Get your tickets early because students and Spokane-area residents pack the church. The tradition of Gonzaga’s Candlelight Christmas Concert is well established.
For more information or tickets, visit Gonzaga’s music department online.