‘Joy to the World’ this year’s theme for Heidelberg’s Christmas concert

Heidelberg University has maintained a tradition of presenting portions of G.F. Handel’s “Messiah” during the Christmas season. This year, the School of Music & Theatre is to combine its 128th performance of “Messiah” with a festive journey around the world to celebrate the sounds and ceremonies of the season. The annual concert, “Joy to the World: A Heidelberg Christmas,” is set for 3 p.m. Dec. 9 at The Ritz Theatre.

“Joy to the World” is a two-part celebration and collaboration of all of the School of Music & Theatre’s performing ensembles, large and small. Featured ensembles include the concert choir, the Chamber Singers, the University-Community Chorus, the marching band, the Symphonic Band, the Heidelberg Hei-Notes show choir, the Community Music School and Heidelberg theatre students.

In the first part, holiday traditions from around the world take center stage. Explore Hanukkah with a dreidel song, delight in Christmas carols with a Latin flavor, celebrate the 200th anniversary of Silent Night and experience “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” like never before.

For the second half of the concert, Heidelberg returns to the inspirational Christmas classic, Handel’s “Messiah.” Various “Messiah” arias and choruses are to be performed, including the stirring “Hallelujah Chorus.” The ensembles are to be joined by professional soloists Drake Dantzler (tenor) of Rochester, Michigan, Antona Yost (alto) off Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Carol Dusdieker (soprano), director of the School of Music & Theatre and professor of voice at Heidelberg.

Community members and Heidelberg alumni are invited to sing with the chorus for the “Messiah” portion of the performance. Call Pat Page in the School of Music & Theatre at (419) 448-2073 by Monday to reserve a seat on stage.

The audience is to be invited to join the entire School of Music & Theatre cast for “Let There Be Peace on Earth” in a joyful finale to the concert.

Tickets for “Joy to the World: A Heidelberg Christmas” can be purchased at The Ritz Theatre box office at (419) 448-8544 or online at www.ritztheatre.org. The cost is $10 for general admission and $5 for seniors and children younger than 12.