Hickory – The Lenoir-Rhyne University A Cappella Choir, College Singers, Brass Ensemble, and guest instrumentalists will present “Peace and Joy: A Lenoir-Rhyne Christmas 2019” during four performances at Grace Chapel. The performances for Thursday, Dec. 5, and Friday, Dec. 6, will begin at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 7, there will be two performances – 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., which will be livestreamed and can be accessed at lr.edu. A dress rehearsal, also open to the public and held at Grace Chapel, is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 10 a.m.

This year’s repertoire will include two selections by noted Lutheran composer Paul Manz. 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of Manz’s birth. The choir will sing his Advent motet, “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come,” and the congregation will be invited to join with performers to sing his Christmas hymn, “Peace Came to Earth.” During his life, Manz developed an international reputation as an organist, teacher, and composer. “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come” has sold more than a million copies worldwide and was sung by the King’s College, Cambridge Choir at its Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. Manz helped design the curriculum for the LR Sacred Music Program and one of his final public organ performances took place at St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, LC-MS, in 1999.

Choir and instrumentalists will perform “This Christmastide” by Donald Fraser. This piece, widely known as Jessye’s Carol, will be sung in honor of the renowned soprano Jessye Norman, who died Sept. 30 of this year. The song’s lyric, “Children sing of peace and joy at the birth of one small boy,” inspired the this year’s theme. Peace will be explored musically through John Ferguson’s “Comfort, Comfort, Now My People,” Will Todd’s “Angel Song II,” and Manz’s “E’en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come” and “Peace Came to Earth.” The joy of the season will be highlighted through selections such as “Joy to the World,” Michael Engelhardt’s “Gaudete,” and Dan Forrest’s “Jubilate Deo.”

Dr. Ryan Luhrs, LR director of choral activities, will conduct the choral ensembles. Collaborative artist Jeana Neal Borman and Grace Chapel Cantor Cory Westby will accompany the choirs and hymn singing. Christopher Nigrelli, LR professor of music, will lead the brass ensemble, and Spence Robertson, LR adjunct instructor of music, will assist with conducting responsibilities.

Seating is limited and tickets are required. Tickets are free for all concert dates and may be picked up at the LR Box Office in P.E. Monroe Auditorium beginning Monday, Nov. 4. The LR Box Office is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., through Dec. 6. The box office will be closed Thursday, Nov. 28, and Friday, Nov. 29. Ticket holders are limited to a maximum of four tickets. A stand-by line will be available for those who could not reserve a ticket. Though no guarantees can be made, historically all in the stand-by line have been seated. Those with unused tickets are strongly encouraged to return them to the box office. Returned tickets will be made available to the public one hour before each performance. Call 828.328.7206 for ticket information.