November 16, 2021

WCU’s Wells School of Music Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Annual Holiday Program

Tickets Now on Sale for Saturday, December 11 Concert at 3 p.m.Holiday Program

West Chester University’s Wells School of Music celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the annual Holiday Program with a celebratory concert on Saturday, December 11, at 3 p.m. in the 1200-seat Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, Philips Memorial Building, 700 S. High Street, West Chester. Associate Professor and Associate Director of Choral Activities Ryan Kelly directs the program. General Admission tickets are $12 at

Kelly says, “Our Holiday Program is a time-honored tradition for now 100 years. This year West Chester University also celebrates its Sesquicentennial. We invite all members of the West Chester community to celebrate this momentous occasion with us and to jump-start their holidays with joyful and melodic music. You’ll hear recognizable vocal, choral and orchestral holiday favorites, as well as pieces that are programmed with the Season in mind.”

Holiday ProgramThe Holiday Program began on December 18, 1921, as the “Christmas Carol Service.” The Senior Girls’ and Junior Girls’ Glee Clubs would sing choral and sacred music and process down the hall of first, Old Main Chapel, and then the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall with lit candles and adorned in white gowns.

Participating in the concert are many of the Wells School of Music’s ensembles including the WCU Symphony Orchestra, the Criterions Jazz Ensemble, Men’s Chorus, Women’s Chorus, Cantari Donne, and Mastersingers.

An event highlight is a rendition of “O Holy Night" sung by the winner of the vocal honors competition who is chosen by a faculty panel. It was traditionally awarded to the best female soloist, but now spotlights either a male or female vocalist. This year’s winning vocalist is Coatesville-based senior Music Education and Vocal Performance major Sydney Szwarc.

To honor the 100th anniversary, this year’s program also includes a commissioned work by San Francisco composer, David Conte, of a festival setting of “Gloria” for choir, brass and organ. Sándor Kádár, the organist at First Presbyterian Church in West Chester, will accompany on the historic Skinner organ.

Additional selections include Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride”, Ralph Vaughan Williams’s “Benedicite”, selections from Bach’s “Magnificat”, and Ildebrando Pizzetti’s “Sanctus.”

Limited parking is available across and along the street just outside the Philips Memorial Building. Parking is also available in West Chester’s M Lot, just a short walk South. Purchasing tickets in advance is strongly encouraged.

All faculty, staff, students, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, are required to wear a mask which covers their nose and mouth when indoors. Face masks may be worn when outdoors, but it is not an obligation of this policy notice. Mask and COVID-19 safety measures at West Chester University will continue to be updated here. Please check ahead for updated information before attending your performance.

West Chester University’s Wells School of Music is accredited with the National Association of Schools of Music, and offers programs in Music Performance, Education, Theory, History, Composition, Music with Elective Studies in an Outside Field, and Music Therapy. With state-of-the-art rehearsal and performing facilities and scholarship opportunities, students can perform in multiple ensembles, including band, vocal/choral, orchestra and more. Students study with renowned faculty who have dual careers as dedicated educators and professional musicians. Wells School of Music faculty and student perform more than 200 concerts annually.

Enrolling more than 17,000 students, West Chester University is the largest member of the 14-institution Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and is currently celebrating its 150th Anniversary year ( Founded in 1871, the University is a comprehensive public institution, offering a diverse range of more than 200 undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs in more than 50 fields of study. In addition to West Chester, the University offers programs through its graduate center, Philadelphia, and online. Six colleges and two schools comprise the University: University College, Colleges of Arts and Humanities, Business and Public Management, Education and Social Work, Health Sciences, and the Sciences and Mathematics, as well as the Wells School of Music, and the Graduate School.


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